Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 11: Standing Rigging

Waxing the Line

Before getting started, I should point out that rigging line gets fuzzy because of the short threads used. To minimize fuzziness, it helps to run the line through a piece of beeswax before using it. Now, this is where paying for this more expensive rigging line from Syren Ship Model Company comes in handy, it’s pre-waxed and fuzz free, so this was a task I didn’t need to deal with.

Bowsprit Guys

The lines that run from the end of the bowsprit back to the sides of the hull are the bowsprit guys. These are probably the easiest to install of all the standing rigging. I used the smaller sized rigging line for these. Attaching these required eyebolts near the tip of the bowsprit, as well as as below the rail, about an inch back from the bow. I simply knotted the line at the eyebolts and secured them with a touch of wood glue.

After the glue is dry, the excess is trimmed away. Careful use of a single-edged razor blade gets the cut nice and close, but a sharp Japanese-style thread cutter is much easier to use. In either case, it’s important to be careful not to damage the knot. When some fraying does occur, a little glue helps flatten down the fuzz, as long as the damage isn’t too bad.


The shrouds secure the masts to the sides of the boat, while the stays provide support fore and aft. The shrouds go first and get rigged in pairs. Each pair is a single line that gets looped around the mast and I use black thread to seize them into place.

There’s one pair for the port side and one pair for the starboard side on each mast. In addition, there is a single shroud on either side of the main mast. I did both of these using a single line with a short piece of line seized at the center to form an eye.

A beginner can try to seize the lines to create the loops around the mast, but might also simply tie the lines around the mast using a tight overhand knot. It’s not accurate, but is simpler and quicker for those who don’t expect people to be too critical about such things – don’t show that to a ship modeler or to a sailor though!

When securing the shrouds to the chainplates, it’s important to pay close attention to how they are pulling on the masts, as they will cause it to lean one way or the other.

I ran the shrouds through these simple chainplates and used clips to hold them in place. I then made a simple plumb line, with a clip on the end of a piece of spare rigging line that I hung from an overhanging lamp. This line is perfectly vertical and gives a good reference line to make sure the masts aren’t leaning to the right or left.

The shrouds can be tightened or loosened as needed in order to get the masts adjusted properly. However, the shrouds should be tight, as they will tend to loosen a little as they are in the process of being secured to the chainplates. Hopefully, the chainplates are well secured, as they will have to hold again this pressure. Also, it’s a reminder that the shrouds need to be pretty tight, but not so much as to pop one of the chainplates loose.

Aft shrouds being secured.

In the above photo, you can see that I tied a piece of thread around each of the shrouds, close to the chainplate, and touched the knot with a bit of glue. I let this dry as I moved on to other work.

Once the glue was dry, I finished by making several turns of the thread around the shroud and tying it off, again using a small dab of glue to secure the knot. The process was repeated for each shroud. Then, I did the same thing about 3/8″ up from the chainplate. I don’t know if this is how it would be done in real life – this is my own thing. But, it seemed reasonable that this would leave a nice tail on the shroud to make it easier on the real boat for the shroud to be adjusted in the future.

The completed main shrouds.

After the upper seizings are done and the glue has dried, the excess line can be cut close to the upper seizings. The ends will fray slightly, so another tiny dab of glue is necessary to pat them down.

Straight and vertical masts.

Again, a beginner might simply want to tie the shrouds to the chainplates, but this is where it pays to use seizings, as it is much easier to keep the shrouds tight using seizings. A knotted line is tricky to keep taught, and is much more likely to result in some sagging lines or leaning masts.

Order of Rigging

I must have done a pretty good job gluing the chainplates into place, as I didn’t pop any loose… yet. Working around the rigged shrouds does lead to the danger of snagging one while working on the rigging. But, this is the way I am accustomed to working, and it’s not necessarily the best way to do it.

There’s good reason to attach the shrouds and stays to the mast, but to not secure them to the chainplates until all the other mast work is done. There are still blocks to attach to the masts, the booms and gaffs to add, and sails and running rigging to add.

Each builder needs to decide on what works best for them. Beginners might want to hold off on some of what I’ve done here, until the next steps are done.

Next Time

Next time, I’ll add the stays and prepare the details on the booms and gaffs. Will I switch to 3rd party blocks? Still thinking about it – Stay tuned…

4 thoughts on “Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 11: Standing Rigging

  1. agesofsail

    Reblogged this on Ages of Sail and commented:
    Rigging has started on this build of Billing Boats 1/60-scale beginner-level kit, the fishing boat Dana. This kit is popular due to it’s pricing (only $69!), simplified construction using a vaccu-formed plastic hull, and the interesting and attractive subject.

  2. Novice boat modeller

    now we’re back in business! Thanks for picking up this humble boat.. I’ve been waiting for this. Again, thanks for your work. I’m a complete beginner and you and your work is an inspiration!


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