Rigger Harry James is a dab at hand at stringing up everything from race yachts to race cars
One of my first ports of call at the Southampton Show was to rigger Harry James. He runs The Rig Shop at Saxon Wharf and I asked him to make me something that I could use as a bike lift. This is Harry, above right, making a 6:1 purchase with friend and colleague Simon Clark.
They specially selected a fetching length of pink Dyneema so sturdy it could, if needed, probably hoist up my car.
Harry is a bit of a legend in the business, albeit a rather publicity-shy one. He has been a rigger for 30 years, ever since he left the merchant Navy, and during that time he’s been at the forefront of every major change in rigging and ropes – and there have been substantial ones.
Running The Rig Shop for the last two decades, Harry was the first to bring Dyneema in to the UK (it’s known in the industry as FGR, short for F****king Good Rope) and had to develop splices for modern ropes.
Over the years Harry has worked with Whitbread race teams, the Spanish America’s Cup team and three times with the Prada/Luna Rossa Challenge, rigged everything from big classics like Velsheda to the Clipper yachts.
Unusually, he’s also worked with F1 and indie cars, making up PBO loops to keep the wheels attached to the chassis in the event of a crash, something that was introduced to help prevent spectator deaths.
With the development of new generations of super-strong textile rigging, lashings and soft shackles we’ve come full circle from the old days of sailing ships and rope lashings are starting to replace some elements of solid rigging and components on even quite ordinary cruisers.
My purchase works a treat, by the way, allowing me to raise one bike to be stacked above another. Because bikes are like boats and alcoholic drinks: one is simply never enough.