Let’s see if this scenario sounds familiar. You are at a regatta and your rowers just finished re-rigging the shells. You notice that something looks off. One of the oarlocks is sideways and of course someone forgot to pack a pitch meter! The question is what do you do? Well... you pull out your phone of course!
Jim Dreher of Durham Boat Company brought this rigging hack to our attention, and it works great if you need to check the pitch on your shell - or really any almost any other angle on your boat.
For Jim, using his iPhone has been a hack that he has used for a while. “The first time I remember using the iPhone level was back a few years ago at Janousek (UK)," Dreher said. "We needed to measure the gunnel angle for the attachment of our carbon riggers. The iPhone was every bit as accurate as the $300 digital level that we use to set the oar pitch in our oar assembly area,” said Dreher.
All smartphones have a built-in accelerometer, which helps your phone know its orientation, and assists with other functions depending on the phone. One possible function of that accelerometer happens to be a level!
“The standard size iPhone fits quite nicely against the lock face of an oarlock as well as the tracks and against the gunnel where the riggers attach," Dreher notes. "The iPhone is a ready tool for measuring lock pitch, zeroing the boat on the keel, both inside and out, and at the rigger attachment location on the sax board."
If you want to try it, for iPhone users your phone comes pre-loaded with the "Compass" app. With one swipe over, the app has a level that will tell you how many degrees off of level your phone currently is. If you don’t have an iPhone, there are tons of level apps for Android on Google Play.
I did notice in testing this out however that my phone case threw off the measurement slightly, so you you may need to take your phone out of its case if you want to be accurate (depending on the case).
Do you have a trick that is hack worthy? Or do you have a great hack that you use to rig a boat? Share your tips and hacks in the comments below.
Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future articles? Send it to us!