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Rowing Hacks: Regatta Ready?
posted on May 9, 2012

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Getting Regatta Ready, with maybe the best tool 'box' in the sport
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No amateurs on this Rowing Hack's watch!
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contributed by John FX Flynn, row2k

So it just might be the case that you are headed to a regatta this weekend--how do we know? Well, there are at least 11 collegiate championships, 8 junior/scholastic championships, a PSRA race for novices, and even a Head Race this weekend (ah, those quirky Canadians), so chances are good you will be landing, shell trailer and all, at a buoyed course someplace--and here are some Rowing Hacker tips for doing it right.

You'll be doing this weekend's regatta right if you have:

- at least two washers and a few #4 nuts in your back pocket (because no one can de-rig and re-rig a boat with more than one rigger without losing at least one washer or nut--this might actually be Newton's Fourth Law)

- a wrench, obviously, needs to be in your pocket at all times, especially once you've walked all the way down to the dock. The Rowing Hacker way to do it is to invest in a multi-wrench; doesn't have to be something as tricked out as one of those Cox'n Wrenches, though those are, being flat and light, pretty much perfect for this. No, even a 7/16 on one end, 1/2 on the other (or 10mil/13mil) combo wrench is going to carry a whole lot easier--ditto, of course, just one adjustable wrench, wide enough to be top-nut friendly

- a fool-proof and iron-clad plan for your midday caffeine fix (extra points if you have a mid-morning plan too)--and something to eat, like a Clif bar, is pretty key, too, especially if you won't be heading to the parent tent or leaving the site to catch lunch with the team

- a smart phone with the row2k Twitter Bin pulled up and ready for quick refreshes (especially important if results at other races are going to impact your chances of racing at the NCAAs or IRAs, whew!)

- along the same lines, having your phone set to push @row2k tweets is another way to hear about results--not exactly "live" mind you, but you do get to hear about it just seconds after row2k does via those tweets

- a Sharpie--and some duct tape--which you can use for lots of things, but claiming some primo boat racks when you arrive (hacker-early, of course) can be priceless, especially if it saves you some extra walking around

- some camp chairs, because you'll be doing too much walking around regardless, and because sitting in slings just says amateur hour, whereas matching, school-color camp chairs demonstrate pretty clearly that you are a pro

- last phone tip: an earbud is really handy for listening to race calls on audio (or video even depending on how smart/fast your phone actually is)--and this even works for on-site race calls at a few places…just make sure you have your MUTE on, tho folks (the "Go BU!" lady has missed this one a few times, alerting us all to the issue!)

- a zip tie or two, for quick heel fixes at Control Commission--is anything more vexing that having to interrupt a good, purposeful, post-great-send-off-speech walk to the dock with a trip to the "please tie your heel ties" slings? No--so zip it to keep things moving.

- some clever way to carry all those shoes from launch dock to return dock--be it a shoe bucket, milk crate, laundry basket, boat strap, or a box of hefty garbage bags. The art of the shoe bucket needs a whole hack of its own, so we won't delve too deeply here--and we do still respect the old school hacks who just, you know, carry the shoes in their arms

- and, of course, you also need Strap Wheels, wing nut tools, splash guards, a beater bike, and a good plan for getting there and back with that trailer

So, feel ready now? Great, but you still not nearly as ready as the folks who get a tip of this Hacker's hat for these hall of fame-worthy tricks:

- a gas grill and all the fixings for truck-side, totally self-sufficient on-site barbecues

- a full-size, 6 drawer Kobalt tool chest that carries everything--and has a separate drawer just for rower-only tools

- the tools, lumber, and manpower to build a plywood and 2x4 floor for your team tent, on-site, just for the weekend

- a staff of six radio-equipped assistants stationed throughout the course to get accurate 500 meter splits on all of your competition during heats and semis

- a set of manufacturer-specific spare parts boxes so that the, well, whatever, you grab will actually fit the shell that needs it in a hurry.

and, most importantly:

- a roll of tape for the hatch covers, so you can "busy" yourself taping those down instead of doing anything nutty like changing your rig, your race plan, or your line-up.

Good luck!

Share your tips--and hacks--for doing regattas right in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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A rotating cast of characters full of boathouse secrets.

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