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Rower Tricks: Boat-Strap It!
posted on May 2, 2012

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Boat-strapped door
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Car door won't stay closed? Boat-strap it!
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contributed by John FX Flynn, row2k

Okay, loyal readers, we ask you: is there a better friend to Rowing Hackers than the humble, but versatile Boat Strap? We don't think so, and we are out to prove it.

And by versatile, we are not talking about all the way boat straps can be used to pretty reliably attach just about anything to a shell trailer--boats, oars, riggers, parent food tables, outboards, beater bikes--and make said item stay put all the way home.

No, this week we want to consider all the other uses to which rowers have put the humble boat strap over the years--and we want to hear from you about the things you've found, well, boat-strap-able . . . so when you are done reading this, make sure you shoot us an email or submit a comment about the last cool thing you hacked with a boat strap--and, please, don't make your idea "a belt" . . . if you don't have a boat strap belt of your own, then you can bet at least 3 of your boat-mates do.

So, apart from the ubiquitous "look at me, I row crew" boat strap belt (no judgement here, by the way; I have at least three), we've seen boat straps used as dog leashes, door stops, full-gas-can-arrestors, and tow ropes. Rumors float around of a hacker that cobbled together a trailer-hammock made entirely of boat straps (no doubt a poor soul marooned for 5-6 days on Henley Island in early August).

We even have it on good authority that boat straps can be used in an emergency, or long-term, to hold your car door shut; an idea we will no doubt be exploring in greater depth in our upcoming Rowing Hack feature on the bodged-up cars that rowers--the starving artists of the athletic world--find themselves driving around.

So, let's hear it, fellow rowers and rowing hackers: tell us how your row/trip/car/life was saved by the intervention of the nine (or twelve) foot length of buckle-attached greatness that is the boat strap. The best suggestion will be featured here, in all its glory and--we hope--with a good backstory, as a Rowing Hacker column.

By the way, before you go, we do have a serious Hacker tip to share: keep an eye on your straps, inspect them before every trailer loading session, and make sure you discard them as soon they start to fray along the edges. As you can see there is plenty of other stuff you can do with those frayed straps…and your boats need nice, new, far-from-breaking straps every time you hit the road at 65 mph.

Okay, now it is your turn: Share your boat strap tricks in the comments below.

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


Comments

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Trailermonkey
05/06/2012  5:01:49 PM
1 people like this
At our 'boat house' we use to the boat straps to tie the racks down. Our racks are outside in an area that can get really windy with winter storms, so we use boat straps to tie the top of the racks to the fence on either side to keep them up right. It has saved our singles rack a couple times now.

JT and Ben
05/04/2012  9:52:31 AM
I used 4 straps to hold a roof rack onto the top of my 1995 crown vic. traveled a thousand miles each way to Oak Ridge for Club Nationals in 2010 without a problem. I also used a strap I had in my trunk to hold my driver's side door closed after the hinges on that same crown vic fell apart last spring. . . .

amywinner
05/04/2012  7:59:54 AM
I can tell you they are NOT good for strapping christmas trees to the roof of your car. Tried that (albeit haphazardly) a few years ago while driving from the Camden Home Depot to my house in Fairmount. Perhaps you remember? I was the one who caused the 6 mile backup on the Vine Street Expressway/95 when the tree flew off my roof. oops, maybe this application calls for TWO boat straps.

Old dog
05/03/2012  7:43:15 PM
1 people like this
In October, a large branch on the dogwood tree in my front yard broke under heavy snow. I used a boat strap to support it, and it is now flowering. Don't know if it will make it for the long haul, but we got one more spring out of it.

row2k
05/03/2012  9:47:09 AM
via Facebook: Matt McArthur says "Well, used some to replace backback straps and had to use a few to keep a door shut on one of my old junker cars...that was a fun one."

row2k
05/03/2012  9:46:19 AM
via Facebook: James Donovan says "Trailer hammock."--we hope he can send us a pic!

row2k
05/03/2012  9:45:19 AM
via Facebook: Jim Bertolini says "Stretching hamstrings"

row2k
05/03/2012  9:42:22 AM
via Twitter: @taylorhewett says "Belts of course!" [so we are guessing Taylor did not actually read the above carefully, at least not yet...]

row2k
05/03/2012  9:40:18 AM
via Twitter: @Nickipps says "climbing trees when the branches are too high to reach. That and blanket forts in the dorm room."

row2k
05/03/2012  9:39:17 AM
via Twitter: @ScullerX says "Trips to IKEA!"

CoachDave
05/03/2012  6:20:28 AM
1 people like this
I usually carry a set of boat straps around in the trunk of my car, just in case. I've used them to strap giant boxes to the top of my Civic (children's playhouse, lawn furniture, tables), and last summer I rigged a pair of boatstraps up to help lever, lift, and haul several 250lb railroad ties out of my backyard (why they were there, we'll never know...we had just bought the house).

row4food
05/02/2012  1:33:44 PM
My first apartment had two hooks in the ceiling (I'm assuming they were intended for hanging plants). I used two boat straps like slings to hang my old snowboard, then wrapped it with christmas lights. I left it up year-round because it was so cool.



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row2k hackers
A rotating cast of characters full of boathouse secrets.

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