row2k Features
Coach Trick: The Boat Box
May 28, 2020
John FX Flynn

As folks keep looking for ways to get things done and do useful things that could be good "adds" to their programs when we all get back on the water, the row2k hackers dug up this old hack suggestion that was originally sent to us back in 2014 by Phillips Exeter assistant coach Becky Moore: the Boat Box.

The Boat Box is pretty much what it sounds like: a plastic bin labeled with the name of the boat it belongs to, filled with everything that boat needs to be de-rigged and transported.

In these COVID-19 times, this trick now has the added appeal that you could hack this up even if you do not have access to your boathouse. It would be pretty simple to order yourself some bins for home delivery and put a set of these together for your fleet right in your living room. That's right, you could be hacking from home in no time on this one!

But whether you get to work on your Boat Boxes right away or just file this one away for future use, here are the nuts and bolts on this hack), complete, by the way with the original pics that Coach Moore supplied - which were uncovered after no small bit of email archive sleuthing by row2k staffers past and present . . . h/t to Amanda Milad for slaying the photo scavenger hunt.

So, here we go, hackers:

Every place has its own system for making sure that traveling with your shells goes smoothly: that all the stuff you de-rigged, bungee-d, and strapped down arrives without getting lost, broken, or mixed up. One school, though, has taken "organized travel" to a whole other level: meet the Boat Box, a simple, yet thorough, way to account for everything this team needs for their boats on the road.

The beauty of the hack is not the box itself, but the way this system makes the Boat Box multi-purpose. Before the trip, the box sits ready, filled with wrenches, bungees, straps, gunwale guards, and, yes, even a stern-flag--in other words, a full de-rigging kit for just one boat. Once the boat is de-rigged and the bungees, etc, are deployed, the box gets filled with seats and joins the boat on the trailer.

On site, the box re-collects the straps, etc., leaving plenty of room to carry water bottles and more down to the launch dock. Then, after some--let's face it--pedestrian work as a shoe bucket during the race proper, the box carries the water bottles and wet gear back to the trailer, where it goes back to being the all-in-one staging area for getting that boat de-rigged and prepped to go back home.

Along the way, the Boat Box can also store some "just-in-case" extras, like a bailing sponge or some extra hard-ware, making sure that the athletes in that boat have pretty much everything they might find a need for at the regatta without digging through the coaches toolboxes. (How's that for a bonus!)

This particular version of the Boat Box even takes "organized" one step further: on the box, along with the name of the boat, is a list of the tasks which each pair in the boat--and the coxswain--need to take charge of. By assigning things like tying the boat down, loading the oars, and re-packing the Boat Box to specific athletes in the crew, each person has a clear job to do and the whole de-rig and load process is streamlined--which is a pretty slick hack in its own right. (This system probably makes seat-races and moving around in the line-up a bit trickier, though: you have to always remember what job you inherit each time your seat changes!)

The coaches behind this sweet system tell us that these boxes are a great way to "to share the work of packing the trailer without unnecessary frustration and loss of equipment at various courses."

Full Packing list for the Exeter Boat Box, circa 2014:

  • 8+ wrenches for athletes to de-rig/ rig
  • tie down straps
  • hose pads for Resolute hulls on trailer racks, aka gunwhale guards, another great hack
  • elastic rigger ties -- labelled Port/Stbd and boat name for finding riggers easily in crowded trailer
  • sponges to use as bailers
  • bungee to strap box lid down -- to avoid leaving lids all over the highway!
  • box labelled with boat name — with sharpie since tape falls off
  • box lid labelled with boat name as well as loading tasks assigned to boat pairs and coxswains.

So, there you go, a great row2k reader suggestion — and a fine hack -- so get to work and make some for your boats so you can be organized to the max by the next time you hit the road.

Have a great trick for rigging and de-rigging at your place? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

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

During these unprecendented times, row2k is working hard to keep rowing coming to you; please help us keeping it coming by supporting our work!


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