row2k Features
Rowing Hack: The Dolly-ed Up Sling
November 19, 2020
John FX Flynn

When winter descends and big boats need fixing, there are a few rowing hacks that can keep the lonely coach or boatman busy fixing things while the rowers might be less available to shift stuff into slings. We've already covered the ur-hack for solo boat moving--the Boatman's Buddy--and that can get you going, along with a good set of manual lifts, but neither of those works as well without an easy way to move the shell around once it is out of the rack.

That's where the rolling sling comes in and, if your boathouse lacks a set of the permanently caster-ed variety, then this Rowing Hack is for you: The Dolly-ed Up Sling.

That's right: it is dead easy to turn every folding sling in your boathouse--or at least a pair or two--into exactly the kind of rolling accoutrement that makes short-handed boat moving a breeze, simply by mounting them on a wooden dolly.

You can build your own dolly, of course, but we are sticking to the hacking low road here: just buying a pre-made dolly at the local big box hardware place, and then plopping the slings on top for instant wheel-age. A few zip-ties or even some cut-down boat straps from your "too frayed to use for boats" collection will do the trick to keep the sling married to the platform.

Consider using straps or zip ties to make the setup less potentially (terrifyingly?) unstable
Consider using straps or zip ties to make the setup less potentially (terrifyingly?) unstable

Or you can easily go the semi-permanent route and swing by the Electrical aisle to pick up some 1 inch tube straps. (And don't forget to grab some electrical tape while you are there, for future hacking purposes: a Rowing Hack can never have enough electrical tape!)

All of that affixing works really well with slings of the same vintage as the one on the right, with the low crossbar, but zip ties and boat straps (not pictured) work equally well on both types. Another variant, which is pictured here, involves tacking a few strips of wood on the dolly to form a "track" that the sling can rest in securely. You could also nail a 2x4 or two across the top of the dolly to widen the platform and can make the mounting more stable, but at that point you are getting dangerously close to just building your own rolling platforms, and this is not a "high road" hack, my friends.

So, after your quick trip to the store and a smidge of securing, you are off and rolling--and your fleet is one step closer to getting all the love and fixing it might need while the bay doors are closed.

Do you have a great fixers-helper that you've hacked up to get things done? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack or rigger trick 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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