row2k Features
Rowing Hack Upgrade: The Megaphone Holster
April 29, 2021
John FX Flynn

Every once in a while, we come across a photo of an old Rowing Hack taken to a whole new level: take the PVC Megaphone Holder, which was one of the earliest Hack columns way back when. Sure, nothing radical in the notion, apart from the brilliant insight by a canny boatman that 3-inch PVC pipe is a "made for-it" fit for the bell of your standard power megaphone, but today's Rowing Hack takes PVC "hailer holding" to a neat and well-built extreme: from not-so-high above Cayuga's waters, we bring you: The Megaphone Holster.

When you consider that the "original" hack just employed a slot cut into the pipe to mount it on an existing grip rail--and that most other versions just use an elegant but simple block of wood to put the PVC pipe far enough from the side of the launch to give the bell of the 'phone room to sit in there comfortably--the idea of breaking out the elbow joints and PVC cement to create an entire apparatus to make this simple idea work is, well, over-engineering taken to exquisite heights.

From the oversized flange that bolts to the side of the launch to the perfectly angled adapter sleeve and joint that puts the working end of the holster right at arm's length, this Megaphone Holster up at Cornell does this hack at least one better--and gets bonus points for being both a cool build and a great use of maybe the most handy hacker aisle in any Home Depot.

Now, any Rowing Hack fan who has seen the Big Red Head Coach's launch up close knows that it is a bit of a tinkerer's dream to start with, full of cool additions he's adapted from other hackers along way. So, yep, those certainly are two steering wheels--the second added so Coach can ride up close on either port or starboard of the crew without shouting in the ear of a passenger--an idea that struck him one day when he was driving home behind a Driver's Ed vehicle. He also added a windshield that flips up and down thanks to some clever bungee engineering, and a secret (and potentially-patentable) vibration dampener to smooth out the rattling of all the add-ons that is itself made out of PVC pipe, capped and filled with water.

But the best bit is clearly the Holster, and you need one! So, if you hadn't already been inspired to get to the plumbing aisle to stock up on PVC for projects around the boathouse, like stowing back stays, stacking CLAMs, or dipping handles, then we suggest you get over there and grab enough of this white gold to hack up Holsters for all the launches and megaphones at your place.

Now, Hacking friends, we do have a word of caution: use these PVC Holsters with care! We have it on good authority that the only way to break those new-fangled--and not cheap--but "unbreakable" new megaphones is to jam them into a 3-inch PVC pipe carelessly. Doing so could snap off the all-important piece inside the bell of the megaphone, the one that forces the things you are yelling at your crew through those concentric and nested cones that actually make them hear-able across the water. (Feel free to geek out on how this acoustic magic works, audio-ampli-philes, with this animated gif on Wikipedia.)

Got any cool builds that hold things more elegantly at your boathouse? If so, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

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

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