row2k Features
Rowing Hack: The Kettle Bell Mooring Buoy
September 30, 2021
John FX Flynn

We think that this past weekend offered up a good argument that Coastal Rowing has arrived, and those boats certainly widen the definition of "rowable water" and--as a result--may see folks launching from spots that don't include a dock.

And, as new fangled as Coastal may be to mainstream rowing folks, it already has a few hacks that make it work, to include David Toohey's clever idea for leaving himself a place to tie up when he launches off a boat ramp near his home in Galway Bay, Ireland: The Kettle Bell Mooring Buoy.

His temporary mooring--which we believe is our first Irish Rowing Hack ever--is light enough to lift and reposition but heavy enough to hold his boat in hip deep water to be launched and retrieved. That means he can get out into the water without having to find a beach first, or battle actual surf, to get his Coastal on.

It is a clever fix since, if you've been up close with a coastal shell, it is not the sort of craft that can be carried over heads and rolled into the water alongside a float: these boats pretty much always stay hull down and get carried or slid into the water, either off the sand or off a rolling cart...not unlike a small sailboat--or a coaching launch.

For Toohey, who rows out of Galway Bay (and into the very Atlantic across which he sent this idea a few weeks back), his Kettle Bell Mooring Buoy allows him to launch and recover from a slipway without having to worry about running aground, even if the tide rises or ebbs during his outing.

"I deploy a temporary mooring sufficiently far down the slip, depending on expected tide swings while I'm rowing. The plastic coated kettlebell is 16kg and the carabiner allows easy looping of the rope around the rigger arm. The buoy makes it easy to spot from a distance. Usually wading in to about 3 foot depth is sufficient."

He tells also us "it really works very well even in a swell" which likely as good a test of this hack as any.

Not into Coastal yet and still messing about in flat water boats? Well, we can easily think of a few time each year when a portable mooring buoy could be handy, like when needing a way to hold a coaching during a wet launch practice, say on a winter or spring break training trip--and it can definitely be in your bag of tricks for any kind of rowing that might be "dock-free" for whatever reason.

Do you have a trick that helps you get your strokes in spots without the actual rowing infrastructure we typically rely on? Is it as cool as this one, or the Single Storer Hack? If so, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

If you have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion, then please send it to us, as David has done, and we will feature your idea in a future column.

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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