row2k Features
Rowing Hack: The Single Sculler Elevator
November 11, 2021
John FX Flynn

We have a saying here in the row2k Hack Department: there's no such thing as a Hack that cannot be one-upped, especially if you can add a power tool of some sort. So it is with our recent column on Andy Gush's Inflatable Platform Dock Hack--almost immediately we heard from Tom Rose, an octogenarian sculler in Florida who definitely takes the "have dock, will travel" concept full-on next level with his setup.

When Rose wants to get out on a flat Gulf of Mexico morning without worrying about wet feet or the height of the tide, he just hops on to a well-hacked plywood platform that he can lift and lower using a modified Swinger jet ski lift. That's right, he's hacked up a Single Sculler Elevator, and it has been keeping his blades wet into his 83rd year.

We have to thank Rose, and his wife, for these photos that show both him and the Elevator in action, and we had to talk with him about how it all works:

"I row my Peinert 26 three times a week for seven miles on the open Gulf of Mexico in Palm Harbor, Florida. I am 83 and getting the boat in and out of the water has been more difficult as I get older."

"It is way too rough here for a floating dock. Getting in from the water and pulling the boat off the dock into the water is too difficult and impossible if the tide is not right, and there is about a three foot tide. Having wet muddy feet is another problem getting in from the water where we used to live, from a beach."

"I have modified a Swinger jet ski lift with a plywood platform, and I lower myself down with the boat and when I return in about two hours my wife lowers or raises it depending on the tide."

Rose has even thought about rigging up a remote control to take with him as he sculls, but until he can find a way to waterproof that option, he is sticking with his on-shore support crew.

Now, Rose's set-up--being really stable underfoot--does lack the "intense core workout" feature of Gush's hack, but taking a Rowing Hack, adding a winch, some horsepower and then taking the whole concept of a portable dock to new levels, literally? That's some good hacking.

Rose--who told us that rowing definitely, and defiantly, increases his life span--is always on the look out for suggestions and ways to keep rowing, but we have to say, it looks like he is already problem-solving way ahead of the rest of us.

Have you thought up a Rowing Hack that keeps you going, and rowing? 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 like Tom Rose did 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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