Why? Well, because it's nearly that magical time of year, when the long winter months in an empty boathouse create time for all sorts of hacking, and the chance to put all the cool tricks we've seen--or dreamed up--to use before the next racing season.
Which brings us to this classic rowing hack project: Paint Yer Slings.
After all, there is no bit of travel equipment easier to leave behind than slings, and marked slings are easier to spot, easier to save for your own crews when folks are 'grabbing slings' in a busy boatyard, and easier to remember to pack on the trailer at the end of long regatta day.
Sure, you can use electrical tape, and enough teams do to make "marking your slings" a worthy add to our Rowing Hack Electrical Tape Use Hall of Fame--but tape is removable, which just might mean a lost sling could find its way, re-taped, into some other club's inventory.
It is harder to make that happen with a painted sling, and this hack sure shares some common DNA with that all-time hack, Theft-proofing Your Outboards.
We have seen teams do pro-looking two- and three-color paint jobs to make their marked slings look pretty slick--or go fully-custom when they order the slings, like some National Teams do--but as with the outboard trick, a simpler, even messier, paint job works:
Just making the slings look 'not new' and like they don't belong to anyone else should be enough to keep them from wandering off...and may even help prodigal slings left behind at a regatta find their way back to you.
And, while you're at it, you can add some other helpful instructions to your slings to "rower-proof" them, like "Make Sure Sling Is FULLY OPEN," or our personal favorite:
How do you mark up your stuff to keep it, well, yours? 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, and we will feature your idea in a future column.