contributed by John FX Flynn, row2k
Tired of having to remember a good knot every time you dock your launch? Can't remember exactly how you twist the lines around a dock cleat? (which can be tricky!) Or are you just fed up with being unable to untie a knot some other coach left behind for you? Well, then, you need a carabiner.
That's right: the trusty carabiner can be a big help when it comes to securing your launch. These spring-loaded clips have long since gone beyond their mountaineering roots and, if you want to end your launch tying days forever, just take a carabiner, tie it--once!--to the end of each line, and then you can just clip on to the dock. (You can even put one on each end of the rope, for double clipping fun.)
Getting the launch tied up right is no joking matter; just ask any coach who has watched a launch drift downstream or float across the lake after working loose. And since most rowers are not also sailors--witness our more-evolved ability to use the words "rope" and "line" interchangeably--few of us are all "roped up" in proving our knot-tying prowess on a daily basis.
Using the carabiner hack does require a little planning: the cleats on your dock need to be big enough to have a hole under the top bar, between the bolts that hold it to the dock, but not so big that you can't clip onto it. You can actually skip cleats altogether if you hack all your lines this way, because then all you need is an eyebolt or D-ring mounted on the dock to clip on to. The carabiner itself needs to be at least a few inches long--big enough to clip easily and accommodate the rope it is tied to. The little clips you find on keychains nowadays are too small, and might not hold up in a stiff wind, either.
Even if the launches over-night on dry land at your place, this hack can still help: a carabiner and a simple eyebolt on the end of the dock can let your laborers--er, rowers--put the launch all the way in the water and the clip will ensure it is still there when you stroll down, coffee in hand, even you don't have knot experts on launch duty that day.
Have a great time-saving trick or hack to share? Or an even easier way to secure a coaching launch? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
Have a great rowing hack for future inclusion here? Send it to us!