contributed by John FX Flynn
If you are lucky, you are doing some rowing in warm weather these days, or headed to a warm spot this month to get back on the water. Either way, there is probably some rigging to do in your near-future, which means you or a boat mate could well be facing this vexing question soon enough: "Which hole does the wing rigger go in again?"
Now, there's a lot of great things about wing-riggers (and we've even suggested a way to hack around how much space they take up when they are off the boat), but anyone who has ever had to rig one has struggled with what we like to call the "how many holes?" conundrum. Luckily, there's a hack for that: The Rigging Map.
We learned this hack from Jim Millar, who came up with it as a way to remember how to rig the double that he and his family use. Jim's hack starts with the simple premise that you need to pay attention to how the boat is rigged before you take the wing(s) off: at a regatta last fall, he thought to jot down on a piece of paper just how many holes were fore and aft of the perfect wing placement. That trick gave the Millars a handy guide--a Rigging Map--that they can keep in their tool-kit or even in the rigger bag. (Jim told us that he had previously used a cell-phone photo to do the same job of helping him remember, but since he was in his rowing gear and did not have his phone handy when necessity mothered this hack, he stuck with the the low-tech paper version.)
If you are worried that a rigging map might be lost as easily as, say, that one washer that always goes missing every time you rig, you can mix hacks here and put your map on a strip of electrical tape that goes right on the wing rigger. That way the same tape that tells you which boat or seat that the rigger belongs to can also tell you exactly how to put it on.
Of course, there are any number of ways to try and remember which holes are the right ones for your wings--looking really hard for washer marks (to see which holes look like they've been used before), marking the right holes with a sharpie, using tape to cover up the wrong holes--but we like this week's hack best, especially in its latest, most elaborate form: a laminated, color-coded version which Jim found in his Christmas stocking, thanks to his daughter Anne. In addition to being a clever gift-giver, Anne also figured out a way to go one-better on this hack: it is now a water-proof guide that will last for quite a few seasons (and rigging sessions).
So, before you take those wings off (next time!), take a second and draw yourself a Rigger Hole Map. It will save you a lot of that "standing around holding a wing rigger" time that we all despise when it is time to get ready to row again--and may even save your crew a trip back to the dock for some wing-adjusting in the middle of your first row of the year.
So how about it: do you have a great way to get your rigging done right? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!