$1,760 to raise to meet our goal - CHaOS matches your donation $ for $

In March we released the CHaOS Challenge to 500 rowers asking them to help us raise $ 5,000 for adaptive rowing equipment.

The equipment will first be used at this year's Valor Games and then be made available by Bridge2Sport to any other local club who wants to add adaptive rowing to their indoor events.

We are proud to report that we have raise $3,240 so far. 82% of the contributions came from CHaOS members. We thank everybody for their generous contribution!!!

And now to YOU!!!

If you you MAKE A DONATION here (fully tax deductible) between now and May 23rd, 2018, CHaOS Rowing will match your donation $ for $ until the goal is reached.
Please enter "CHaOS Challenge match" in the comment field to make sure we can match your generous gift

Means: if you give 25, CHaOS will give another 25 and ALL adaptive rowers in the Triangle will have access to the great adaptive equipment shown in the pictures.

We hope you will raid the coffers of CHaOS and thereby help us reach the goal of raising $5'000 by May 23rd!

Thank you!




Please contribute adaptive rowing equipment to the Valor Games

Dear Fellow Rowers

Indoor rowing is one of the most popular events among Veterans and members of the Armed Forces with disabilities  competing at the Valor Games Southeast organized by Bridge2Sports.

It is extremely inspiring to see athletes of all ages with various physical and mental disabilities mastering the challenge of a 500 erg race, first alone, then in a group of 2. Info about the Valor Games.

To help grow the indoor rowing event and to reduce cost, Bridge2Sports, organizer of the Valor Games, wants to purchase the adaptive rowing equipment rather than renting it every year at a rather high cost. They have asked CHaOS Rowing to raise the respective funds from the rowing community.

$ 5’000 is all it takes to purchase the necessary hooks, straps, fixed seats etc. to convert the regular Concept 2 ergs into an adaptive rowing machines.

Will you help us raise the $ 5’000?

Contributions are fully tax deductible!

No contribution is too small to make the Veterans happy.

Added benefit for you and your club: Bridge2Sport will make the adaptive equipment available to ANY rowing club in the area who wants to offer adaptive rowing at their indoor events. Please contact Ashley Thomas ashley@bridge2sports.org if you need the converters for your indoor event.

How to contribute:

Please make your contribution directly to Bridge2Sports by clicking this link https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/b2s/donation.jsp?&constTypeFlag=org

In the field “Company” please enter “CHaOS Challenge” to make sure that your contribution goes towards the purchase of the adaptive rowing equipment.

Valor games.PNG

Please pass this message on to your members and rowing friends.

We will keep you informed how the fundraising progresses – so far we have raised slightly over $1’000.

Thank you very much for helping us make indoor rowing one of the anchor events in all forthcoming Valor Games!

CHaOS Rowing
Felix Muhlebach, President
Richard McDonogh, Treasurer
Timothy Bukowski, BMIW (you will figure out what it means)

Safety: Rowing in a single

 One of Claire's friends had a terrible rowing accident

One of Claire's friends had a terrible rowing accident

Claire shared the sad stories of 2 single rowers dying in rowing accidents.

Whenever such accidents  are published, I follow up as much as I can to find out what happened, why did it happen, and how could it have been prevented.

  • Fact 1: in none of the published cases did the rower wear a PFD.
  • Fact 2: in all stories, the rowers are described as “experienced”
  • Fact 3: with very few exceptions (the lady from Occoquan) the rowers were 50+ men
  • Fact 4: Of the bodies missing for a long time, none of the rowers wore a “person locator beacon”


Special Rowing PFDs come in 2 varieties:

  • Those that automatically inflate when hitting the water
  • Those where rower has to pull some tab to inflate the vest

The automatically inflating PFD would have saved Claire’s friend.

The story of Claire’s friend also demonstrates

  • “I will swim to shore” is not a very safe rescue plan
  • Rowing with a buddy does not help you getting back in the boat and thus does not prevent you from drowning

The problem with the automatically inflating PFDs: once they are inflated, it is very difficult to get back into the 1x because they are in the way.

My decision tree:

  • If you are 100% sure that you can get back on the 1st or 2nd try even in cold conditions: wear a manual PFD
  • If you have ANY doubt whether you can get back in your 1x: wear an automatic PFD and stay within 300 yards from the shoreline (and take your shoes in the boat because you will be walking home).

We will be offering capsizing classes once the water reaches 70F.

The safety boat question: could you stay afloat long enough for your buddy to row back to the dock, get the launch and drive back to save you?


With age it becomes more likely that your brain or hart takes a short break (doctors will explain the correct terms). If that happens in a chair watching a football game, nothing happens. If it happens in a 1x, you flip, hang upside down in the water and drown.

The automatically inflating PFD would prevent drowning.

Also correlating with age is the refusal to wear a PFD. My experience is: world champions from the 60s and 70s flat out refuse to wear PFDs and are now the ones we read about.

Going for the record

The missing female rower in Occoquan was on a mission. She wanted to row the distance from New York to San Francisco. She was behind schedule. She went out alone for longer and longer distances in more and more challenging conditions. One day she did not come back. Her boat was found very far away, her body is still missing.

Among kayakers, the rule is: if you go alone for a long distance paddle, you take a personal locator beacon with you. https://www.acrartex.com/products/catalog/personal-locator-beacons/resqlink-plb/#sthash.vUp8mYkT.iVt64CNv.dpbs.

If you shy the expense, there are tracking apps for your smartphones where you can allow your partner to track/ locate you.

If the lady from Occoquan had a personal locator beacon with her, she would have been found, and maybe been saved.


You as the individual rower decide how much risk you want to take.

We as a club make you aware of the risks and suggest options to reduce the risks. That is why our waiver has the following two sections (which of course nobody reads before signing):

  • I acknowledge that rowing a single in winter is extremely dangerous. If I row in winter, I do so at my own risk and am solely responsible for my actions. I am aware of additional safety measures such as – but not limited to – Personal Flotation devices (PFD), personal locator beacons, carrying a cell phone with me, rowing with a buddy, taking capsizing classes to become proficient in reentering my boat – or staying at home and do an erg session.
  • If wind chill conditions are at or below freezing I will only row after taking extra precautions (e.g. dress appropriately, use a personal flotation device, stay within 100 yards of the shore) and only if my spouse, partner, significant other agrees. I will not row if I cannot close the oarlock with my bare hands.

Please row safely!

Turkish metronome

The Turkish Metronome

In perfect conditions, we took a 13K excursion to what we hope will someday be the International Training and Competition Center for all non-motorized water sports on #JordanLake - details here

Hal was in stroke seat, the first time with a SpeedCoach. Amazing how he can hold a rate. It seems to be this thing about CEOs and achieving goals ...

Perfect winter row

Happy to have so much water in #Jordanlake - perfect day for long distance #row - 16K of perfect water (there would have been more). Glad to have #duke#rowing with us. Looking forward to #UNC#rowing with us, too.

Darren and Greg at #crokeroars should be happy - all but one set rowing on the lake were yours.

Carl: thank you for the great pictures and thank you for coming out with us.

CHaOS Agenda for 2018


First half of February: CHaOS social gathering – who wants to organize?

February 24 – 124C Erg Sprints at High Point Rowing Club. John to defend his title. Let’s hope CHaOS representatives look better than these World and Olympic champions: https://youtu.be/87gTc4JtOm4


Second half of March: CHaOS strategy meeting – who wants to organize? Define where we want to go as a club (growth?, age distribution of club members, learn to row, gender balance, relationship to juniors)  and decide what policies we need to establish (draft sexual harassment training video here https://youtu.be/bmzEkSc4SDQ )

March Scrimmage against Catawba rowing club in Charlotte – Tim to organize

=> Potential Alternative: March 31 Clemson Masters Sprints


Spring feelings (or do you have suggestions)


May 21-24 Valor games: last year CHaOS volunteers were instrumental for the indoor rowing competition to materialize. Please volunteer again!


Date to be determined: Virginia Boat Club Sprints Regatta


CHaOS Board Elections – please consider running – so that we can have one of these: https://youtu.be/kJVROcKFnBQ

July 21-22: 28th Diamond States Masters Regatta


August 5th Royal Canadian Henley Masters – Tim will be our tourist guide – having finished 2nd in the other Henley and being from the area


September 27 – 30: FISA World Masters Regatta in Sarasota Florida

September 29: High Point Autumn Rowing Festival


CHaOS Challenge – date to be confirmed

October 20-21: Head of the Charles


November 3-4: Head of the Hooch

CHaOS Annual meeting – who hosts?

Where did all the water go?

 January 2nd 2016 vs. January 2nd 2018

January 2nd 2016 vs. January 2nd 2018

We lost 21 feet of water over the last 2 years - flood in January 2016 to drought in January 2018.

Rowing today, one has to be afraid of scratching the bottom. Two years ago, we could row between the ramp and the dock.

 Today, this would be rowing in 21 feet of air

Today, this would be rowing in 21 feet of air

What is missing are two tropical depressions in the falls of 2016 and 2017. Unless the first quarter of 2018 turns out to be the wettest on record, we are in for big problems next summer.

You green lawn aficionados in Cary better get used to xeriscaping.