REAL World Champions hang out with CHaOS

Olivia Coffey (two times World Champion, stroke of winning Cambridge in this year’s boat race) and her fiance Michael Bloomquist (World Champion in his own right) wanted to row with CHaOS today.

Unfortunately the flooded marina and the weather gods did not cooperate.

Tough land training instead:

Real world champions.jpg

If you have not done so yet, please give Olivia your vote in the US Rowing Fan Awards!

We feel honored that Liv and Michael took time out of their busy schedule to meet with us and are looking forward to seeing them at the FISA World Championships in Linz Oggersheim next September!

Head of the Hooch Results: Reason to be proud!

ALL our boats finished in the top 6 of their event and age group!!!

We couldn’t be happier and more proud of our rowers.

Rank Event Raw time Corrected time (Sunday events 2K)
1st Women’s 1x Celia 8,40.3 7.39.0

2nd Men’s Masters 4x 15.48.7 14.18.7 (2nd overall, 2nd 50+)

4th Men’s 1x Richard 7.49.7 7.01.7

5th Men’s Masters 2x 17.22.5 15.45.3 (5th overall, 5th 50+)

5th Men’s Masters Lightweight Avram (for Carolina) 9.27.4 7.22.4 (pretty brave man to go out in these conditions)

6th Men’s Master 8+ 17.24.1 16.05.7 (10th overall, 6th 50+)

6th Mixed masters 4x 17.12.3 15.59.4 (9th overall, 6th 50+)

6th Men’s 1x Tim 7.50.2 7.05.2

6th Women’s Master 4x 7.50.1 7.41.1 (6th under 50, 15th overall)

Pictures and detailed report to follow!

Raw times will define training pairings for this winter … just kidding.

Hurricane Florence forces the 12 going to the FISA Worlds to train on the erg!

Well, this should have been the last week of hard training before the FISA Masters World Championships in Sarasota.

Hurricane Florence had other plans (always those Italians …).

Tuesday night practice was spent fetching the trailer of UNC Men’s rowing team in Chapel Hill. Their Coach Micah Boyd generously offered us their trailer (ours still stolen - transporting hay and straw on some farm in Lee County) to bring our boats, oars and material to safety.

Wednesday morning: Last training. Brutal 5 times 500 meters all out.

Wednesday night: Conditions would have been perfect for practice. However, we had to load all our club’s belongings on the UNC trailer.

Half of our our members came to help.

 Part of the members who helped load all CHaOS possesions on the trailer. All in all 50% of membership came to help. Yes, that is sweat on the shirt of the famous CFO. Proud of the ethics of our members!

Part of the members who helped load all CHaOS possesions on the trailer. All in all 50% of membership came to help. Yes, that is sweat on the shirt of the famous CFO. Proud of the ethics of our members!

For a club that started with 4 boats 4 years ago, we have grown to quite some size … Total of 16 boats (all but 2) on the trailer, all oars, riggers, slings, and everything else

 Looks empty without our boats - Felix the trash man picking up all the trash before the flood washes it away.  If predictions are correct there will be water up to Felix’ waist - or even higher.

Looks empty without our boats - Felix the trash man picking up all the trash before the flood washes it away. If predictions are correct there will be water up to Felix’ waist - or even higher.

In 3 days this dock will be so deep under water that only the last big section and our white dock will be visible. Everything else will be under water!!!

Our equipment in safety: Located in the Crosswinds boat yard with an escape route through Apex Boatworks, 248 feet over sea level, 8 feet above flood level and far away from any tree that could be blown over.

A big Thank you very much! to John of Crosswinds Boating Center as well as Steve and Brandon of Apex Boatworks for your help and support. It is good to have a great landlord and generous neighbors.

What next?

  • Friday: weights in the morning, erg in the evening

  • Saturday: Erg - stay tuned for instructions from Richard M.

  • Sunday: Erg in the morning - potentially move trailer in the afternoon

  • Monday: first day of a week full of erging

  • September 23rd: Asheville Rowing Club comes to pick up our boats for Sarasota. Thank you very much!

  • Thursday September 27th: First 3 races in Sarasota at the FISA World Master Championships

Missing Trailer: $ 2,000 finders fee!

When we wanted to pick up our trailer last Thursday at our Lee County NC storage location it was ... GONE.

Lock at gate was forcefully opened and the trailer is no longer there.

WE NEED THIS TRAILER BACK! Otherwise our participation at the FISA World Masters Regatta in Sarasota (FL) at the end of Septemberis jeopardized  - one year of hard training in vain.

We therefore offer a $2,000 finders fee for the recovery of this trailer!

It is an 2005 Aluminum Allegheny CST-27 Trailer with VIN #1A95A382X5C460481if and was last seen at 6066 Lower River Road, Sanford, NC.

If you know where it is, contact us in confidence at .

Thank you for your help!


Safety is here: last gap in fleet closed

CHaOS just completed the acquisition of a safety launch that can also be used for coaching.

The good news: it handles easily and doe not draw a wake wake even with the entire Claire/Zach family (all 2.5 of them) and Tim on it.

Thank you Tim, Claire, Zach, Felix, and all the other members who contributed towards the boat and its storage.

First official use of it: Capsizing class. Details to follow!



SE Regionals: CHaOS medalled in every event entered: 2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze

Rob B, Tim, Richard S., and Richard M. had very successful 2 days at the US Rowing Master Sprints Southeast:

  • Tim and Richard M. won the Masters E category 2x in their fastest time ever
  • won the Masters E Category 4x (beating both Catawba boats- hope to repeat that at the HOOCH)
  • came in second in the Open 4x (only beaten by 4 College of Charleston students rowing as Atlanta Juniors)
  • Richard M. came in 3rd in the category D-E Men's 1x final (Tim qualifuied for the Final as second in his Heat, but took a swim with the alligators right at the start of the Final - allegedly because of the seaweed prevalent on the course)
  • Richard M came in 3d in the Open Mens 1x, Tim came in 4th.

CHaOS is listed in the middle of the club points ranking. If they had awarded an efficiency trophy (as they now do at the Nationals), CHaOS whould have most likely won it. What other club did medal in every event they entered?


Next: Diamond States Sprints in Middletown - then off to the FISA World Masters in Sarasota.


CHaOS Challenge raises $ 5'235 for Adaptive rowing in the Triangle

Thanks to the generosity of the following individuals the CHaOS Challenge raised more than our goal of $5'000 for the adaptive rowing in the Triangle:

Adetoun O., Alison V., Amanda H., Amelia D., April M., Barb T. Brad B., Carol H., Chatham Amateur Oar Society (CHaOS), Cheryl H., Claude N, David T., Eugenia M., Felix M., Heidi W., Jan Y.,, Joanne C., John P., Katherin B., Lenore M., Martin B., Michael H., Paul H., Rachael B., Reid W., Richard McD., Richard S., Robert W., Samantha H., Scott T., Sharon D., Susan H., Timothy B., Tracy L., WS.

The equipment purchased with the $ 5'235 was first used at the Valor Games SE and made many athletes happy:

And even better: It is now used on Lake Crabtree by the very same athletes who wanted to "give it a try on real water'.

Big success!

Thank you very much!


$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 if you need the converters for your indoor event.

How to contribute:

Please make your contribution directly to Bridge2Sports by clicking this link

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.

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!