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StrokeWatch 2011

Christmas Party

12/11/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 1:13 pm

A special thanks to Theresa Tompkins for being the last minute plan B host for this year’s Christmas Party.

Several members brought gifts for the boathouse and others enjoyed the white elephant exchange game pictured below.

Below, BARC’s Space City Sprints coordinator for the past several years, Claire MacAdam hands over her coordinators notebook to Anke, who with the help of Ryan, Greg, Carlos, and Janelle will be sharing the coordinator’s role for next year’s SCS on April 14th.

It was a great party, lots of fun, special recipies and a good time thanks to Theresa.

November 2011 Challenge Results

12/07/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 6:55 am

November saw a sharp drop in kilometers logged at BARC, only 1775 k’s were booked. This is the 2nd only to February as lightest month.

The month also saw a surprising - and surprised - winner for the month: Me! With 160K logged, I beat out all the big guns, perhaps because many of them were on vacation. #2 was a surprise also: Henry Epstein logged 126K, fueled by 4 days of 25K each, around Thanksgiving, entered well ahead of the actual dates.

See full results here.



11/16/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 10:49 am

This morning channel 26 came to the boathouse to do a sports segment, and some of our membership were there to offer their views on rowing. Below, Greg is being interviewed by reporter John Donnelly.

Below, Hannes and Henry speak with John as they wait for a little more daylight.

A couple of doubles prepare to leave as the camera’s batteries are being checked for enough juice for the water footage.

The segment aired on Friday morning. A copy of the clip can be seen on YouTube at:

Estimating Low Water Level

11/10/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 7:11 am

It must be disheartening to navigate the traffic on I45 just to find there’s no water in Mud Lake. Fortunately there’s a way to guess if there’ll be water there even if the Mud Lake Water Gauge website has stopped sending due to low water level. The link below gives a forecast of the water levels at Morgans Point which is a little way north in Galveston Bay.

The time is Greenwich mean time {in England} and each division is 3 hours. By looking at the time now, and going ahead one division for every three hours, the water level estimate is obtained. Normally any less than -1.25 is not rowable unless one carries the boat over the mud at the end of the dock.

  • -0.50 OK for all Club boats
  • -0.75 8+ but not the launch
  • -1.0 no larger than a quad or 4
  • -1.25 no larger than a double

On the 9th at 6:30 pm, corresponding to the graph below{ at -1.25 }, the water level was one blade deep on the shore side of the north dock which is enough for a double, but only because the tide was on its way up. It is evident that the predictions do not always match what occurs due to the winds fighting the tides, so the wind direction and speed need to be considered as well.

On the image of the estimate 11pm on the 9th, the water levels are to the left of the graph, the time on the bottom.

Another website gives the level estimate for Eagles Point which is between Kemah and Bacliff, and it’s time is displayed in Central Standard time. Below is it’s link and image. It has been observed that when the level will be less than 1 foot, the Wednesday night Quad cancels. At 6:30 pm there was one blade of water depth on the shore end of the North Dock.

Using these water level predictions, and our own observations, some of the disappointing trips to Mud Lake can be avoided.

Tom Lotz magazine article

11/08/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 6:32 am

Tom Lotz, one of the founding members of BARC was recently featured on the cover of the fall edition of Connections magazine, along with an article describing his rowing experiences. To read the entire article, click on the link below:

October 2011 Challenge Results

11/06/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 12:34 pm

3061 Kilometers were logged in October, the 4th consecutive month where more than 3000k were logged. The usual suspects led the way, with Carlos, Greg, Anke and Ryan taking the first 4 spots. Newcomer Marissa Herron keeps logging a lot of Ks, and took 5th place for the month.

Full Results can be seen here.

BARC Rowers at PUMPKINHEAD in Austin

Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 6:31 am

By Alex Parkman

"Go west" was the cry heard by 8 of the top 10 kilometer collectors at BARC along with James MacFarlane and newcomer Marissa Herron. With that Greg Wood backed his trusty big ol’ pick up truck out of his garage, attached it to Rice’s even older trailer, loaded it with 10 boats and assorted oars, and under the cloak of darkness just before dawn headed out of Lady Bird Lake in Austin. The Pumpkinhead is a 5 km race that draws crews from throughout Texas as well as Oklahoma. BARC was fortunate that Olympic hopeful Helen Tompkins even flew in from Seattle to lend a hand filling some empty seats left by Renee Aiello who was forced to stay home with the flu. Emily Wood also kindly added a race stroking the Mixed Master’s Quad.

Of particular note was the stellar performance by Anke and Ryan in the Open Mixed Double. While passing the launch area with about 1,000 meters left to go they had distanced themselves from the other boats by so much open water it appeared they were already taking a victory lap. The Open Womens Quad was ecstatic to have had the assistance, advice, and encouragement from Helen Tompkins. Only problem was they were a bit tired in a quick turnaround to the Mixed Quad which also encountered a bit more of a headwind than the other races, thereby accounting for the longest time. It is a great course through 6 bridges and generally calm water, which should inspire rowers of any level to head out to the races.

Slay The Dragon Regatta

10/26/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 8:14 am

Can you smell it in the air? It’s the edge of competition and it was heavily brewing at Slay the Dragon Regatta, hosted by the Rowing Club of the Woodlands, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. Crews from Bay Area Rowing Club registered to compete in the annual regatta, which provided a stiff bout of competition at all levels.

Representing BARC: Ryan Chambers, Hannes Hofer, Cory Logan, James Macfarlane, Greg Wood, Ryan Chambers, Renee Aiello, Marissa Herron and Anke Hielscher. All BARC members competed in one race; some competed in as many as three races. The weather was warm and sunny, the water was smooth as glass, and the course was a force to be reckoned with. BARC prevailed and walked away with some serious neck candy! The results are as follows:

2011 Slay the Dragon Results
Men’s Masters 1x Carlos Westhelle, 1st plac
Men’s Masters 2x Carlos Westhelle/Greg Wood, 3rd place
Women’s Masters 2x Renee Aiello /Marissa Herron, 3rd place
Mixed Masters 2x Anke Hielscher/Ryan Chambers, 1st place
Mixed Masters 4x Anke Hielscher/Renee Aiello /Greg Wood/Ryan Chambers, 1st place
Men’s Masters 4x James Macfarlane/Cory Logan/Carlos Westhelle/Greg Wood, 1st place

More pictures from the regatta may be found here.

Baloon Fest at BARC

10/24/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 2:26 am

On Sunday, October 23rd, BARC’s great 8 rowed to Egret Bay and watched the hot air balloons lift off for their flight to NASA. Several of the balloons came down to “kiss” the water and spoke with our crew. Above is a pic of them as they are about to lift off, and below is a pic as they started to approach our boat.

More pictures can be seen at

Boat Care Reminder

10/11/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 8:30 pm

The fall is upon us, and the heat and humidity have finally started to be bearable for some nice fall rowing excursions. As our club rowing kilometers start ramping up I thought it would be a good time for us to freshen up a bit on our boat safety and care, as there have been some recent incidents of mishandling of boats, both on the water and in the boathouse.

The days can be long, habits tend to put us in auto-drive while in the boathouse, and the sheer excitement of rowing when it’s not 100% humidity outside seems to be lending to a few missed steps in taking care of our boats.

So please, let’s all chip in and help remind each other if you see something being missed. If you are being called on, don’t take it personally; thank your fellow rower for the memory jog.

A few of the basic care steps:

  1. Sign out your boat.
  2. Carefully lift your boat off the sling, avoiding scratching the hull on the other riggers (yeah, the lateral scratches are adead give-away).
  3. Attach a light if rowing in the dark.
  4. Lock both latches on the doors.
  5. When on the dock, toes to the edge, and reach over, keeping the boat off the dock.
  6. When stepping in the boat, keep the boat a few inches from the dock.
  7. Have a blast rowing.
  8. When docking, carefully aim parallel to the length of the dock.
  9. When stepping out of the boat, keep the boat a few inches from the dock, don’t let the waves slam the boat onto the dock.
  10. Wash and dry your boat, inside and outside, to get that nice mud and salt water out.
  11. Carefully place your boat back onto the racks, taking care to avoid the other boat riggers.
  12. Wash the oars, and spray the handles with the sanitizer solution – everyone will thank you for that.
  13. Sign the boats back in.

To help with the care of the boats, we have many koozies as reminder to watch the boat. New sliding racks should be arriving soon, which will help with taking boats off the racks. Several of our rowers kindly sanded and painted some of the oars and boat rigging is being checked and addressed, so please be sure to treat the equipment properly so we can all enjoy our next row.

So a few “by the numbers” to put things in perspective:

  • Our two nice Vespoli quads, Hawk and Eagle, each cost over $14,000.
  • The two new Vespoli doubles cost nearly $10,000 each.
  • A set of Concept2 sculling oars cost over $500, and a single sweep oar comes in at close to $350.
  • The price for having well cared-for boats available for all to row: priceless (well, either that or you could always donate $20k for new equipment purchases)

I hope you all have fun rowing this fall, thank you for helping each other with the safety reminder, stay safe, and keep those boats in one piece.

One final by the number:

The club so far has logged over 22,400km for the year. The average distance from the East Coast to the West Coast is approximately 3,075mi, or 4,948km. So we have rowed the equivalent of crossing the continental US back and forth 4.5 times! Also, the equatorial circumference of the Earth is approximately 40,075km, so we have rowed over halfway across the world. Go BARC!

-BARC Board

September Challenge Results

10/02/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 7:42 pm

3119 kilometers were logged in September - the second-most ever, topped only by last month which saw 3230 kilometers logged. Most remarkable about September was that some brand new rowers turned in some big numbers: Marissa Herron, who took a sculling class just this past June logged 249 k, and Stephani Mckennan, also a new rower logged 99. Apparently, those two, together with Renee Aiello, Anke Hielcher, Ryan Chambers, and Janelle Westhelle (also new) rowed the full Marathon distance of 42 k on September 25. It should also be noted that yours truly passed the 1000 k mark for the year while doing a power 5 at the poles on Sept. 28.

Full results can be viewed here.


September Sculling Class

09/27/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Claire @ 9:08 pm

The demand for Sculling Classes was so great this year that we added a September class. Please welcome our newest rowers, from l to r, Jill Boston, Diane Forthman, Kevin and Christopher Creason (husband and son of Angela Creason who took our August Sculling Class).

BARC (end of) Summer Party 2011

09/18/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 8:58 pm

The Annual BARC Summer Party was held a little later than usual this year, but that didn’t keep those who attended from having a great time. About 30 BARC members and friends found their way to Pearland! A big thanks to Marilyn and Preston who once again generously opened their beautiful home for all to enjoy.

August 2011 Challenge Results

09/11/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 8:35 pm

August was yet another record setting month for the BARC Rowing Challenge. A total of 3230 kilometers were logged, and Carlos and Greg accounted for nearly 1/3 of it with 510 k each. They have now rowed over 3000 k for the year. Ryan and Anke rowed 251 and 227 k respectively. A “new” rower Renee Alelio rounded out the top 5 with 217 kilometer.

The complete results for the month can be seen here.

August Sculling Class

08/25/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Claire @ 8:35 pm

Please welcome our newest Sculling Class graduates! From l to r, Mike Robinson and his daughter, Ava, and Angela Creason. Not pictured, Ed Altemus.

We have had a very successful summer of Rowing Classes. We had 24 participants in our Try It You’ll Like It classes and 25 participants in our Sculling Classes. So far, several Sculling Class graduates have joined BARC. If you see a new face at the boathouse, please say “Hi!” and introduce yourself.

Thanks so much to all of the BARCers who helped teach the classes... Lynn Leenhouts, Greg Wood, Anke Hielscher, Ryan Chambers, Carlos Westhelle, Renee Aiello, Hannes Hofer, Tom Heig, Theresa Tompkins, Becky Morlier, Ben Newcomb, and Tom MacAdam. Please forgive me if I left someone off of this list.

Claire MacAdam

US Masters Nationals in Oklahoma City August 11-14 2011

08/24/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 5:31 pm

4 Days, 1080 competitors, 199 titles, 90 clubs from 28 states and 3 countries and 2 BARC rowers (Anke and Ryan). The regatta took place on one of the newest rowing venues in the country, on a course that includes the impressive Devon Boathouse (including dynamic propulsion rowing tank, altitude training chamber, gigantic gym, etc.) and the new Chesapeake Finish Line Tower. It was a very strong competition and our heat was so close that we didn’t know for an hour if we made it to the finals, where we finished 5th place of a total 15 in the Mx2x A competition. Participating in this very well organized regatta was a great experience.

July 2011 Challenge Results

08/08/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 7:17 am

July was a very busy month at BARC, with 3065 kilometers logged. Carlos and Greg were once again winners for the month with 468 k’s each (how do they manage to match each other kilometer for kilometer when they don’t always row together?). Anke and Ryan followed them with 218 and 209 respectively. Year-to-date, the standings for the top four is the same as for the month, with Alex rounding out the top 5. Alex also broke the 1000 k mark for the year. Congratulations to him!

Full results can be seen here.

July Sculling Class

07/23/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Claire @ 3:46 pm

Please welcome our July Sculling Class students! They are off to a good start :)

From l to r, Rachel Newcomb, Michael Evans, Liz Boxleitner, Marissa Herron, Erica Schmidt, and Matthew Carter. Erica is the daughter of our new members, Eric and Kristie Schmidt. Matthew just graduated from high school and plans to row in college this fall.

Dallas BLAST Regatta

07/23/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 3:31 pm

BARC had a BLAST in Dallas on June 11th. It started with an early morning Gold medal in the Mx4x Open at the Bachman Lake Annual Sprint Trials for Emily, Greg, Anke and Ryan. The heat and close flyovers from airplanes approaching Love Field Airport did not keep Anke and Ryan from defending their title in Mx2x Masters and Mx2x Open, with Emily and Greg winning bronze. Greg and Ryan finished the successful day with a bronze medal in M2x Open and Emily and Anke with a fourth place in W2x Open.

June 2011 Challenge Results

07/03/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 8:25 pm

Extra, Extra! Read all about it: Greg and Carlos did not log the most kilometers in June!

Anke and Ryan each logged 254 kilometers, and Alex Parkman logged 180. Greg and Carlos logged “only” 162 k. Year-to-date, Greg and Carlos are still leading by a large margin with 2067 k each . Closest to them is Anke with1395 k and Ryan who has logged 1224.

Overall, BARC members logged a total of 2398 kilometers, slightly more than the 2353 that was recorded in May.

The full results can be viewed here.

June Sculling Class

06/26/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Claire @ 12:56 pm

Please welcome our June Sculling Class members! From l to r, Shelly Brock, Damian Brum, Holly Larsen, Gloria and Bill Brutscher.

May 2011 Challenge Results

06/12/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 9:54 am

First an error: I had given Carlos and Greg 65 kilometers too many in the initial April posting, it was later corrected.

At the end May, the leaders of the Kilometer Challenge were still Greg and Carlos. The had each logged 1905 k. Nearly 2000 kilometers and we are not even half way through the year yet! They were followed by Anke and Ryan, who had rowed 1141 and 970 k, respectively.

We are well ahead of last year in terms of overall kilometers. 10621 were logged at the end of May, as compared to 6125 in May 2010. However, when taken into consideration that this time last year, Carlos and Greg had yet to log any rows, and the two of them alone account for allmost 4000 k this year, the difference is much smaller then it appears a at first.

The Full results can be viewed here.

April 2011 Challenge Resullts

05/10/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 12:28 pm

As always, Greg and Carlos blew everybody away in April. To see by how much, see the full results here.

Space City Sprints

05/08/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 5:59 pm

Thanks to the many BARC volunteers who helped make the 2011 Space City Sprints a GREAT event. Special thanks goes to Claire Sweatt MacAdam, BARC’s Regatta Director, and to Greg Wood who not only helped Anke Hielscher, Ryan Chambers, and Carlos Westhelle lay out the course, but also cooked a TASTY brisket. The lunch was wonderful because so many BARCers contributed their delicious recipes. The dock master crew is pictured below in their official Cinco de Mayo uniforms. From left Larry Price, Marilyn Bullard - Head Dock Master, & Bob Albright. Not pictured is Emily Wood, who looked lovely in her Sombrero.

The finish line was on their toes capturing all the times on their stopwatches and relaying the information to the registration desk. From left is Tina Bryan, Tom Heig with binoculars, Saul Rodriguez & David Nutt. Also helping at the finish line when she wasn’t rowing was Becky Molier, not pictured.

At the registration desk helping Dennis Leenhouts was Bruce Wright who entered all the resulting times into the computer and printed the reports.

Final results may be found here and pictures may be found here.

A productive workday April 23rd

04/24/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 1:30 pm

A big Thank-You to all participants in the workday yesterday and special thanks to Greg Wood our Boathouse Manager for organizing it. It was a productive day. There’s now shiny new insulation boards replacing the old dirty ripped insulation hanging from the bay doors, a new rope was strung to replace the frayed one used for a new double, several light bulbs and a balast were replaced, the bolts on the new dock were checked and tightened, the sideyard was mowed, the boathouse swept, the cubbie holes were cleaned, one lane of bouys for Space City Sprints was put in place, the Curlew was raised one notch to allow easier access to the boat below it, and a new rack for hanging oars was constructed and installed.

In the picture above Anke and Ryan are stringing the new rope while James is replacing a balast, and in the picture below Hannes and Lynn fit new insulation to the bay door.

Above Greg and David build a new rack for hanging oars, and below Lewis and Wendy clean up the cubby holes.

April Sculling Class Graduates!

04/20/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Claire @ 5:22 pm

Please welcome our newest members from the April Sculling Class. From l to r, Andrea Martin, Nicole Courtney, Christine Hughes, Janelle Westhelle.

They had to deal with some windy conditions during this class but they all did a great job!

Thanks to the BARCers who helped teach the classes: Tom Mac, Greg, Anke, Ryan, Lynn, Tom H, Birgit, and Becky!

March 2011 Challenge Results

04/07/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 7:19 pm

In case you have been missing the monthly Challenge updates, I am happy to report that they are back:

The Greglos Twins lead all comers, having passed the 1000K milestone already in mid March. Greg and Carlos ended the quarter with a total of 1140K each. They were followed by the RyAnke Combo, who logged 381 and 319K, respectively. The top 5 was rounded out by Alex Parkman, who’d logged 385K.

Overall, BARC members had logged 5766 kilometers for the first quarter, with March being the busiest month of the year so far with 2128K logged. The full results can be seen by clicking here.

You may have noticed that I used the word "logged" and not "rowed". I know for fact that not all BARC members log their rows. While the Kilometer Challenge is mostly for fun, the statistics that we gather from it can be an important gauge of how the club is doing and how the Board plan the club’s future. So go ahead and log your Ks, and encourage your fellow BARC members to do the same.


2011 Trash Bash

03/31/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Claire @ 7:04 pm

Thanks to the following BARC members for participating in last Saturday’s Trash Bash: Tom Heig, Tom MacAdam, Alex Parkman, Lynn and Dennis Leenhouts, Ryan Chambers, Anke Hielscher, Carlos Westhelle and Renee Aiello!

The group retrieved tires, an engine cover, and lots of trash from Mud Lake.

Check out the cool YouTube video about the event!

This is an annual event hosted by the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Heart of Texas Regatta, Austin

03/16/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: site admin @ 7:43 pm

On the first weekend of March, heavy winds blowing on Lady Bird Lake in Austin could not hold back a brave group of BARC rowers to compete in the Open Races on Saturday and even winning a Silver Medal in the MO2x (Greg/Carlos).

On Sunday the conditions were perfect leading to a rain of medals and a triumphant and unprecedented second (from last) place for the Great 8. BARC, as a club, did awesome in the points per entry ranking, achieving 6th place (out of 31 teams).

The following medals were won on Sunday: MM2x AA-B: Gold (Carlos, Greg); MM2x C-D: Silver (James, Cory); MM1x C-J: Silver (Cory); MM1x AA-B: Silver (Carlos); MxM4x AA-B: Silver (Emily, Anke, Ryan, Greg).

Full results of the regatta can be seen here.

BARC Annual Meeting

02/08/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 6:12 pm

At BARC’s well attended annual meeting and elections, Carlos Westhelle was reelected Vice President and Becky Morlier was reelected Treasurer. Anke Hielscher was reelected to her position as member-at-large; and Greg Wood, our enthusiastic Boathouse Manager, was newly elected to the board as member-at-large.

Alex Parkman is leaving BARC’s board of directors this year. In addition to serving out the term of a member at large who moved away this past year, over the last few years, he has served as equipment manager, president, volunteer teacher at the TIYLI and sculling classes, and is always ready to row a double with a novice or member who would like to improve their technique. Because Seattle gave up one of their best so he could row at BARC, in the above picture, he was presented with the “Seattle’s Best Award”, a pound of Seattle’s Best Coffee.

Below: Tom Heig receives the “Green Thumb Award”, orange polka dot gardening gloves, for planting trees and trimming the overgrown foliage around the boathouse.

Workday was Cool - but Sunny!

01/25/11 | Filed under: General | Posted by: Dennis @ 9:36 am

We had a good turnout for the workday last Saturday and the fellowship of fellow members warmed everyone who particpated. Above Cliff, Sheryl, Anke, and Ryan were washing boats.

More pictures from the workday may be found here.

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