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The 2022 CSHL Raft Race

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On September 16, 2022, four Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) teams braved the cool waters off Cold Spring Harbor, NY, for the seventh annual CSHL Raft Race. Dozens gathered along the sandy shore to cheer on friends, family, and colleagues as they battled the elements in custom-built rafts.

“What makes the race so enjoyable and part of the tradition of the Lab is that it involves a lot of what the Lab represents—collaboration, working hard, having fun, a little bit of competition,” CSHL Chief Operating Officer John P. Tuke says. “And I think building things with your hands, it’s extremely satisfying for a lot of people.”

Most of the DIY rafts relied on sturdy materials like plastic barrels, plywood, storage totes, and even an old lab refrigerator door. But it was the leaky vessel from CSHL Assistant Professor Peter Koo’s lab—built of cardboard boxes, plastic wrap, Flex Seal®, tape, and hope—that against all odds, cruised to victory.

“Sometimes our optimism got a bit ahead of us,” Koo lab captain Jakub Kaczmarzyk says. “So we tried to keep calm and just row, row, row.”