News Archive

Mount Baker Juniors Headed to National Championships

Mount Baker’s Boys Varsity 8+ and Girls Varsity 8+ both qualified for the 2016 Junior National Championships June 10 – 12 in West Windsor, NJ.

More information on the Junior National Championships can be found on the US Rowing Website

Help cheer on these dedicated youth athletes. You can live stream the full lineup of races on US Rowing’s YouTube Channel.

Go Baker!

The 1991 National Champion Boys 4+

The 1991 National Champion Boys 4+

The Beast is Back!

Baker Beast III To Be Dedicated Saturday, April 16

In Honor of the 1991 Junior Boys Team

Please join us on Saturday morning, April 16th at 9:15 am as we dedicate our newest Eight racing shell as Baker Beast III. This shell replaces the Baker Beast II, an Eight destroyed by a freak wave last June.

Baker Beast is a name that has resonated at our boathouse since 1991 when our emerging Junior Boys team took up the term to embody their newly found competitiveness. Ryan Allison was the strongest member of that team and when he pulled and erg piece that was dramatically superior the team would call it “Beasting Out.” The term “Beast Out” then became a key coxswain call used at critical moments on the race course.

The 1991 Junior Boys went “Beast Out” at the National Championships finishing fourth in the Eights and wining gold medals in the Four and the Pair. Later, when the team purchased its first fiberglass racing shell they named it “Baker Beast” to honor their newfound competitive identity.

The original Baker Beast, a Pocock Eight, served at Mount Baker until 2010. Two years later we re-introduced the name with the dedication of the Baker Beast II. Our new boat is a Pocock hyphercarbon V8, medium hull. This is a top-of-the-line racing shell for rowers who average between 160 and 190 pounds. It will become the top eight for our Junior Boys team.

Please join us as we dedicate the Baker Beast III in honor of our 1991 Junior Boys team.

1991 Junior National Champions. L-R Elie Finegold (bow), Tyler Davidson (2), Coach Sara Nevin, Evan McDonald (3), Ryan Allison (stroke). Photo credit:


Alumni Celebrate Past Glories

At Crew Reunion

On Sunday, March 13th Mount Baker Crew Alumni gathered for the third Annual Crew Reunion Reception and Dinner. Over forty five rowers, family, friends, former coaches, coaches and staff came to honor Coach Sara Nevin and her 1991 National Champions in the Boys 4+ and the Boys 2-. We also recognized the 1996 National Champion Girls 8+ on the 20th anniversary of their victory. We had all four rowers from the Boys 4 attend, in many cases with their spouses, children and parents. Several of their team mates joined them.

We learned how Coach Nevin shaped a small inexperienced team into a national powerhouse. In her second year at Baker she took a handful of rowers to the 1991 National Championships. They finished fourth in the 8+ and won National Championships in the 4+ and the 2-. Her team set the standard for competitiveness that we continue to hold high. They also introduced the name “Baker Beast” to our rowing fleet.

The pictures tell the story. It was a great evening.

For more photos from the Crew Reunion go to:

You may share or download the photos free of charge.

Many thanks to our event photographer, Margie Nicosia.



2015 Annual Report Now Available

The Mount Baker Boating Advisory Council has released its Annual Report for 2015.  The report summarizes program activities in the past year for which the Boating Advisory Council is responsible.

“It was a year of records in every respect” said Ross Tilghman, BAC President, “reaching new heights in enrollment, fundraising, and in the number of new boats added to the fleet.  The rowing and sailing programs operated near capacity with robust growth in participation among both youth and adults.”

The BAC, a part of the Associated Recreation Council, a not-for-profit entity, advises Seattle Parks & Recreation on the programs offered at the boathouse, hires the coaches and raises money to renew equipment and to fund financial aid to participants.

Click here to view the 2015 Annual Report


Save the Date

Mount Baker Crew Reunion

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Inviting All Junior Crew Alumni and All Master Crew Veterans

Reunite with Old Friends, Team Mates and Coaches

Catch Up with the Changes at Baker


This Year Honoring

The National Champion Girls 8+ from 1996–20th Anniversary

The National Champion Boys 4+ from 1991—25th Anniversary




Cheer (or row in) an Alumni 8+ in the Baker Day Races


Alumni Reception and Dinner

 Pass the Word and invite your former team mates to join you. Watch for updates and details. Looking forward to seeing you on March 13th.

Olympian Mary Whipple Inspires Guests at 2nd Annual Winter Gala

.Three-time olympic medal winning coxswain Mary Whipple shared her experience competing at rowing’s highest level and talked about the challenge of improving on success.  Her determination to succeed coupled with persistence and careful attention to detail working with her teammates in the US Women’s 8+ led to remarkable results.  She thrilled the audience with descriptions of each grand final race culminating in display of the medals — one silver and two gold.

Inspiration came not only from Mary Whipple, but from the audience who gave generously to support programs at Mt. Baker.  Net proceeds were $31,600, a new record.  These funds will provide financial aid to youth and adults, help replace equipment, and support outreach efforts to attract more kids from Southeast Seattle to the program.  The Winter Gala is one of three major fundraising events sponsored by MBRSC and is held in December, replacing the previous silent auction.


 Masters Rowers Give to Food Bank

At their annual year-end crew party in December 2015, Masters rowers did something different:  rather than contributing dishes to a pot-luck party, they brought food and other vital household items.  The result was a donation from MBRSC to the Rainier Valley Food Bank weighing in at 354 pounds!  “We’re proud to support the Rainier Valley Food Bank since it provides an essential service to residents in our neighborhood” said Boating Advisory Council President, Ross Tilghman.  “The adult crew were very supportive and we look forward to increasing that support in 2016.”

The Rainier Valley Food Bank is a not-for-profit organization that serves approximately 11,000 people monthly in Southeast Seattle.

Sheila Addleman: Peggy Boat &emdash; SA8_1047Sheila Addleman: Peggy Boat &emdash; SA8_1036
Sheila Addleman: Peggy Boat &emdash; SA8_1054
Sheila Addleman: Peggy Boat &emdash; SA8_0983

Baker Dedicates a New Eight to Peggy Tosdal

Part of a Three Boat Dedication on October 31st

Before a large group of current and former Mount Baker participants, coaches, parents, family and friends, Mount Baker dedicated a new Eight to Peggy Tosdal on Saturday, October 31st. The dedication was widely acclaimed at the boathouse as Peggy has supervised programs at our Center for over 21 years. Peggy is currently on leave from Mt. Baker in order to manage the City’s Lake Washington moorages at Leschi and Lakewood.

Throughout her long tenure at Mount Baker Peggy has been a champion for inclusion, open communication and opportunities for all. She worked with the Boating Advisory Council for a decade to plan, fund and execute the expansion and improvement of the Center. She sustained our programs through the difficult construction phases: 2006—2007 for Phase I and 2010—2011 for Phase II (to complete the meeting room).

The Peggy Tosdal is a new Pocock Core V8, Medium Hull. This is a general purpose 8+ using Pocock’s V8 hull and wing riggers. It is sized for crews with average weights between 160 and 190 pounds. The boat will be suitable for a wide range of rowers from novices polishing their strokes to accomplished rowers in competition.

In his comments at the dedication, Ross Tilghman, President of the Boating Advisory Council, said that it was fitting that the Peggy Tosdal was a general purpose boat because its use mirrors Peggy’s emphasis on opportunities for all participants. After the dedication Peggy expressed her thanks to the many coaches, parents, donors and volunteers who have helped her realize her vision for our Center.

Thanks, Peggy, for all you have given to us over the years and for what may yet come.

We also dedicated a new Four as Semper Paratus, Latin for “Always Ready,” the motto of the U.S. Coast Guard. The dedication was performed by Coast Guard Reserve members Will Winter, husband of master rower, Cam Winter, and John Theiler, son of master rower, Mary Alice Theiler.

The Semper Paratus is a Pocock K4+, Medium Hull. This is a carbon fiber, bow coxed 4+ for competition, sized for crews with average weights between 160 and 195 pounds. The shell is identical to the Genesee and can be used in conjunction with it for seat racing. The Semper Paratus replaces the 20 year-old Blue Hammer.

Peggy Tosdal and Ross Tilghman dedicated a new single scull, naming it Ambition.

The shell is an Empacher single that was the personal boat of our former coach, Lee Kulinna. Lee is currently living and teaching in Neah Bay and he donated his boat to our program. The name for the boat was suggested by Lee’s novice boys’ rowers. It encourages us to keep our eye on our goal and never to give up until we have attained it.

Thank you, Lee, for this very generous gift. Thanks for your Ambition.

1017SenMastFour047-01 1017SenMastFour176-01

Baker Masters Hang Tough at the Head of the Charles


Eight rowers, two coxswains, and one coach (plus two Pocock fours) from Mt Baker Masters journeyed to Boston to row the Charles River on October 17. The womens 4+ consisted of Nancy Lockett, Becky Morcom, Maura Deering, Karen Weisman, and cox Andy Bolender in the “HMS Surprise.” Matt Johnson, Sam Skrivan, Steve Ellman, Joel Massmann, and cox Mark Bolender made up the mens 4+ rowing in the “Sara Nevin.”

On the morning of the race, the water was calm with temperatures in the low 40s and light rain. By midmorning, the sun broke through, but brought a strong north wind with it.

The mens boat (bow #18) launched at 9:45 for their warmup. By the time of their 10:44 race, the wind was blowing 15 mph with gusts at around 30 mph. The men had a strong start and quickly overtook bow #16 (Palm Beach). Despite Mt Baker having the right of way, and Mark calling for Palm Beach to yield, they did not, which cost Baker some time. But they rallied and passed #16, as well as #17 (Cambridge). As they approached the Western St. bridge, Cambridge came back up on them and tried to pass between the Nevin and the bridge abutment, causing the boats to clash oars. The mens boat ended up having to stop to avoid a full-on collision, but they fought Cambridge off the rest of the race. They completed the first section of the race in 24th place, dropped to 40th when they had to stop, then ratcheted up to 14th place in the final sprint. With their overall 27th place finish, they squeaked into the top half of the field, which means they will have a guaranteed spot in next years race. (Incidentally, both bow #16 and Cambridge, #17, were penalized one minute for interfering with Baker.)

The women (bow #13) launched just after 10am, and by the time they reached the start line in the Basin, the sustained wind speed had climbed to 30 mph with gusts approaching 35 mph. During the first third of the race, the women struggled to maintain speed in the stiff headwind. Delayed roll-ups and big layback helped keep the oars from lifting like sails and the boat moving forward (the rate of 32 strokes per minute didn’t hurt either).

As with the men, the women rapidly closed in on a boat ahead of them, bow #10 (Willamette). Andy had the inside line tight to the buoys. As the boat got within a length of Willamette, Andy began warning them to yield. No response. Half a length behind them, he yelled several times more. They would not move. Andy had no choice to move off his line to go around them. Unfortunately, Willamette’s failure to yield cost the women time and bows 14 and 15 came up fast. (Interestingly, though, Willamette was not penalized.) The women kept the pressure on, however, and made up ground, moving from 26th/28th place in the first third of the race to 20th/21st through the hairpin turn at the Cambridge boathouse and through the finish. Bows 14 and 15 tried repeatedly to mount a passing attack, but neither was successful. As the HMS Surprise passed Cambridge, the announcers gave a shout-out to Andy, saying that Mt Baker was doing a great job on the buoy line (“and not even being from here!”).

Despite the challenges, the womens 4+ fought the whole way, but their 25th place finish (out of 49 entries) landed them just one spot below the cutoff for a guaranteed entry. They hope that one or two boats above them will decide not to compete next year, so that they will move up into the top half invited to return.

Excitement on the river works up the appetite, so onto the second most important HOCR topic: food. After a practice row on Friday, the women, coxswains, and Coach Tim, stopped at the not-to-be-missed Bartley’s for burgers, where Tim pronounced his burger to be the best he’s ever had. On Saturday evening, the whole team, plus friends and family, met at the Green Street Grill in Cambridge for local cuisine and merriment. That afternoon, the team had lunched at the Breakfast Club near the finish line and made friends with the cooks. On Sunday morning, the women returned for pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin coffee cake French toast (it really is a thing). As they sat at the counter, they received an enthusiastic greeting from the cooks (“Seattle is in the house!”).

The Head of the Charles is always epic, and this year was no exception. Baker rowers fought the good fight and are hopeful that the river gods will grant them future success in Boston.



Strong Showing by Mount Baker Masters at Tail of the Lake

A brisk north wind blew on Saturday, the day before Tail of the Lake, sparking concerns that the regatta would be canceled as Row for the Cure had been. But Sunday, October 4, brought calmer waters and balmy, Indian-summer weather to the Lake Union race course.

Five crews from the Mount Baker masters team launched from the Seattle Rowing Center: men’s and women’s fours, a men’s eight, a mixed quad, and a mixed eight, along with competitors from Conibear Rowing Club and the Baker junior girls teams.

The first Baker Masters boat to tackle the 4000-meter course was the men’s four in the lineup they will race in the Head of the Charles later this month: Matt Johnson, Sam Skrivan, Steve Ellmann, and Joel Massmann, coxed by Mark Bolender. They turned in a solid 5th-place performance, including all age categories. Next to go was the women’s four: Nancy Lockett, Janet Hietter, Maura Deering, and Karen Weisman, with Andy Bolender in the coxswain’s seat. They placed 6th out of 13 boats and held a steady 32-stroke-per-minute pace for most of the race.

In Flight 2, the men’s eight with Aaron Wagner, Pat Opalka, David Anderson, Doug Baker, Stephan Imbriaco, Larry McCann, Doug Ostergaard, and Vikram Bhatwadekar, with Audrey Waine coxing, captured the third-place spot in a field of seven fast boats.

Both mixed boats competed in Flight 3, and faced the added challenge of large wakes from several yachts who somehow found their way onto the course. The quad, stroked by Paul Luu, followed by Nancy Graves-Lankford, Barb Moravec, and Jon Cooper, finished 6th. And the eight, which featured both morning and evening Masters: Paul Manner, Ross Tilghman, Denise Joffe, Stephen Littlepage, Melissa Pailthorp, Nina Thornsburg, Sandy Hirano, and Anne Savage, with Mark Bolender coxing, took the 9th place spot after the age-adjustment, but crossed the line in 5th on raw time.

All-in-all a strong showing for Mount Baker Masters. The next races on the schedule take place the weekend of October 17-18. A men’s four and a women’s four will travel to Boston, Mass. to row in the Head of the Charles (catch the races via live streaming at — men at 10:26am eastern time, women at 11:05am on Saturday morning). And on Sunday, a mixed eight will compete at the American Lake Fall Classic in Lakewood, Wash.


Cascadia Masters Championships- Burnaby Lake, British Columbia


There is some seriously weird math going on in the world of rowing regattas.

Think about it. On July 18th and 19th, at the Cascadia Masters Championship held on Burnaby Lake in Burnaby British Columbia, with the exception of Irena Baker who was on the water pretty much all the time racing in singles, doubles and eights, the rest of the Mt.Baker squad spent, oh, let’s say an average of 18.35 minutes on the water. “So what?”, you might say.

Well, when put up against the roughly 3,300 minutes spent de-rigging /loading and unloading / re-rigging the shells, driving to Canada, crossing the border, which for our trailer drivers, Audrey and Matt, had to happen twice (ask them), attending a two day regatta and then returning home just to get up the next morning to unload, wash and re-rig the boats, the actual time racing on the water – something we train umpteen hours for – comprised a total of 0.5% of the time expended on the experience.

Then, over and above the time spent getting there, there were the random things like 105 degree heat radiating off the asphalt, white shells turned upside down so the seats wouldn’t burn your butt when you sat down in them. Rowers walking around with ice bags on their heads and stuffed down tank tops making even the most demure woman look a bit like Marshawn Lynch and listening to Lake Union’s cowbell every time a crew of theirs came down the course (can we please start a petition to ban these?)

What the Sam Hill is going on here? Is it an anomaly of the sport? Or maybe it is just a water-based thing. Think about swimmers: they spend a disproportionate time attending meets for not too long swimming in the water. Or, for God’s sakes, diving competitions! Greg Louganis takes ten dives and it takes a total of 10 seconds! But, maybe the saving grace there is that Greg’s speedo is a bit easier to carry than an eight person shell.

No, it’s something more.

Maybe it is the fluidity of twenty people working together to take apart eleven boats with hundreds of bolts, placing them carefully, yet firmly on steel racks wrapped with nylon straps. With key phrases spoken – Arete, Pearl and Genesee above, Surprise, Jule and Kalypso below – our “Speedos” are ready to go.

Maybe it is the anticipation, the visualization, the conversation in the cars heading north across the border. “Yes, I was able to practice once with my line up— and it felt good!” “I think the racing we’ve done on Saturdays definitely helps us.” “If we just relax and stay long, we’ll be fine.” “I love the Lilly Pads on the Lake, but I wonder if they have taken over lane seven?”

Or maybe it’s Nancy’s granola shared generously (see her recipe posted on Big Tent!) or Mark’s data mining of the competition he will cox against and his tattered race sheet telling everyone of the event times. Or Paul Luu’s special treat of the All-You Can-Eat-Sushi on Kingsway & Boundary street and the monster burger eaten by Andy at Brown’s Social House on Friday that lasted only as long as a 500 meter piece. Or Matt’s unique JIT (just in time) arrival groove and Coach Shaw’s mellow but firm coaching moves.

The rhythm of a regatta weekend becomes like muscle memory. Practiced over time, it provides results – not just emotional, but of the tangible kind as well. Because, for those precious few moments on the Canadian water, the MBC rowers acquitted themselves very well, particularly in the sweep events where they finished no lower than third in any event. Highlights included a Gold – with open water to spare – in the Men’s 4 D event (M. Bolender (c), Johnson, Massmann, Wagner, Moore). The Women’s 4 D ( Andy Bolender (c), Lockett, Morcom, Deering, Weisman) ran up against some serious age handicapping and while finishing first on the water, had to settle for Silver. The Men’s 8 AA (M. Bolender (c), Johnson, Massmann, Wagner, Baker, Ostergaard, Moore, Cooper, Luu) garnered a bronze medal by taking advantage of their handicap. And then, in the penultimate race of a long hot weekend, there was the joyful return of Mixed 8 success, a beloved staple of MBC racing, with a Silver in the D event (Audrey Waine (c), Morcom, Lockett, (Doug) Baker, Massmann, Wagner, Ostergaard, Hietter, Deering).

Of special note in the sweep events, one of the five entered, was a reprise of the ongoing women’s pair competition, soon to be a best of 13 series with the winning pair receiving the treasured “Beep-Beep Ladies Cup,” where Deering/Weisman faced off against Lockett/Morcom as the only two competitors in the Women’s 2- C event. At the finish line they were separated by (beep-beep) 0.72 seconds.

An ongoing challenge for MBC at Cascadia are the high quality and quantity of scullers – mostly Canadian – of all ages who attend the event every year. While there were no heats in the sweep categories, the singles, doubles and quad categories, straight and mixed, were replete with them. An impressive sight was the tanned 60, 70 and I dare say some 80 year olds hauling their singles down to the starting docks to race. While not our strength currently at the boathouse, we did have many sculling entries and we continue to work on our form and speed. Of particular note were Karen Weisman and Maura Deering who continue to bring down their times in the 1x E category and Lisa Reitzes, our bow extraordinaire, who took scullers down the course in three events.

Then, spanning both disciplines, there was Irena Baker, currently on loan from Conibear, who raced in 7 events and won an individual gold in her Lightweight 1x F, and a bronze in the W 1x E. In addition to her well earned hardware, Irena won and came in second in a couple of heats, but, more importantly, she was oh so generous in sharing her expertise with her Baker teammates as well as hauling boats and oars in the few moments when she wasn’t on the water. And that, I think, begins to get at what the Sam Hill is going on here.

While a regatta weekend is long and can at times be tedious, sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold, and always with a lot of lifting and tying, it becomes like a little community – a tent city in the case of Cascadia – where the groups’ presence is always felt, with loud cheering for all of the races, no matter the finish order, and lots of laughter, good food and considerate company. For at the end of the day, while results on the water certainly motivate us, it is the 99.5% of the time spent on land that makes us the Mt. Baker Crew.


Juniors at Nationals

Left to right: Yohji Curry, Michael Chanen, Andy Bolender, Jason Campbell, Alex Silva-Holland, Jackson Bramhall, Emma Jane Gardiner, Anika Christofferson, Sophie Boyd-Fliegel, Isabelle Gahard, Gretchen Peterson, Emma Vagen, Bella Greene, Charlotte Lepp, Margaret Seaton

Baker Juniors Compete at Youth Nationals

Girls Varsity Eight Finishes 5th

Three Mount Baker Junior crews competed at the US Rowing Youth National Championships in steamy, stormy Sarasota, FL. from June 12th to 14th. Rowing against the best crews from around the country our juniors left it all on the racecourse and made us proud.

The team arrived two days before the start of racing to acclimate to the heat and humidity and the three hour time change. Parents had adeptly rented a few nearby private homes to house and feed our athletes during the competition.

None of our crews had an easy path through the regatta with each having to row a repechage race after failing to win their initial heat race. The Girls 8+ placed highest with a fifth place finish. Our Boys Lightweight 4+ placed 13th wining the C Final in their event and our Boys 2- finished 15th with a third place finish in their C Final.

On Saturday the Girls 8+, the NW Regional Champion, finished third in a very fast heat race forcing them to row in a repechage or “second chance” race later in the day. The girls won their rep and qualified for the semi-final.  On Sunday morning the girls closed their semi-final race with a blazing sprint to edge into third place and qualify for the Grand Final. In Sunday afternoon’s Grand Final the girls contended early before giving way to finish 5th in a very fast field.

Over two days the Girls 8+ rowed four 2K races with times between 6:46.68 and 6:49.60 showing remarkable consistency and excellent speed despite changing conditions. The crew was led by seniors Margaret Seaton, Anika Christofferson and Gretchen Peterson who rowed stroke, seven and six respectively.

The Boys Lightweight 4+ finished third in their heat and third in their repechage relegating them to the C Final. In their final race they stormed to the front of the field and won to place 13th in their event. Congratulations to seniors Alexander Silva-Holland, stroke, Jason Campbell, two, and Michael Chanen, bow.

The Boys 2- or Pair was rowed by senior Yohji Curry, stroke, and junior Reed Shrontz, bow. They finished fourth in their heat and then fourth, again, in their rep to qualify for the C Final. They closed out their regatta with a third place finish to place 15th in their event.

Congratulations to all of our Nationals athletes and thanks to our coaches and parents for their support.


2015 Northwest Masters Regionals ChampionshipMens 4Mens 8Women's 4

Over the weekend of June 26th-28th, a riparian community of over 60 athletes from Mt. Baker Crew (MBC) and Conibear was created on the shores of Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, WA. The reason was the 2015 NW Masters Regional Championships. Boats were unloaded from the trailer, tents raised, chairs unfolded, food placed on picnic tables and a much maligned package of Costco-sized bug spray set out as a warning to the pests that never arrived.

What did arrive shortly thereafter, however, were close to 1,000 rowers from 54 clubs pulling trailers up from California and Oregon and down from British Columbia and Washington to converge on a lake significantly lower than last year (we have a broken skag and a small hole in a hull to prove it). Racing began on Friday morning with mixed quads and ended when the last Women’s F 8 cruised down the course at 1:50 Sunday afternoon. In between, 124 other events were raced.

Vancouver Lake is a fantastic venue for racing, and it treated the clubs well. Yes, at times the wind was capricious, whipping up waves big enough to cause Maura’s single to take on a few too many buckets of water (she decided it was too unsafe to race it) and Matt and Joel’s pair to flip in the warm-up area – oh, wait, that was either a loose oarlock or maybe a planned plunge in honor of Janet’s dip at the finish line last year. Overall, however, the conditions were much much better than anticipated, with temperatures a bit milder and winds more zephyr like.

MBC was represented by 29 rowers, 2 coxswains and 2 coaches. It medalled in 5 out of its 17 events for a total of 30 individual medals. I am not sure if such records are kept, but I suspect this was, at the very least, our best showing in quite a while.There were many highlights on the water, but none greater than that of the four women who have been out ahead, leading the resurgence of Mt. Baker rowing for the last three years: Becky Morcom, Maura Deering, Karen Weisman and Nancy Lockett. Coxed by Andy Bolender, our erstwhile Women’s E 4 , having placed the last two years, had their sights set on gold this year – and they got it – besting two of the top California clubs – Los Gatos and Marin – in the Final with a time of 4:19.21. (An interesting note: the qualifying time in their heat was 4:19.22. How’s that for having a race plan and sticking to it?) On Sunday, these four rowers were joined by Lisa Reitzes, Janet Hietter, Ann Kolvenbach and Rebecca Humphries in the extremely competitive Women’s E8 category. In the first heat they finished 3rd, beating Conibear, Lake Union and Martha’s Mom’s. In the final, they rowed 11 seconds faster but finished out of the medals! Wow.

In the category of “Most Productive Miners,” the hard hats go to Matt Johnson, Pat Opalka, Joel Massmann and Sam Skrivan who combined for a total of 15 silver and bronze medals. Led down the course by Mark Bolender, the foursome got a silver in the Men’s 4 , and maybe even more satisfyingly finally beat Bainbridge Island Rowing; Pat and Sam got a silver in the Men’s C-D 2- and Joel and Matt, after flipping their boat in the warm up, raced to the bronze with a bit of extra ballast. Matt, Pat and Joel rounded out their haul of precious metal with bronzes in the Men’s D and F 8 races, both coxed by Mark.

Speaking of the Men’s D and F8 races, let’s just say they made a lot of guys – eleven of them actually – very happy, mixing and matching ten rowers over the two events both coxed by Mark. In addition to the Men’s 4 line up, the boys in the boat were: Ellman, Wagner, Moore, Defliese, Baker, and Ostergaard. The F8 race in particular rated very high in terms of weekend entertainment value. Not only was it a marquee matchup featuring arch rival Ancient Mariner’s (whom MBC has never beaten, most recently coming in second to them at Opening Day) but it came complete with a photo finish! A final push in the last 100 meters of the race gave MBC a victory over the Mariners on the water by less than 3/10ths of a second. However, with an average boat age of four years more ancient than us, they took first and Corvallis, also a boat of older gentlemen, took second. Still, if ever a bronze felt golden, this was the time!

While medals are cool and one of the things we all work hard for, there are many other indicators of a great weekend of racing and a strong boathouse. Take for example the number of younger rowers who were at their first Regionals. They not only performed extremely well, but made the alphabet soup that is masters rowing even tastier by adding another letter to the Baker soup bowl. With them,we now have fresh C’s (43-49 average boat ages) to go along with ever popular D’s (50-54) and E’s (55-59) and the ever expanding (sigh), but never stale, number of F’s (60-64) and G’s (65-69) floating to the surface of the broth.

Of note were Aaron Wagner, Melissa Pailthorp, Paul Fraser and Erin Rice who were third in their heat and just missed a bronze medal in the Mixed C4 by less than 4/10ths of a second. Damn!
Other Regional tyros were Vikram Bhatwadekar, Stephan Imbriaco, Steven Littlepage and Aaron Wagner (his name needs to be mentioned again as the boy rowed 6 races on Saturday!) who qualified for a final in their Men’s D 4 and Anne Savage and Margo Newman joined Melissa and Erin in a Women’s C4 Final. Ah, youth.

While sweep racing was clearly the leitmotif for the weekend, the Andrews Bay and Corkery got their hulls wet in four quad events featuring our best in bow, Lisa Reitzes and Juliette Naylor, and very early on Sunday morning Ann Kolvenbach and Judy LaScola took the Madison Park down the course on a solid run. While some of the quads (at least the ones I was in) wimpled a bit, there was no lack of fight as evidenced in one of my favorite moments of the entire weekend when, right off the start of our Mixed E 4x race, a boat came barging into our lane. In response, our bow, Juliette, like a lioness protecting her cubs, yelled out, “You bastards North Cascades, get out of our lane!” Love it – that’s our yoga girl!.

And then there are a few special people who had an extraordinary impact on the weekend.

Mark and Andy Bolender – coxes from our own Private Baker Family of Coxes – who coaxed, cajoled, castigated and compelled us to be better and faster rowers all weekend long. Thank you so very much. Next year I am putting them in charge of managing the staff at Who’s Song and Larry’s restaurant. They would have slowed the frenetic pace of the chips and salsa guy in the bow, made the call earlier to up the Fajitas-rate and gotten the kitchen staff to swing together with the server, all leading to an improved to the table time of at least 45 minutes!

Conibear – for being such good neighbors, not just this weekend, but all year long down at the boathouse. The relationship with them continues to deepen as both clubs get to know each other better. The loading and unloading of the trailers – the toughest part of racing – went, for the most part, well, with the tiresome work being shared evenly. For the uninitiated, this is no mean feat. Then there was the mutual respect shown in the support and congratulations shared in many a race. Very heartwarming. We are friends as well as competitors.

Our coaches. Can’t do much of anything without them! Tim Vagen who stepped up, and in, to take over when Lee Kulinna left for a teaching opportunity, and Audrey Shaw who provided the boathouse with much needed continuity from one coach to another. They built upon the solid base Lee had laid down over the last couple of years and mixed in a few new elements of their own. The results of the weekend speak for themselves As Tim says, “small goals lead to big goals.” Thank you Tim and Audrey.

What a great weekend.

Go Baker!

Shown (L-R) Coach Jason Coffman, Emma Vagen (bow), Charlotte Lepp, EJ Gardiner, Sophie Boyd-Fliegel, Bella Green, Gretchen Peterson, Anika Christophersson, Margaret Seaton (stroke) and Cox Isabelle Gahard.

Shown (L-R) Coach Jason Coffman, Emma Vagen (bow), Charlotte Lepp, EJ Gardiner, Sophie Boyd-Fliegel, Bella Green, Gretchen Peterson, Anika Christophersson, Margaret Seaton (stroke) and Cox Isabelle Gahard.

Shown (L-R) Andy Bolender (cox), Alex Silva-Holland (stroke), Jackson Bramhall (3 seat), Michael Chanen (bow), and Jason Campbell (2 seat)

Shown (L-R) Andy Bolender (cox), Alex Silva-Holland (stroke), Jackson Bramhall (3 seat), Michael Chanen (bow), and Jason Campbell (2 seat)

Juniors Qualify Three Boats for National Championships

Strong Team Performance at NW Regionals

Girls Varsity 8+ and Girls Varsity 4+ Repeat as Regional Champions

The Mount Baker Junior Crew capped a strong performance at the USRowing NW Regional Championships, May 15-17, by qualifying three boats for the National Championship Regatta. Baker will send its Girls Varsity 8+, Boys Lightweight 4+ and a Boys 2- to Sarasota, FL to compete at Nationals June 12-14.

The team’s overall performance was very strong with many boats winning medals, particularly at the 2nd and 3rd Varsity levels. Both the Girl’s team and the Boy’s team finished 3rd overall with 797.5 and 647.5 points, respectively.

The Girls Varsity 8+ repeated as Regional Champions defeating a very good crew from Holy Names Academy by 3.5 seconds. The Varsity 8 is powered by seniors Margaret Seaton (stroke), Anika Christoffersson (7 seat) and Gretchen Peterson (6 seat). Team Captain Christoffersson holds the team’s all-time record for the 2K and Seaton and Peterson have rowed the 3rd and 4th fastest 2ks in team history. Coach Jason Coffman who has coached at Baker for 20 years has called this his fastest boat ever.

Members of the Girls varsity 8+ crewed the Varsity 4+ and the 2nd Varsity 4+ at Regionals where both boats repeated as Regional Champions.

The Boy’s Lightweight 4+ finished 2nd at Regionals, qualifying for Nationals. The boat is stroked by senior Alexander Silva-Holland with junior Jackson Bramhall in three seat, senior Jason Campbell in two seat and senior Michael Chanen in bow. Andy Bolender is the cox. Coach Erik Strand says that “This boat has not had much time to practice during the season and it will get much faster as we prepare for Nationals.”

The Boy’s 2- (or Pair) earned a trip to Sarasota by finishing second at Regionals. The boat is stroked by senior Yohji Curry with junior Reed Shrontz in the bow. The Pair is the most technically demanding sweep boat and one that Mount Baker seldom emphasizes in completion, so it is a real tribute to Curry and Shrontz for their strong performance. Like the Lightweight 4+ they are now getting plenty of practice time in preparation for Nationals.

To support team travel to Sarasota the Boating Advisory Council is sponsoring a Wine Tasting fundraiser, Wines of the Northwest, on Sunday, June 7th at the boathouse. The event kicks off at 6:00 PM and is open to all. So please come out to support our young athletes and bring a friend.

Windermere Cup2015



Windermere Cup 2015

May 2, 2015

Mount Baker had 3 crews accepted into the Windermere Cup this weekend. All 3 crews did great and each finished 2nd in their respective races.

The Junior Women’s Varsity 8+ finished 2nd behind a very fast junior crew out of Cincinnati with a 7 second margin between the 2 boats. The Junior Men’s 4+ finished 2nd behind Commencement Bay Rowing Club with only a 5 second margin. The Men’s 60+ 8+ also finished second behind the Ancient Mariners with an 8 second margin.
All crews rowed hard and made for very exciting races in the 29th annual Windermere Cup and opened the 2015 Boating Season with a splash. Great weather made spectating fun as crowds lined the shores of the Montlake Cut to watch crews fly through the water to the finish line.
Up next the junior crews are looking towards regionals for a chance to travel to Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida for nationals in June!

Photo Courtesy of Brentwood College, Joe Krysl

Brentwood Regatta Success!

April 24-26, 2015

This past weekend Mount Baker’s junior crew traveled to Brentwood College School in Mill Bay Canada to compete in the 45th annual Brentwood Regatta. This was an unusual regatta as it was the 1st time in 18 years that all of the scheduled events ran on time with no delays or cancellations due to weather. Mount Baker crews took advantage of the calm weather and brought home some good hardware!

104 of our junior rowers attended the regatta with exciting results. The team finished 4th overall with 1st place finishes in the Junior A 3V Men 4+, Junior A JV Men 4+, Junior A Women 4+, and Junior A JV Men 8+ and 2nd place finishes in the Junior B Novice Men 8+ and Junior A Women 8+.

A special thanks goes out to all of our parent volunteers who precooked, traveled with the team, and worked the food tent all weekend. We would not be able to do this without you all!!

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Alumni Recall Past Glories

At Crew Reunion

On Saturday, March 21st Mount Baker Crew Alumni gathered for the second Annual Crew Reunion Reception and Dinner. Over twenty five rowers, family, friends, coaches and staff came to honor the 1995 National Champion Girls 8 on the 20th anniversary of their victory. We had eight alums from the 1995 through 1998 Girls National Champions attend, in many cases with their spouses or parents.

The evening afforded our alumni the opportunity to re-connect with one another and with the boathouse. Coach Jason Coffman and Facility Supervisor Peggy Tosdal provided an enduring point of reference for our returning athletes.

After a cocktail reception and a wonderful blackened salmon dinner Coach Coffman spoke to the character, dedication and accomplishment of the 1995 squad. He related comments from the 1995 Head Girls Coach, Mary O’Brien, and showed video footage of the 1995 National Championship race. Then each of our returning champions spoke to the highs and lows of the seasons that led to their success: from painting the Montlake Cut, to travel to Cincinnati, to a brilliant performance in the Grand Final.

Special thanks to alumni dad Ken Johnson for providing video footage of the National Championship races and to all the volunteers who made this special evening possible.

We are looking forward to next year!

Mt Baker Gala 2014 187

A Dazzling Evening at the Winter Gala

Inaugural Gala and Fundraiser a Big Success

 On the evening of Sunday, December 7th Mount Baker hosted its first Winter Gala & Fundraiser. It was a dazzling evening at the boathouse with fabulous food, good cheer, an inspirational speaker and an outpouring of generosity from the some ninety guests in attendance.

Following cocktails and appetizers our guests enjoyed a performance by the Argosy Christmas Ships from the view deck. Then came a delicious dinner, topped by a scandalously rich banana and pineapple cake prepared by our own Margaret Rothchild.

After dinner we were spellbound by a presentation by Judy Rantz Willman, the daughter of the late University of Washington and Olympic Champion rower, Joe Rantz. She provided a first-hand account of life with her dad and her work with author Daniel James Brown in the development of the book, The Boys in the Boat.

Following Judy’s presentation our master of ceremonies, Chris Maccini, conducted a brief live auction highlighted by a vintage Pocock wooden sweep oar that was once used by the University of Washington and later donated to the fledgling Mount Baker program.

Thanks to the many generous guests who bid on our auction items and who “Raised Their Paddles” to support the programs at the Center. Auction proceeds totaled $34,000 and the event netted $29,800 to be used for equipment replacements and financial aid.

Special thanks to the Chair of our Auction Committee, Lacey Sommer, for designing and organizing this fabulous evening. Thanks also to members of the Committee: Margaret Rothchild; Jordan Rosenfeld; Ellie Gittelman; Scott Mogil; Heidi Tilghman and Melody Davis.

We also want to thank all who donated items for our auction, our caterer, St. Cloud’s, and our Gala volunteers. Thanks for making this such a memorable evening. Looking forward to next year.



Advisory Council Honored With Denny Award

Award Recognizes Outstanding Volunteer Stewardship

The Mount Baker Boating Advisory Council was honored as a 2014 recipient of the Denny Award. This award is made by Seattle Parks and Recreation in recognition of outstanding volunteer stewardship.

In her remarks at the award ceremony Kathy Whitman, Aquatics Manager for Seattle Parks and Recreation, noted “Since the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center opened their doors nearly 30 years ago the Mount Baker Boating Advisory Council has been standing alongside Seattle Parks and Recreation to build a successful public boating program. The Council has worked hard to reach out to and include a wide diversity of participants, including youth, adults, seniors, underserved communities and special populations.”

She noted that the Council funds scholarships to ensure that cost is not a limiting factor to participation and she recognized the Council’s outreach partnership with the George Pocock Rowing Foundation to bring teens of color to competitive rowing.

The Council was also recognized for its leading role in building a bigger boathouse, an expansion of over 5,000 square feet. The expansion has provided new space for programs, boat storage and a premier meeting venue, available through rental to the public. Over a period of ten years the Council raised $2.7 million mostly from individual donors, secured grant money and thousands of dollars of in-kind services to make the expansion feasible.

“We are very pleased to be recognized with the Denny Award and are grateful for the contributions of the many who have served on the Council over the past 30 years” said Phil Defliese, President. “This award honors their service and the many others who volunteer to make Mount Baker great.”


 New Equipment Arriving at Baker

Weights, Boat Racks, Boats!!

The Boating Advisory Council is investing in our future with several upgrades to our facility and the boats that we row and sail.

New Weight Training Equipment

We are already enjoying the use of our new weight training equipment. We purchased two new squat racks, Olympic bars, rubber coated bumper plate sets (weights), hex dumbbells and various elastic resistance bands. Under the careful guidance of Coach Audrey Shaw our rowers and on-land fitness participants are increasing their strength for the coming season.

New Boat Racks

We are installing new boat racks in the north and center bays of the Shell House. The racks have telescoping arms that allow rowers to slide the boat in and out. The system is ergonomically easy and it saves wear and tear on our boats. No more nasty rigger scratches on our hulls!

The new racks are provided by Focus Shell Rack Systems, their racks are used by many prominent collegiate programs and the US National Team, and now by Mount Baker Crew.

Three New Rowing Shells

The good folks at Pocock Racing Shells are building three new shells for us with delivery expected in January.

Leading the way is a new 8+ that is a gift from Karleen Snetsinger in memory of her uncle, the late George Corkery, Jr. This boat is a top-of-the-line hyphercarbon, wing-rigger V8 racing shell that is sized to fit our largest rowers. The new boat replaces the Carole and Jim Button. Thank you, Karleen, for your very generous and thoughtful gift.

Next is a new hyphercarbon 4X to replace the 15 year old George Corkery. Our new quad will be identical in size (a small hull) to the boat it replaces and will be dedicated George Corkery II.

We also will take delivery of a new pair/double to replace the recently sold, twenty year old Mas Fuerte.

Six New Sailboats

To upgrade our sailing fleet we just purchased six gently used Vanguard 15 sailboats. These boats replace the fleet of venerable 420s that had served as our two-handed sailboat. The new boats provide an upgrade in reliability that translates to more time on the water.


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Head of the Lake November 2, 2014

A Symphony on the Water

Rowing offers so many opportunities for suffering and so few opportunities for glory that only the most tenaciously self-reliant and self-motivated are likely to succeed at it.  And yet, at the same time, no other sport commands and rewards the complete abandonment of the self the way that rowing does . . . the team effort . . . the single, whole, unified, and beautiful symphony that a crew and motion becomes – is all that matters. Not the individual, not the self.

The Boys in the Boat

Daniel James Brown

The Mt. Baker Masters Crew (MBC) had an outstanding day last Sunday in the 33rd Head of the Lake Regatta held on Lake Washington – the largest fall regatta on the West Coast. The Men’s D-E 8+, coxed by Ruth Kimura, won it’s first gold medal in over a decade edging out the Ancient Mariners and Lake Union, and the redoubtable Women’s D-E 4+, coxed by Jennifer Stachowiak, defended their gold medal from 2013 winning another this year as they beat Willamette and Bainbridge Island in raw time on the water. The day, however, was so much more than just gold medals and individual efforts. It was, as Mr. Brown, so eloquently writes in his book, The Boys in the Boat, about the team effort – both in and out of the boats.

It started months ago with the coaches, Lee Kulinna and Audrey Shaw, laying down a solid training plan. Add to that the infusion of energy and talent from Tara Morgan’s phenomenal Learn to Row classes and you had a club of masters rowers as varied and talented as any that launched a boat from the Conibear Boathouse on Sunday. The coaches boated 30 rowers and 3 coxswains ranging in age from 80 years old – Ned Gulbran racing in a quad with an average boat age of 68! – to Taylor Matthieson, 24, who coxed a Mixed 8+ which included her mother, Nina Thornsburg. Baker entered three 8+’s, one 4+, a 4X- and a parent-child double – Larry McCann and his son Russell.

The Mixed 8+ was a savvy blend of veterans and rowers, three of whom – Victoria Molinarolo, Si Doi and Steve Littlepage – had only been rowing for a few months. They finished last, but in many ways, the result of the race couldn’t have been better. Steve Littlepage summed up the feeling in the boat, saying, “I can’t think of a better way to punctuate the five month mark in my rowing apprenticeship. Audrey’s coaching and advice, Ross {Tilghman’s} stroking and Taylor’s expert coxing made for a great baptism into Head of the Lake. All this made rowing the best thing I’ve done. I look forward to many more days behind an oar.” Complementing Steve’s experience in the boat, fellow Learn to Row alumni, Si Doi, put the race into historical perspective with her feelings that while “It would have been great to be faster, in the big picture I get verklempt just thinking of walking down the same dock as the outstanding University of Washington teams and all the greats.”

Emblematic of the depth of the squad, the gold medal winning men’s 8+ was missing two of its most experienced (and strongest) rowers, Matt Johnson and Steve Ellmann, but they didn’t miss a beat with new team members Stephan Imbriaco, David Anderson and Aaron Wagner stepping up and blending in seamlessly. The men’s margin of victory was just four seconds – less time than it takes two or three strokes to go through the water and a difference of just a few meters over a course that is 4,800 meters long. It was a case study in why every stroke counts.

When it comes to exemplifying commitment, preparation and team effort, the women’s 4+ yet again showed the way. After finishing a strong second in the Women’s D-E 8+ with a time that was 11th best out of all 26 women’s eights entered – boats averaging 27 years old to those over 60, the foursome of Lockett, Morcom, Deering and Weisman, along with coxswain Stachowiak, hot seated it out of the eight and into their boat, theSurprise, returning immediately to the water and crossing the finish line first an hour or so later.

While giving due credit to their conditioning for being able to row back to back races, the Women’s 4+ did not discount the momentum and spirit provided by the extraordinary Women’s 8+ race they had just participated in. As if channelling Daniel Brown in Boys in the Boat, coxswain Stachowiak wrote to her crew after the race, “You ladies where so solid the entire race!  I never felt the boat get heavy; you rowed together every stroke.  The boat was set, you were focused and I could tell that each one of you was digging deep in your heart to move that boat across the water as far as it could go with every single stroke, being patient on that recovery and feeling the boat move.  I could really sense the teamwork and the strength.  It was just a pleasure to see you moving on the boats ahead and then passing them.  It was so exciting.”

 What Stachowiak is describing is the experience we all long for – and work so hard for. To give oneself over to the boat, and be rewarded for it.

And lest we lose track of the entire community that is the Mt. Baker Rowing and Sailing Center, surrounding the Masters rowers amidst all the shells in the rigging area were scads of Junior boys and girls, racing in nine different races themselves. As the Masters raced, shouts from them on the shore gave an extra push to their elders on the water and congratulations from them afterwards warmed the hearts of men and women who were no longer ancient, parental type figures, but fellow rowers. Conviviality and mutual support in the rigging area and on the water also reigned with our boathouse mates, the Conibear women, as well as with many former MBC mates sprinkled among the competing boathouses.

All in all, the day of racing and its denouement at a celebration at Bent Burgers, was, to paraphrase Brown’s words, akin to a beautiful symphony of a crew becoming.


Go Baker!


Margaret Rothchild

Mount Baker to Dedicate New Rowing Shells

Saturday, November 1st 10:30 am

Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing is pleased to announce the dedication of two new rowing shells. The dedication ceremony will commence at 10:30 am on Saturday, November 1st.

We are dedicating a new 8+ to long-standing mid-morning rower Margaret Rothchild. Margaret has been an active volunteer at the Center and recently completed a three year term on the Boating Advisory Council. She and her husband, Eric, have been very generous benefactors to the Mount Baker Capital Campaign and to our Annual Fund. Their generosity has played a major role in the expansion of our facility and the modernization of our rowing fleet.

The soon to be Margaret Rothchild is a brand new Pocock C8+, a shell designed for beginners and our team of recreational rowers. It will be usable for a broad spectrum of our participants.

We will also dedicate a new-to-us Pocock K4+, a carbon fiber, wing rigger, bow coxed 4+. This is a top of the line racing shell that is sized for our Junior Girls and Lightweight Boys along with our “smallerish” adults. The new shell will replace the Cascadia, a K4+ that has been in service since 2001. Our new shell was produced in 2010. It was recently refurbished at Pocock Racing Shells and will continue the legacy with its’ new name of Cascadia II.

“The Boating Advisory Council wishes to thank all our generous donors who have made these new shell acquisitions possible,” says Phil Defliese, Council President.

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2014 Head of the Charles – October 18-19

Baker Qualifies 2 Boats for 2015

The setting might well be unparalleled in sport.  A venue where the most accomplished in their field compete alongside very dedicated, but less experienced athletes; the best in the world rubbing shoulders with club athletes. It is like shooting hoops on the same basketball court as LeBron James or juggling on a soccer pitch with Lionel Messi. It is where, as boats are warming up eastwards, composite boats of World and Olympic champions are racing westward at 38 strokes a minute toward the finish line. Boats called nothing less than the “Great Sculling 8+” and the “Great Sweep 8+,” each with an elite rower from a different county in every seat, are only a few yards away – close enough to hear and feel the power of their boat. It is where, no matter what your pedigree, you run the same bridge mantra in your head during the race – “B.U., River St., Western, Weeks, Anderson” and then pull like hell on starboard going into Eliot. This is the Head of the Charles Regatta – the other fall classic – held on the waters of the Charles River over the weekend of October 18th and 19th between the banks of Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This year, the 50th running of the regatta attracted thousands of competitors from close to 800 clubs from around the world.  Amongst those boats and crews were three boats, two coxes and twelverowers coached by Lee Kulinna from Mt. Baker. The Senior Masters Women’s 4+, having finished in the top half of their event in 2013, had the distinction of being invited back this year. TheSenior Masters Men’s 4+ had the good fortune of coming in through the 2014 lottery and the third boat, the Men’s 4x, working on their karma points, donated their way into the Director’sChallenge race, a fundraising event benefitting the HOCR’s permanent endowment.

Over the two days of racing, where the weather was as variable as it was beautiful, the two 4+ line-ups put in strong performances on Saturday. The Woman’s 4+ (Nancy Lockett, Becky Morcom,Maura Deering, Karen Weisman) coxed by Andy Bolender finished 15th out of 54 entries. The Men’s 4+ (Sam Skrivan, Joel Massmann, Steve Ellman, Pat Opalka), coxed by Andy’s youngerbrother Hudson, completed the serpentine three mile course 21st out of 54 shells. Both results were excellent enough to earn an automatic invitation to next year’s HOCR – the reward for months of preparation.  On Sunday, the Men’s Quad (Phil Defliese, Doug Ostergaard, Tom Moore, Jordan Rosenfeld) looking snappy in a new kit of white jerseys with blue stripes, fought through windsof 15 miles an hour on Sunday to finish 32nd out of 36 boats.

Reflecting on the weekend, the race itself, lasting around the time of a solid 5K piece done on a rainy, cold Seattle morning in the boathouse, seems to be, paradoxically for some competitors, often the the least memorable. As Master’s rower and second-year HOCR competitor Karen Weisman put it, “The best part of the weekend is walking along the course, close enough to see great crews row by and see some really beautiful harmony.”  For Phil Defliese, also a veteran of the Charles, a lyrical moment was “Sitting in the starting queue, enjoying the sun splashed vista of the Boston skyline, the gold dome of the State House gleaming and thinking of what it has taken to get here. Thinking it was worth it all.”  Warming up for his race, first timer Tom Moore felt a little bit out of body as he looked around, struggling to keep a silly grin off his face, as he realized that he was actually here, on the Charles, after years of hearing so much about it.  For others it was feeling the strength of the drive, being one with the boat, the goose-bump-inducing cheers from the banks and bridges during the race, and warm hugs of friends and family after.

Such is the experience of the Head of the Charles, where the preparation provided by the coaches is taken to heart by the rowers and applied on the water. Where complete trust is given to the coxswains and fleet guidance received. Where the sacrifice, support and inspiration of the  entire club, is honored by boats rowing hard, and the meed rightly accorded to those who are asked back to do it all over again next year.

Go Baker!


Thanks to Your Support

2014 Annual Fund Smashes Records

We raised $41,800!

Through the generosity of 112 individual contributors the 2014 Annual Fund raised an all-time high $41,800 to support the rowing and sailing programs at Mount Baker. The amount raised represents a 38% increase from last year.

“We are very pleased that over 100 individuals have joined the Annual Fund this year” says Phil Defliese, President of the Boating Advisory Council. “Thanks to their very generous support of the Annual Fund we will be able to address our financial aid needs and to continue our aggressive campaign to upgrade our rowing and sailing equipment.”

“We just took delivery of a new Pocock 8+ to replace the 20 year old Alice Henderson and we have a new to us Pocock 4+ to replace the 13 year old Cascadia. We also just replaced all our strength training equipment” says Defliese. “Look for more equipment upgrades very soon.”

The Annual Fund supports all Mount Baker programs through equipment renewal and financial aid. Thanks for your generous support.


Baker Masters Make a Statement on Lake Union

It used to be something special, a bit unexpected, for a Mt. Baker Masters Crew to win a medal at a regatta. While still special, after the weekend of October 4th and 5th, with back to back days of racing in the CFF 4-Miler and the 20th Anniversary of the Tail of the Lake, it is safe to say it is no longer a surprise.  Over two days, MBC medaled in every race it entered. Seven races netting 3 Golds, 3 Silvers, 2 Bronzes (one race had two MBC boats entered where they won a silver and a bronze). Gone now are the days when it was enough to hang close to the likes of Lake Union, Ancient Mariners and Conibear. Now Baker goes head to head with them and beats them on good day.

With a shift in attitude that comes from a commitment to training combined with sly coxing and strong coaching, the mindset has changed from hoping for medals to expecting them. Over the weekend, MBC did just that, producing results up and down its roster. From the enthusiasm and strength of our mixed masters boat composed of recent graduates from Learn to Row, coached by Audrey Shaw, coxed and motivated by Masters rower Lisa Reitzes, to the synergy of our standard-bearing Women’s 4+ who are headed back to the Head of the Charles for their second year, MBC Masters threw down one of its best, most consistent racing efforts ever.

A few highlights: Coach Lee Kulinna’s moment of Zen when he decided to throw the Men’s 4+ together with the Men’s Quad from the CFF 4 Miler (both heading to Boston for the HOTC) and enter them in the Tail as a Men’s 8+. The men finished 2nd, edged out of first with an age-adjusted time of less than 5 seconds by a LUC 32-year old boat. The Women’s 4X in their beloved old Corkery quad finished 1st in CFF 4 Miler. The indefatigable Women’s 4+, rowing one of their stronger races of the season, came in with a gut pleasing 3rd, finishing within (an age adjusted) striking distance of a 26-year old Pocock boat and a 28-year old LUC boat in a field of 18 competitors – a field not dissimilar to what they will face at the Head of the Charles.  Andy and Hud – the Bolender brothers! In head racing, these boys, coxing with good lines and steady nerves, single-handedly saved us 20, 30 or more seconds with a good turns around the buoys. MBC is fortunate to have their guidance. They kept us in the medals.

Our host for the weekend was the Seattle Rowing Center. Nestled amidst the trawlers and tugs in the Lake Washington Ship Canal, west of the Fremont Bridge and east of Salmon Bay, it is a unique space, one where sleek shells seek the water amidst tons of rusted iron and shipping containers.  An eclectic and awesome view of Seattle’s maritime heritage surrounded rowers warming up around the Ballard Bridge and heading east to Lake Union. Adding to the auspicious weekend was weather that was as fulgent as last year’s was stormy and grey. Out of the norm warm temperatures and calm water greeted those fortunate to race earlier in the morning before the Lake Union seaplane traffic began buzzing the boats, waking them with their pontoons. And loyal supporters were scattered strategically along the canal or at Gas Works Park and the Fremont Bridge yelling, “Go Baker” out and down to the boats.

At the end of the day, or in this case, two, as the boats were trailered, washed, re-rigged and put away, the celerity on the water gave way to a satisfied, slow exhaustion. Lying in the sun on the asphalt or lingering together over a sling, the day was broken down, the competitive melding with the communal, as rowers and coaches slowly dispersed, going their own ways, happy with the effort and the results – special, but not unexpected.

Go Baker!


Row for the Cure 2014ROC4ROC1

Rowfor the Cure 2014

Orion shining clear, an iconic crescent moon hung high over the Seattle sky and, most alluringly, city lights shimmering on calm water. How many people saw this? The anticipation of competition, rowing longer, faster, better than one ever had before. How many people felt this? Rowing for a reason, participating in something bigger than oneself, being part of a crew. How many people took up this opportunity so early on Sunday the 21st of September?

I’m not sure about the rest of Seattle, but I know the Mt. Baker Crew did. In what might have been an all-time high turnout for a race, Baker boated fifty, yes 5-0, of our finest, all coming together for a day that lived up to its auspicious early morning beginning.  With a mix of nervous energy and calm commitment, we all gathered at the trailer parked at Lake Washington Rowing Club in the pre-dawn hours. Rowers and coaches and coxswains milling around, asking questions and receiving instructions in the arcane methodology of rigging and de-rigging and the wrangling of boats. Stroke rates were discussed, muscles stretched, oars found, encouragement given, and 6K ergs remembered before “hands on” and heading out on the water to join several hundred other rowers on the welcoming waters of Lake Union and the 2014 Row for the Cure.

It was an Armada of Pink: T-Shirts, tu-tu’s, bandanas, face paint, glitter and at least one pink flamingo planted proudly, beak to wind, on the bow of a double. It was a banner day for Baker. We had three 8+’s out on the water with two of them Novice boats in their first race ever. These were the amazing 301’s, most of whom are just a year or so out from under Coach Tara Morgan’s Learn to Row tutelage. They bring an incredible energy to the boathouse and, with the guidance of a few more experienced masters in both boats, they rowed longer and harder than they ever had before – and loved it. The novice men’s boat had Dr. Paul Luu coxing with the new hipster Ross at stroke (a strategic interloper) followed powerfully by Arthur, Jerry, Bruce, Stephen, Leon, Paul, and last minute sub Erin Rice! The women’s eight was led by the Queen of Coxes, Ruth Kimura, with Sam at stroke followed felicitously by Victoria, Jennifer, Anne, Nina, Lyla, Elizabeth and Barb. And then, wait for it, there was the Novice Women’s 8+ led by Hannah Lewis, who coxed the lightweight boys 8+ to Nationals last spring.  This boat of newbies finished 2nd out of 4 entries! An excellent debut. Stroking the boat was Simone, followed by Michelle, Maggie, Denise, Barbara K., Alethea, Si and Sandy. Well done.

Joining the eights were the three boats competing at the Head of the Charles this coming October. The women’s 4+ (Andy Bolender, cox: Nancy, Becky, Maura, Karen), the men’s 4+ (Hudson Bolender, cox: Sam, Joel, Steve, Pat) and the men’s 4X (Phil, Doug, Tom, Jordan). As befits the extra erg time put in by these crews, all boats placed in the Pink, i.e., in the top three with Sam’s boat finishing 3rd out of 11 entries, Nancy’s boat 3rd out of 9 entries and Phil’s quad 2nd out of 4 squads. And it keeps getting better! There was the women’s quad with Nancy G-L, Jennifer, Juliette and Lisa bow-coxing and they finished 2nd out of 9 entries – an even more impressive feat given their need to repair a rigger on the fly –  and a second men’s 4+ raced coxed by Sachiko Yamamoto (on loan from the Juniors) who steered David, Aaron, Stephen and Jon in their first race together to a solid 6th place, just three spots back from the HOTC Men’s 4+. Bravo!

When all the racing was done, we reconvened back where we started, carried the boats out of the water, de-rigged, trailered them and brought them home where they received a well-deserved bath and gentle put-away. A kith of rowers, still somewhat high from the racing, doing what we do.

At the end of the day, thanks go, as always to our coxswains, Ruth, Paul, Hannah, Sachiko and the inestimable Bolender brothers – Andy and Hud. Also to Ross and Pat for filling in at the last minute for the un-fillable irrepressible one, the one and only Matt J., whose full recovery and fast (but not too fast) return we all look forward to. Thanks also for the erstwhile and redoubtable efforts of Maura who keeps us so very organized and all things running smoothly. Finally, thanks to our coaches, Audrey and Lee, without whom we would not have been so prepared, and not have had so much fun.

 Go Baker!



The “Skihawks” learn to row at Mount Baker

Under sunny blue skies, Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center hosted the Skihawks Racing Team for a two-hour Introduction to Rowing event. The team consists of developmentally-disabled athletes who train and compete in the Special Olympics in Alpine and Nordic skiing and snowboarding. This is the second summer that Baker has held the “Skihawks Rowing Adventure”. Building on the success of the 2013 event, Baker scheduled two dates for them this year – July 26 and August 23.

As the athletes arrived for the July row, along with their parents/caregivers and a few of the Skihawks coaches, volunteers from Baker greeted them and helped them sign in. The Baker volunteers had representation from all of the rowing programs at the boathouse and consisted of masters and junior rowers, junior parents, and coaches.

After receiving their Mount Baker t-shirt and getting checked in, lead coach Tara Morgan took them on a tour of the boathouse, then settled them on the ergs to learn the stroke. Some of the Skihawks were returners from last year’s event, and, along with Baker volunteers, helped the newcomers with their erging technique.

Following a short break, Baker volunteers assisted the ‘Hawks into their personal flotation devices, and it was time to hit the water. Filling four eights, the athletes were paired with a Baker partner to achieve a one-to-one ratio of Skihawks rowers and Baker volunteers. Four Baker coaches accompanied the eights in launches and put them through their paces. The boats took a few laps between the boathouse and the “fishing pier” about 500 meters north. Starting with rowing by pairs, then fours, then sixes, the coaches and coxswains even got their crews rowing by all eight (even if just for a few strokes!) by the end of the row.

After docking the boats safely, the ‘Hawks were eager to help put the boats and oars away. Blue ribbons were awarded all around and the event concluded with a rousing cheer: “GO SKIHAWKS!”

Mount Baker looks forward to hosting the ‘Hawks again on August 23 for their second rowing adventure.

Windermere Summer Splash comes to Green Lake August 16, 2014

Come experience the first-ever Windermere Summer Splash at Green Lake from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16!

In addition to featuring a Junior Rowing Competition and Corporate Cup regatta, the event will celebrate summer fun and healthy activities for families. There will be food vendors, children’s activities, entertainment and opportunities to experience rowing, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Windermere Summer Splash is sponsored by Windermere Real Estate in partnership with George Pocock Rowing Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation. Most activities will be located on the southwest corner of the park near the Green Lake Small Craft Center.

For more information, please visit

A group of fearless athlete from the Safeway Corporation has been training at Mount Baker and will be competing at this event. Make sure to mark your calendar and head down to Green Lake to watch the Safeway Sweeps smoke the competition out on the water!

Mount Baker Hosted a Successful Youth Sailing Milfoil Dodger Regatta

Saturday August 9, 2014

We had 27 sailors from four local clubs here at Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center on a beautiful, sunny Saturday for the Youth Milfoil Dodger Regatta. There were eight sailors from the host team, eight from Sail Sand Point, six from Seattle Yacht Club and five from Maydenbauer Yacht Club. The regatta fielded three classes, 15 racers in Optis, ten in Laser Radials and two in Full-Rigged Lasers.

Racers took to the water at 11:00 AM, just as the stiff morning breeze began to die. Those light winds left the sailors drifting in the hot sun through the first race, but the wind soon picked up and made for spirited racing for the remainder of the afternoon. Mount Baker parent volunteers grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and set out chips, salsa, orange slices, ice cold water and lemonade to refresh the sailors as they came off the water.

Results were announced, and awards and medals of participation were given out to all participants after the race in Mount Baker’s Boathouse Event Space. It was great to see such a strong showing from young local sailors and fun was had by all!

2014 Canadian Nationals

Burnaby Lake, Burnaby, British Columbia

July 19 – 20

Baker Rowers Grab 21 Medals in Canada

The Four Plus (Andy).1A hardy and committed band of 11 rowers, 1 coxswain and coach Lee Kulinna from Mount Baker pulled into the parking lot of the Burnaby Lake Rowing Center late in the muggy afternoon of July 18th for two days of competition in the 2014 Canadian Nationals. While in use since the 1920’s as a rowing venue, it wasn’t until the 1971 Canada Summer Games that the lake was dredged to create the 2,000 meter race course on a narrow oblong stretch of water ringed by
beautiful, but invasive lilly pads. The course has a definite charm to it, some of which comes from its slightly decrepit appearance. Grandstands which once were amazing viewing areas for the Summer Games remain roped off, leaving rotting benches and rusted fixtures for future investors to fix. Distance markers on the course list slightly with paint peeling and several launches have the patina of a long life. And warming up past the stake boats, rowers can look out over the lush green rushes and trees to the high rises of Burnaby and beyond.

When we arrived that Friday, the lot was already packed full of trailers stacked with hundreds of mostly small boats. There were a few competitors taking advantage of the practice time, but for the most part the space was quiet. Quite a difference from the next couple of days when there would be steady flow of boats flowing back and forth from the launch dock like ants leaving and returning to their nests.

After a steamy stuffy night in the relatively spartan quarters of the Fortius Sport and Health Lodge (where all guests were referred to as athletes!), the team awoke to a cooler, overcast Saturday, complete with a little drizzle. A day perfect for racing. Meeting us at the trailer were our boathouse buddies from Conibear and their coaches, Eleanor McElvaine and Sara Lopez.

Boats were pulled off the trailer, put onto slings and rigged. Rowers shared bananas and peanut butter, cheese and salami, rhubarb crisp and chex mix all washed down with coffee and water as the racing began. The first race for Baker – an early heat in the Men’s D-E 4+ – set the tone and introduced the recurring theme of “age adjusted results.” Coxed (2 of the) 4+ silverby Andy Bolender, the boat of Matt, Joel, Doug and Tom finished 3rd on the water, but with their AARP plus, plus age handicap, moved up to first in the heat and moved on to the final later in the day where they again finished 3rd, but moved up to 2nd to capture a silver.

After that first heat, Matt jumped directly into a boat with Janet, Paul and Lisa in the Mixed D 4x where they rowed themselves into the Final held later on in the afternoon. Matt, a most peripatetic soul, would continue this behavior – ‘jumping from one boat to another’ – for the weekend. If not in a shell racing, he could be found volunteering in a launch, on the dock or on the street heading to another venue as the club’s goodwill ambassador. He definitely covered more meters than anyone else on the team.

Continuing the yin and the yang theme of age, i.e., it giveth and taketh away, were three pairs races on Saturday. The first two were the Women’s C+ 2- where Becky/Nancy and Karen/Maura were rowing down a category in age. It was a competitive final where they raced to a hard fought and exciting 4th and 5th place finish. Their efforts (and seniority) tom & lisawere rewarded with an upgrade to 2nd and 3rd place finishes! Then taking the yang side of the yin (or is it the yin of the yang?), Matt and Joel rowed UP an age bracket in the Men’s D+ 2- and took advantage of the older boats enjoying that euphoric view where rowing with your back to the finish line truly makes sense – being in the lead from start to finish. Those memorable moments in time were, in their eyes, worth being age adjusted down to a bronze medal. The only perverse thought kicking around in Joel’s head, one peculiar to Masters’ racing, was why Matt had to be so darn young!

The next highlight of the day came with the formation of a first time composite Women’s E 8+ christened the BakerBears. The boat had Tara, Irina, Rhonda and Gail from Conibear and Becky, Maura, Karen and Nancy from Baker, with Steering by Andy (soon to be a copyrighted service of the Mount Baker Crew). In a barnburner of a race, the top three finished within seconds of each other with the BakerBears coming in second, two seconds off the lead.

Capping off this stellar day of racing was the inaugural run down the course in a single by Maura in her Woman’s D 1x. Not only did she stay upright and avoid the encroaching, crab inducing lilly pads, but she came in 3rd in her heat. Similarly, as we segue a bit into Sunday’s events, Karen added to the luster of strong first time singles racing with a clean and exhilarating run down the course in her first ever Women’s E 1x heat.

(Before heading into the rest of the racing results of Sunday, we must pause to recognize one of the yearly highlights and benefits of racing at Mount Baker: the Saturday night, all you can eat sushi event and Kingsway Sushi – pounds of great food for feasting all for $25 per person. Thanks as always to Paul for introducing us to the gastronomic event and for making it happen every year. (Think popcorn oysters, salmon sashimi and spicy tuna rolls — think Lee on the water yelling: wasabi!!)

Back to racing and the strange beast that is mixed doubles. Baker had three of these trips down the 1,000 meter course with Joel and Janet demonstrating in their race the solidity of their wedding vows of “for better or worse” as Lisa double-timed two men – Paul and Tom – exclaiming all the way that these two races were the best time she’s ever had with men in a doubles shell. A unique category indeed, those mixed doubles.

Then, in one of the premier events of the weekend, The 4 Plus (think girls rock band on water) Nancy, Becky, Maura and Karen, with Andy as always keeping the beat, screamed to a first place on the water finish in the Women’s E+ 4+ Final. However, reprising our theme for the weekend, the women graciously accepted an age-adjusted bronze behind two boats with time handicaps of 42 and 38 seconds respectively. Rounding out the day were a couple of quad races, a women’s pair and a drenching downpour – the combination of which all set all of our sites southward – towards home and warm beds and dry clothes.

And so we packed it all up and onto the trailer with a final push of teamwork and cooperation between Conibear and Baker rowers supported and guided coaches Kulinna, Lopez and McElvaine.

Heading home we crossed the Canadian border happily carrying and clanking a bucket load of undeclared precious medals – 21 total – placing in six out of a total of sixteen events entered.

Finally a special shout out goes not only to our coxing phenom, the much in demand, Andy Bolender, but also to his father/agent, aka “you have to go through me” Mark Bolender.

Well done Baker!


Mount Baker Launches the 2014 Annual Fund Campaign

Mount Baker launches the Annual Fund Campaign for 2014. Please join us to address two financial needs that are not covered either by our participation fees or funded by Seattle Parks and Recreation:

  • Financial Assistance –Your gift helps us provide Financial Assistance.

Last year we provided $10,200 of financial assistance almost exclusively to youth who would otherwise not be able to row or sail with us. As we increase our outreach we anticipate increased financial assistance needs. Please help us keep our programs affordable for all.

  • Equipment Renewal–Your gift helps to Renew Equipment.

While we have made visible progress in updating our rowing fleet, our needs remain substantial. Many of our shells are 10 years old or older and almost all of our sailboats and kayaks have been in service for over 20 years. We must replace one or two outboard motors for our launches each year. This year your donations will help us replace our oldest Eight, the 20 year old Alice Henderson.

Participation is the key to campaign success

The Annual Fund is an all programs, all hands fundraiser. So, if you or your child rows, sails or paddles at Mount Baker or if you have done so in the past we ask that you contribute at a level that is appropriate and sustainable for you and your family. You decide what is right.

All gifts, regardless of amount, are appreciated and help us support our programs. Help us grow participation by over 10% to over 100 contributors. Contributions to the Annual fund are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Thank you for a successful Big Day of Play!

Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and participants that came down to Mount Baker for Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Big Day of Play on Sunday. There were some great crowds and plenty of fun activities to keep them moving.

Big Day of Play is all about showcasing the many activities that are offered in the City of Seattle for exercise and fun.

If you were unable to make it to the event but want to learn about what activities Parks and Recreation has to offer please visit

Boys Nat 2004

Mount Baker Junior Crew Reunion and Baker Day is TOMORROW!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Come join us for a morning of racing, eating and rowing!

All Mount Baker and Conibear Athletes are welcome to join us for our traditional kick off inter-squad races finishing with a race against the coaches.  Alumni are welcome to join us too! Food will be provided by the Mt Baker Boating Advisory Council and served by our Junior Crew Parent Volunteer Group. Thank you in advance!

We are now selling tickets in the office for the alumni dinner. Call the office to register. $20 per person includes food, drinks, and an evening with old friends. Come see the new additions to Mount Baker and reminisce the good old days at Baker.

Who’s invited? All Junior Crew Alumni

This Year: Honoring the National Championship Medalists from 2004

—the National Champion Boys 4+

—the Silver Medalist Boys Lightweight 8+


Cheer (or row in) an Alumni Mixed 8+ in the Baker Day Races

“Return to Rowing” Offer

Boathouse Tours

Alumni Reception and Dinner

Women’s Masters 4+ win at Head of the Lake!

Adult Rowing 401

Congratulations to the Masters Women’s 4+ and their first place finish at the Head of the Lake this weekend. The crew consisted of Janet Walker in stroke seat, Maura Deering in 3, Karen Weisman in 2, Nancy Lockett in bow and Ruth Kimura as coxswain. These women have been working hard and dominating the race course all Fall and we look forward to see what medals they bring home this Spring!

Mount Baker had 11 other entries in the Head of the Lake this weekend to wrap up the Fall racing season. Each of the crews rowed strong and finished well.

The next three months Mount Baker crews will focus on conditioning to hit the water fit and ready for Spring season! Go Baker!

Annual Fund 2013: Last Two Weeks

Please Join Our Community of Supporters

As of September 15th the Annual Fund has raised $24,900 in support of Mount Baker Programs. With just two weeks remaining in this year’s campaign we are just $3,100 short of our goal of $28,000. Our goals are well within our grasp, but we need your help.

“All contributions, regardless of size, are greatly appreciated. Contributions from $10 on up can help us fund the many needs of our program. Please join our community of supporters “says Phil Defliese, President of the Boating Advisory Council.

The Annual Fund supports all Mount Baker programs through equipment renewal and financial aid. Contributions to the Annual Fund are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.  You may donate on-line through the Mount Baker website, Click on the “Make a Donation” button and follow the instructions. Choose “Mount Baker Annual Fund” from the drop down menu. If writing a check, make it payable to “City of Seattle” and note “Mount Baker Annual Fund” in the memo field.

Please support our Annual Fund and put the “Go” in Baker.


July 20 – 21

Burnaby Lake, BC, Canada

Baker 2013 Cascadia Team

On the weekend of July 20-21st, the Mount Baker crew was welcomed warmly by the sun and our Canadian friends to the 2013 Cascadia Masters Championship Regatta held on Burnaby Lake. Pre-race activities kicked off Friday night with an immensely popular tradition started last year by our own culinary major-domo, Paul Luu. It goes like this: the Baker rowing entourage descends upon an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant and Matt Johnson-san orders up dishes at a stroke rate of close to 38. The resulting feeding frenzy was great fun, and set up the team for a couple of days of racing against stiff competition on an intimate, lily pad-bordered course where spectators cheer their teammates mere meters from the finish line.

With one coach, one coxswain, and thirteen rowers, the Mount Baker squad was small, but motivated to build upon the solid rowing displayed at the Northwest Regionals in June. Baker’s 20 events at Cascadia comprised singles, doubles, pairs, quads and fours. Everyone competed in at least three events over the two days, with those qualifying for finals spending even more time on the water. With temperatures in the 80’s and shade at a premium, many a whiter shade of pale turned ruddy as rowers followed the early morning music of U2 reminding everyone, “It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away.” 

Highlights of the first day included brave (and dry!) performances by two rowers competing in their first singles competitions: Jordan Rosenfeld and Janet Walker rowed well, with Janet finishing second in her heat which qualified her for the final. The veteran singles racer on the team, Janet Hietter, captured her second consecutive bronze medal in the novice category. The day continued to heat up with our Men’s 4+ (Matt Johnson, Joel Massmann, Tom Moore, Ross Tilghman) coxed by Taylor Mattheisen holding off a late challenge by Boulder Community Rowing to win the race by two-tenths of a second. With the age handicap adjustment, the Baker men were knocked down to a silver medal, but the boat was pleased with its effort and commitment to win the race on the water.

Capping off the day was the Women’s C+ 2- final which was best described by one of the competitors in the event as “girls in pairs gone crazy!” The top five boats finished within seconds of each other, and four of them came from the MBRSC: two from Conibear and two from Mount Baker Crew. The race culminated in a dramatic surge at the end by the Baker boat of Karen Weisman and Nancy Lockett–both suffering from serious colds–who wheezed themselves to a bronze medal.

The racing schedule on Sunday challenged Mount Baker with a line-up of predominantly sculling events. While there were some very strong performances, particularly in the mixed doubles, Baker finished outside of any medals, but with the resolve to bring its sculling technique up a notch to a more competitive level. However, whatever disappointment there was disappeared amidst the thrill of a truly awesome race by our Women’s D+ 4+. Taking the lead at the 500-meter buoy, the Baker four—rowed by Janet Walker, Maura Deering, Karen Weisman and Nancy Lockett, and coxed by the weekend’s MVP, Taylor Mattheisen—kept pouring it on to finish ahead of Conibear, Pocock, and two Lake Union boats.

Overall, we had a great time on and off the water. There was convivial mingling amongst all the competitors, but in particular with Conibear (whose finish line record of one first, one second, and two thirds mirrored ours) and Boulder (who have vowed to come visit us for a rematch / scrimmage in the near future).

Finally, special thanks goes to Coach Lee Kulinna for his enthusiastic support and preparation for each event. His strategy, analysis and insight before and after each race were invaluable. Also, kudos to our regatta coordinator, Maura Deering; her organizational prowess not only helped ensure that all the right boats and equipment were loaded on the trailer, but that we got them on the water at the right time with the right rowers in them!

It was not until late Sunday afternoon, with the sun setting and the hay moon on the rise, that carloads of weary rowers headed back across the border toward home with sweet memories of quick catches, tasty tuna, and time shared with teammates. It was a fitting end to the sprint season, and a good launching point for the fall head racing to come.

2013 NW Masters Regional Championships 

Vancouver Lake, Vancouver, WA – June 21-23


Led by a particularly strong performance from its women rowers, the Mount Baker Crew raced long and hard against competition from over twenty West Coast clubs at this year’s NW Masters Regional Championships. With the majestic peaks of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens in full view, Vancouver Lake provided an excellent venue and calm water for hundreds of rowers to showcase their talents. Baker brought 25 rowers and eight boats ready to compete in 22 sculling and sweep events.

Highlights of the two-and-a-half days of racing included the bronze medals earned by the Women’s E 4+ (Janet Walker, Maura Deering, Karen Weisman, Nancy Lockett, and coxswain Taylor Matheissen) and Janet Hietter in her novice single race, which she ended in dramatic style by flipping her boat–reminiscent of Carl Lewis or Usain Bolt lunging across the finish line of a 100-meter dash! Just as satisfying, although no medals were won, was the gutsy performance of the Women’s E 8+ in their heat, followed by a thrilling performance in the final in which they rowed six seconds faster and missed 3rd place by less than four seconds. As a testament to depth of the women’s squad, every one of them advanced through at least one heat to race in a final, and some raced in three.

Lest you wonder about the men, they were there, and were competitive. In particular, the Men’s D 4+ stayed long and strong to defeat Lake Union and Station L in their heat on Saturday and advance to the final where they were less than three seconds away from a medal. Earlier that day, the D 8+ missed advancing to the final by just 0.68 seconds. On Sunday, the E 8+ had a great start and was in medal contention, but caught a crab after a few hundred meters and was unable to make up the lost ground. While a bit disappointed, the men—and the entire club—celebrated the women’s successes, and more importantly, the collective improvement not just in technique, but in race strategy and composure.

Much of the credit for the progress goes to new coach Lee Kulinna who helped bring the lessons learned in practice on Lake Washington to the regatta with an effective blend of pre-race strategy and post-race breakdown, as well as mantra and boat song or two thrown in for good measure. It was agreed that based on the racing done over the weekend, expectations have been raised, and coach and club are confident in our ability to improve in upcoming competitions.

So, at the end of the weekend, while some clubs might have brought home more medals, it was clear Mount Baker won hands down in several key categories: team spirit, prime real estate to pitch our tents on—complete with picnic tables serving up the best turkey chili (courtesy of chef Jordan Rosenfeld), car pools, race scheduling, hotel wrangling, Costco shopping, “Guacamole!” song singing, and convivial hanging out that could not be matched. That conviviality got off to a delicious start after Friday’s races, when Conibear joined us for a barbecue and brought with them prodigious quantities of salmon. What a treat!

Thanks to all, and on to the Cascadia Regatta!

Click here to see more photos!

Mount Baker Juniors: Impressive Performances at Nationals

Nationals Finish

Our two boys eights turned in impressive performances at the USRowing Youth National Championships held this past weekend at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, TN. The Varsity 8+ capped a very strong weekend by finishing second in the B final, placing them 8th in the nation. Our Lightweight 8+ finished fifth in the C final, placing them 17th overall.

The Varsity 8+ was crewed by: Owen Borges, stroke; Alex Ihle, 7; Charlie Gardner, 6; Yohji Curry, 5; Duncan Cock Foster, 4; August Griswold, 3; Jackson Droege, 2; Noah Mogil, bow; and Richard Yoon, cox.

The Lightweight 8+ was crewed by: Mariano Ugaz-Cano, stroke; Szu-Raj Kothari, 7; Joey Stoinski, 6; Carsten Rossen, 5; Amir Harding, 4; Yinjin Maile, 3; Jack Oberle, 2; Alexander Silva-Holland, bow; and Mitchel Schaab, cox.

The Varsity 8+ started their racing with an impressive win in Friday’s heat race. They rowed the second fastest time of the twenty two boats in their event and moved directly to a spot in Saturday’s semifinal.  A placing in the top three in the semi would secure a coveted entry into Sunday’s A or Grand Final, the ultimate race for the National Championship.

Their semifinal race was one of the most competitive races in the entire weekend with three evenly matched crews slugging it out for second or third place. As the boats hit the finish line only 0.31 seconds separated second place from fourth. That is about five feet. Unfortunately Baker came fourth in the semi, trailing Sammamish by 0.13 seconds or two feet. So, on thirteen hundredths of a second the boys were relegated to the B final race on Sunday.

In Sunday’s B Final the boys rowed strongly and finished second in a time of 6:03.86. This secured the 8th placement in the championship and capped a very strong season for a young crew composed of five sophomores and three seniors.

The Lightweight 8+ came to Oak Ridge with a very young crew featuring four sophomores, two freshman and two seniors. Coming off a third place finish in the Northwest Regional Championships our boat did not figure to be in the hunt for the National Championship. Nationals provided an opportunity to compete against the nation’s best and gain valuable experience.

In a field of twenty-two entries our lightweights progressed through the heats and repecharge races to qualify for Sunday’s C Final. They rowed a strong race and finished fifth in a time of 6:23.60. This placed them 17th in the competition.

Congratulations to all the boys who qualified and competed at the National Championships. We are very proud of your effort and accomplishments.

Mother/Daughter Row


A little delayed but finally got a chance to post the picture from our successful mother/daughter row. All the ladies who participated had a blast and can’t wait to do it again!

May Learn to Row Graduates


Also a little delayed in posting the picture of Coach Tara and her May Learn to Row graduates! These participants can now move on to 300 and 400 level rowing and stun the world with their exceptional skills. Can’t wait to see these guys in action. GO BAKER!


Boys Varsity 8+ Regional Champions
—Boys V8+ and Lightweight 8+ Head to Nationals

The Mount Baker Boys Varsity 8+ repeated as Regional Champion at the USRowing Northwest Junior Regional Regatta held at Lake Vancouver on May 18th. With a line- up that featured five sophomores and three seniors, the boys defeated Sammamish by 3.1 seconds. Pocock finished third.

This year’s Varsity Eight features two rowers from last year’s Regional Champion boat: Team Captain Charlie Gardner, six seat, and Alex Ihle, seven seat.

The Mount Baker Lightweight 8+ earned a trip to Nationals by finishing third in its event, won by Sammamish. The Baker crew was led by seniors Mariano Ugaz-Cano, stroke, and Szu-Raj Kothari, seven seat, and features two freshman and four sophomores.

Both boats culminated a spring season that saw steady improvement as the relatively young crews learned how to go fast and win. Both boats will compete in the National Championship Regatta held in Oak Ridge, TN on June 7—9.


Wine Tasting in Support of Mount Baker Junior Crew

—Friday, May 31st at Lakewood/Seward Park Community Club

The Mount Baker Boating Advisory Council and Leschi Market present a Wine Tasting in support of Junior Crew athletes traveling to the US Rowing Youth National Championships in Oak Ridge, TN.    This year Mount Baker will send eighteen athletes to the National Championship Regatta: the NW Regional Champion Boys Varsity 8+ and the Boys Varsity Lightweight 8+. Proceeds from this event will be used to defray travel expenses.

Join your friends, neighbors and fellow Mount Baker supporters for the Wine Tasting on Friday, May 31st from 6:00 to 8:30 PM. Come over to the Lakewood/Seward Park Community Club, 4916 S Angeline St, and sample some twenty select wines courtesy of Leschi Market. This event was a smash hit last year, so you will not want to miss out on the fun.

Suggested donation is $25 per person. Tickets will be available at the door or may be purchased in advance at the boathouse. Bring your friends.

Thanks for Supporting Mount Baker through GiveBig

—Annual Fund Off to a Strong Start

On Wednesday, May 15th some twenty nine donors contributed to the Mount Baker Annual Fund through the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBig event, raising $9,676.50 for our program. These generous donations will be matched in part by a soon to be announced contribution from the Seattle Foundation and its GiveBig sponsors. Thanks to our donors for their generous support and for taking advantage of the Seattle Foundation match that was available only on May 15th.

Our 2013 Annual Fund Campaign is off to a strong start largely due those who donated through GiveBig. Through Friday, May 18th we have received a total of 34 donations and have raised $12,820. “It was a very strong first week for our 2013 Annual Fund Campaign” said Council President Phil Defliese. “Many donors took advantage of the GiveBig match, jumping us out over $12,800 or 46% of this year’s goal of $28,000. We encourage all Mount Baker participants and supporters to contribute at a level that is right for them. Full participation will ensure that we hit or surpass our goal.”

The Annual Fund supports all Mount Baker programs through equipment renewal and financial aid. Contributions to the Annual Fund are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.  You may donate on-line through the Mount Baker website, Click on the “Make a Donation” button and follow the instructions. Choose “Mount Baker Annual Fund” from the drop down menu. If writing a check, make it payable to “City of Seattle” and note “Mount Baker Annual Fund” in the memo field.

Please support our Annual Fund and put the “Go” in Baker.

Photos from Opening Day

Mixed 8 in the Cut-1Stern Four-1Opening Day Mx 8+-1

Baker Fans-1Bow Four-1

Support Mount Baker Rowers at Opening Day Regatta

Come on down to the Montlake Cut this Saturday, May 4th to cheer on the three Mount Baker Crews who will race in the Opening Day Regatta. The Mount Baker adults will race in the Mixed 8+ race that starts at 10:05. This is a powerful boat with our best adult rowers in the 50+category.

Based on their strong performances at last weekend’s Brentwood Regatta the Mount BakerJunior Crew will have an eight in both the Girls and the Boys events. The Girls row at 10:49 for the Eleanor McElvaine Cup (yes, named for our coach) and the Boys compete at 10:55 for the Honebein Cup.

Our friends at the Conibear Rowing Club have two entries as well: an age 50+ eight and age 50+quadruple scull. So, our boathouse will be very well represented.

Following the Masters and Juniors races watch the University of Washington Huskies take on crews from Cornell and Dartmouth. Racing begins at 9:55 and concludes just before noon. The weather for Saturday will be warm and sunny, a once in a decade opportunity for race fans.

Wear your Mount Baker gear and stop by the Mount Baker Crew hospitality tent that will be in West Montlake Park (on the south side of the cut near the finish line) just off E. Shelby St. We will offer coffee, tea, water and breakfast pastries for Mount Baker participants, friends andfamily.

Don’t miss this opportunity to shout “Go Baker!” at the top of your lungs while our rowers “Bust a Gut in the Cut.” See you Saturday.

Mount Baker Community Rummage Sale

Saturday, May 11, 2013  10:00am – 3:00pm

Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center is participating in the Mount Baker Community Rummage Sale. All proceeds will benefit Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center.

Mt. Baker Men’s and Women’s Masters 8+ Row in San Diego

For the first time in club history, Mt. Baker sent a men’s and women’s 8+ to the San Diego Crew Classic. Held the weekend of April 6th and 7th, the Classic is the traditional opening regatta for the Spring Sprint Season. Teams from around the country bring their eights to race on Mission Bay. There were boats lined up on stretchers for a hundred yards or more. Top collegiate crews from Washington, Stanford, Virginia and Penn were there. In the Masters category, the Northwest was very well represented with Conibear, Martha’s Mom’s, Lake Union, Bainbridge and of course Mt. Baker Crew!

It was a scintillating weekend. With spouses and a coach in hand we numbered 25 and we had a fine time on the water and off. It was a little like a fantasy rowing camp. When it came to race time, we rowed hard and what we learned about our boats and ourselves during those 2,000 meters far exceeded where our boats placed.

To paraphrase the former Governor of the great state of California, “We’ll be back!”

For more information on the Classic, go to

SDCC-W8+ at the finishSDCC-M8+ mid race

Seattle rows in SDSDCC M8+ closeup

Lake Stevens Rowing – 2013 Spring Sprints


We row in Seattle, so we know not to know what to expect the weather to be on any given day.

The Saturday before the Lake Stevens Rowing Sprints, it hailed – big time. So, on Sunday, April 14th,  when Mt. Baker and a nice blend of crews from the Northwest met up on Lake Stevens, we had no idea what was going to happen on the water. Mother Nature, however, in her beneficence, knowing we had not had much time to practice our sculling technique, decided to grant us one of our three wishes: a calm and sunny day!

Mt. Baker proceeded to honor this gift with strong racing and good cheer.  We placed 1st in the Novice Women’s 2X (Fisher/Walker), 2nd in the Women’s 8+ (Weisman, Deering, Lockett,, Fisher, Walker, Sommer, Moravec, Reitzes – Kimura (cox), 2nd in the Men’s 4x (Defliese, Moore, Ostergaard, Rosenfeld) and 3rd in the Women’s 4x (Morcom, Kolvenbach, Moravec, Stachowiak).

Just as important, we cheered our mates on the water, carried oars, talked shop and hung out well together. Next stop, Opening Day for a very strong Mixed 8 and practicing for a good showing at Regionals in June.

Go Baker!


imageJordan, Phil, Tom & DougLake Steven's Mixed 2X-Doug and Jennifer

Summer Registration opens April 4, 2013

Don’t forget Summer Registration begins on April 4th for classes and programs that take place June-August!


Baker Dedicates New Boats -“Swiftsure” & “Mount Rainier”

Mount Baker dedicated its two newest boats on Saturday, March 9th during the Baker Day festivities. Junior Crew Varsity Captains Lizz Rosenfeld and Charlie Gardner (right) dedicated our new 4+ Swiftsure. Swiftsure is an Elizabethan compound name said tosignify a “swift pursuer.”

Our new boat is a Pocock Core C4+, a stern coxed 4+. The “C” hull is a comfortable, Lizz Rosenfeld and Charlie Gardnerstable boat that is ideal for rowers who are new to smaller boats. This is a boat that will be used for training and seat racing. Our boat is sized for crews who average about 175 pounds.

Adult rowers Lacey Sommer and Janet Walker (below), who led our volunteer efforts on the record-setting 2012 Silent Auction and Holiday Lounge event, dedicated our new 8+ Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier Dedication

Our new boat is a Pocock Core V8. This is a new model in Pocock’s line-up. It features the same fast, comfortable hull as the top of the line Hypercarbon V8 with increased durability.

It is constructed of carbon fiber and other composites and comes with aluminum wing riggers. Our new shell is sized for crews with average weights between 130 and 160 pounds and should be a great shell for a wide variety of rowers.

We’ll use it for both training and competition.

A Triumph of Teamwork: December’s Silent Auction

Fun, Community and Financial Success

Mount Baker’s 11th Annual Silent Auction, held on the evening of December 2nd, was a great success as a team of over 110 Baker volunteers pitched in to create a festive evening of fun and community at the Center. Under the leadership of Boating Advisory Council Member Lacey Sommer the auction team delivered a well-run event that set new standards for the quality of auction items and for financial success.

Adult rower Janet Walker led the procurement effort for the silent auction. Under her inspiration over 140 donors contributed or solicited 208 items for the auction. We had over 50 local businesses donate products or services to the auction catalog. (See listing at the end of this article.)The quality and diversity of the auction catalog delighted participants and they raised their bids to record setting levels. Many thanks to all who donated or solicited items for the auction.

Junior Crew Mom Suzie Yamamoto served as volunteer coordinator for the event. She skillfully assigned volunteers to a wide range of essential tasks before, during and after the auction. Thanks to her leadership and the legion of volunteers who stepped up we enjoyed a very successful evening. Thanks to all our volunteers including those who baked cookies, staffed the cookie, hot chocolate tables, served as Santa’s Helpers, sold raffle tickets or assisted with check-out and administration.

Gary McNeil, an adult rower endowed with the gift of the gab and a white ten-gallon cowboy hat, served as our auction emcee. His entertaining commentary spurred auction bidding to new heights.

At the conclusion of the Silent Auction it was time to greet the Christmas Ships and there was no better place to do so than in our Holiday Lounge on the second floor of the Center. There some eighty revelers were able to see and listen to the Christmas Ships performance from the comfort of our warm, dry meeting room. Thanks to adult rowers Matt Bielich and Wes Backous for preparing a delicious buffet for our guests. Adult rower and Junior Crew dad, Jordan Rosenfeld, arranged for some delightful libations for the party. Thanks to all who participated in the Holiday Lounge.

Special thanks to our Parks and Recreation Department staff, Peggy Tosdal and Gwen Maksym, for their leadership, support and patience. Peggy, the self-proclaimed “Head Elf”, once again successfully guided the swarms of volunteers who turned the boathouse inside out for the auction and then returned it to more or less normalcy.

And, yes, the event was a smashing financial success. After accounting for all direct expenses we will net just over $24,000, an increase of 50% from last year and over 20% greater than our goal.  Net proceeds will fund equipment acquisitions and provide financial aid.

Thanks for the great team effort on the Silent Auction for 2012.

Many local businesses have given generously to make our auction successful. When you frequent these places of business be sure to say thanks for their support of the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center.

Massage by Design, Des Moines               Molten Creative

ACT Theatre, Seattle                                      Mt. Baker Community Center

Amy Fay, Health Coach                                 Nena Gifts, Gallery and Vintage, Madrona

Andaluz, Columbia City                                 New Seattle Massage, University District

Aviation Training Center, Seattle                   North Star Electric, Seattle

Baby & Company, Belltown                           NWDance.Net, Westlake

Blue Highway Games, Queen Anne               Pacific Science Center, Seattle Center

Blue Ribbon Cooking, South Lake Union      Super Jock and Jill, Green Lake

BluWater Bistro, Leschi                                 The Sutor Group, Bellevue

Costal Kitchen, Capitol Hill                            Pike Brewing Company, Pike Place Market

Columbia City Bakery, Columbia City            Pocock Racing Shells, Everett

Columbia City Fitness Center,                       Pure Delights Baking Company, Mercer Island

Dean Paton, Dance instructor, Capitol Hill    Repast Bakery and Café, Baker Ridge

Feathered Friends, Seattle                             Sasquatch Books, Seattle

Fetch Doggie Daycare, Madrona                   Seattle Cat Hotel, Seattle

Fifth Ave Theatre, Seattle                               Seattle Children’s Theatre

Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle                           Seattle Seahawks

Georgetown Brewing Company                     KIRO Radio

Geraldine’s Counter, Columbia City               Seattle Sounders FC

Guesthouse, Madison Park                            Southside Community Enterprises, Seward Park

GUP Body Works, Tressa James, – Issaquah and Seattle

Hoodsport Winery, Hoodsport, WA               St. Clouds Restaurant, Madrona

Jefferson Park Golf Course, Beacon Hill       The Ruins, Seattle Cente

JL Racing, Fremont                                       Versatile Painting Co. Inc., TJ O’Bey, Beacon Hill

Leschi Mart                                                    Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney Ridge

Madison Park Physical Therapy                    Yoga Butter, Columbia City

Mioposto Café & Pizzeria, Mount Baker        Youth Theatre Northwest, Mercer Island