Douglas Baker and his wife Irena on Lago Maggiore. “In some ways rowing is the excuse to travel”

canottaggio_FISA_Tour_Baker“In some ways rowing is the excuse to travel”. Douglas Baker is coming to Lago Maggiore for the 2015 FISA World Rowing Tour with his wife Irena. From USA to Italy for tourism and culture as well: a big opportunity to meet new people.

Can you tell me something about your passion for rowing (quote when and where you started your activity, important results you think are important to stress)?
“When my wife, Irena, and I moved to Seattle over 20 years ago we bought a house overlooking a large lake. In the afternoon I saw many rowing shells row past our house so we investigated. About a kilometer away was a rowing club with programs for all ages. We joined the club and have been members ever since”.

What is your job and how old are you?
“I am a retired engineer and I am 62 years old”.

Can you describe the place where you generally row and your club?
“We live across the street from Lake Washington which is in the heart of Seattle. The lake is 27k long by 6k wide. The lake is used only for recreational boating.
The club has a large program for high school students as well as a masters program for adults. We row from 5:30am to 7:30am. Last saturday we had 4 eights on the water. We participate in regattas in the region and usually send a few boats to the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston each year. Our oldest rower is over 80 years old”.

Is Lake Maggiore your first FISA World Rowing Tour?
“My wife and I attended the Buenos Aires tour and followed that with the Belgium tour and the Ireland tour. We have also participated in a few private tours”.

Is this your first time in Italy?
“My wife is a native of Croatia so over the years we have found ourselves in Italy in transit as well as touring the country. We visited Venice on our honeymoon 32 years ago”.

After/before arriving on Lake Maggiore for FISA World Rowing Tour will you visit other places in Italy?
“We will spend a few days in Milan before the tour and then head back to Seattle since it is a busy time of year for us. Irena will be in Croatia for a week before the tour visiting family and friends”.

How do you imagine your FISA World Rowing Tour on Lake Maggiore? What do you expect?
“I haven’t investigated the venue. I like to be surprised. But when I mention Lake Maggiore to friends they always ooh and ahh! They say it is beautiful so I look forward to the trip very much”.

How much do you train to row for 180 km in a week?
“My rowing club is focused on racing so we practice 4 days a week with two hour sessions each”. 

How important is it to find time for tourism and culture as well?
“The tourism and culture is the added benefit of tour rowing. In some ways rowing is the excuse to travel, see new things and meet different and interesting people from all over the world. It is a wonderful opportunity to mix with like minded people from all over. It has always been a positive experience”.

If you would like to add something, you are free to write it here!
“Last September we were scheduled to attend the Danube tour. However, we had to cancel  because I developed a painful condition in my neck that was so extreme I eventually had to have surgery. I am happy to say the surgery was very successful. I have been rowing more and harder than ever and I have resumed racing; something I had not done for years”.