The most successful helm in RC44 history, Chris Bake has been a dominant force on the RC44 Championship Tour since its inception in 2007. The secret behind his incredible seven tour crowns is undoubtedly his passion for the racing and his unyielding crew that return year-after-year to defend their crown. We caught up with Bake to find out what motivates him.
My first memory of sailing is with my father and brother in a very early form of a Hobie Cat. It wasn’t until I was I was around 12, when I started school in England, that I learnt how to sail properly in a two-person one-design Lark.
Every day is a different challenge on the RC44, my attitude is to learn how to handle the boat and learn how to handle myself, it’s a great exercise in self-control. Racing is intense, it requires focus and although it is completely different being at the helm of the boat compared to being at the head of a company it has some similarities too. Teamwork, respect for each other, listening to opinions, but also being decisive when it matters.
My crew in three words? That would have to be committed, fun and hard-working. Our success in the fleet over the last nine years has been down to these guys.
There are a lot of people that I respect in sailing today but it’s the likes of Shackleton and Captain Cook that really inspire me. How they navigated the places they went with none of the equipment and electronics we have today – I have a huge amount of respect for them.
Racing is my way of unwinding, it’s so different to what I do day-to-day. The focus and commitment it takes means you can’t think about anything else.
Over the last nine years, we’ve race in so many great places, Austria comes to mind as a favourite for racing on a lake and the stunning backdrop. We’ve had some great racing in Sweden and the Caribbean has been phenomenal. But in terms of the challenge, I think racing on the Solent in the UK has to be up there, between tides and shifts and variability; it’s certainly a memorable one.
Outside of the RC44, I would like to do some more long distance sailing. I would like to sail more for adventure, around the cape and cruising in New Zealand or Australia as I’ve never really been around there.