Little by little Baldwin will sail faster

Slowly Baldwin built a career in headhunting in the remote resorts of the ultra-luxury island, but she also managed to add a cheesecake export business, shortly after moving in 2004 from New Jersey to Antigua. On or off the water, she is hard to keep, but having a choice, she prefers to swim.

The 73-year-old Baldwin and the 40-foot racing sloop Liquid, J / 122 she owns, have more than once won races on sailing boats in the Caribbean, receiving big wins and Caribbean Boat of the Year awards. Next on the island is the most exotic of them, Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille, in which she has participated four times with Liquid, including won the total in 2019.

The next conversation was compressed and edited.

What is the secret to the success of the Liquid team?

No secret. We work harder. On race day we will be on the water a few hours before the start. We study the wind. We do maneuvers; make sure we have our moves down. There may be one or two other boats doing the same. Eventually other people appear and they all want to win. How much do you want it?

There are also investments. This is a yacht race.

Many boat owners have a lot of money, but that’s not all. I put everything in the boat and then think about how to get dinner.

You probably mean this as an exaggeration, which is quite true.

True enough.

Few boat owners choose or manage their team the way you do. Tell me more.

I have a young crew. There is a core that has been with me for a long time. We raise others, teach them to be professionals, help them find a place in the world.

We had Olympians in the crew, and every year a new young crew member appears. Now I have a 16-year-old teenager, six feet tall, Malik Charles, but I call him a ninja. All six feet of it fell on top of me as I spun the spinnaker shift [hauling the large nylon sail into the forepeak at the bow] and he almost broke my nose. The kid couldn’t help but apologize. I always cry when they leave, and someday it will.

You have a reputation for relentless competition. Is that fair?

I’m 73. I work as hard as anyone on a boat. Bodybuilding is one of my sports. Now I am starting a business in longevity resorts because there is a market for health and longevity.

This is different [statement of] luxury. I’m at the center of this market because I don’t want to stop racing. And I do not compromise. When I bought Liquid, I was sorting and snatching everything that added weight and didn’t help the boat go fast. The toilet seat cover had to go, of course.

As a boat owner, you also have a reputation for playing hard. Is it deserved?

Ask my friends.

28-year-old Julian White defeated Liquid in 2019 at St. Barthelemy. What does it bring?

Jules is as good as his results show and I don’t pay him as much as other people.

You won the Caribbean Sailing Prize in 2020 – again – because you were already well involved in three regattas when the pandemic stopped. How “normal” is it?

We are always present. In 2018, the Caribbean 600 [600 miles around 11 islands] got bad weather. All the way we were wet and cold, living on dried frozen food. There were rescue helicopters around us, but we were done.

That year Liquid was named as the best boat in the Caribbean. But there is probably no reason to expect a tumultuous voyage in the Forest. Veil de Saint-Barth?

I love St. Barth. This is our highlight of the season. Les Voiles is unlike any other regatta. The island feels like Europe. It’s so chic. If I spoke French, I would have moved there.

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