Money manager Philip Baker spent Boxing Day in the race of his life. Literally.
Mr. Baker was part of the 24-member crew of the Zana, the fourth boat past the finish line in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The 628-nautical-mile race from Sydney to Hobart, Australia, is one of the biggest events on the world yachting calendar, attracting as many as 700,000 spectators. The race, which started on Dec. 26, can last as long as three days, depending on conditions. The weather was exceptionally cooperative this year and the winner of the race, Wild Oats XI, completed the journey in one day, 18 hours and 10 minutes, shattering the previous course record by more than an hour.
Mr. Baker is managing partner with alternatives manager Lakeshore Group of Cos. Ltd., Chicago, which is co-sponsoring the Zana, along with the boat's main sponsor, Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. Mr. Baker has been sailing for 29 years, but only on fresh water.
"Let's just say this is an extreme jump for me when it comes to sailing," Mr. Baker said, adding that he trained intensively for months to be ready for potentially grueling conditions. Mr. Baker also had to renew his life-saving and sea rescue qualifications and pass a survival course. Given that in past years, as many as a dozen participants have died in the course of a single race, Mr. Baker said he was taking the dangers seriously.