On watch with Richard Baggett

Published 01/10/2020

As one of UKSA’s longest serving members of staff, Richard’s calm and reassuring presence, along with his innate skills on the water and his instructional style are legendary with staff and students alike.

With over 200,000 miles and 10 ocean crossings in his logbook, you’re in safe hands on watch with Richard!

  • Name: Richard Baggett
  • Position: Yachting Manager
  • Qualifications: Yachtmaster Ocean, Yachtmaster Examiner & Cruising Instructor Trainer
  • Years at UKSA: 22 Years

Describe your role in ten words:

Manage quality of training and safety, mentoring students, and staff

Who inspires you?

I take inspiration from many people in life, from the young people struggling with illness that I have worked with whilst volunteering for the Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust, to professionals that are competent in their field and can inspire others around them.

How do you define success?

Success for me is helping people develop their life skills to become a better person and realise their full potential.

How long have you been working in the yachting industry?

34 Years. I started working on an oyster fishing boat out of Wootton Creek when I was 14 and did a season teaching dinghy sailing to beginners in a small school also at Wootton. From here I decided I wanted to work on the water and never looked back. I did an YTS scheme (similar to an apprenticeship) and was placed at an activity centre in Scotland, living in a caravan with no cooking facilities, being paid £28 a week, which was challenging at 16 years old. I spent the season learning how to run sessions in river rafting, kayaking, parascending, ATV’s, jet skis, water skiing, dinghy sailing and keel boating. I then moved to a yachting school in Southampton where I cleaned a lot of bilges, learnt how to maintain yachts, did all my RYA Yachting qualifications achieving my Yachtmaster Offshore at 18.

From here I started running corporate race charters, teaching, doing deliveries and taking part in the Fastnet race before leaving to join Square sail in Bristol. This was a great experience restoring the rigging, working 120 ft in the air every day, splicing, serving, varnishing all the old traditional skills. I also spent a year sailing on 160ft Barkentine, at which point the recession kicked in and I was laid off. I then moved into the Superyacht world and secured a deckhand job on Gucci’s 60m 3 masted staysail schooner, Creole, which we cruised and raced in the Mediterranean for 3 years. Following on from here I worked on a 115 ft two masted Gaff schooner as Mate doing charters in the med and Caribbean. It was at this point that I made the decision to return to the UK, firstly to start a family and secondly to pursue work in training on smaller yachts, I wanted to be more involved in developing people. I then worked for Ondeck sailing out of Southampton briefly, before starting work at UKSA and the rest is history.

What is your most memorable moment on the water?

I have loads of memorable times on the water but some highlights are starting the round the world voyage from Plymouth on Gipsy Moth IV, racing against large classic yachts such as the J class yachts in various regattas in the med and Caribbean, racing 150 ft yacht Windrose across the Atlantic, sailing 160ft square riggers and having family holidays on our 28ft Falmouth workboat.

How long have you been working at UKSA? (include here other jobs you have done at UKSA if appropriate)

I have worked at UKSA for 22 years. My neighbour was the then Assistant Director at UKSA, which was very much starting the Yachtmaster fast track concept. We got talking over the fence, as you do, and he offered me a role at UKSA. At the time I did not want to go to sea as my wife and I were starting a new family, so I took on the role of Fleet Maintenance Manager, which I did for about 6 years. I then got involved with the restoration and subsequent round the world project with Gipsy Moth IV and got the sailing bug back, which is when I moved into a yachting management role, which I have been doing ever since.

What is the best thing about working at UKSA?

The best thing about UKSA is definitely the people. It is a very inspirational place to work and everyone wants to be here and see our students succeed.

What advice would you give someone embarking upon a Yachting Course at UKSA?

My advice would be to know what you want to get out of it, decide who you want to be and go for it. The courses are really intensive and can be a struggle for some, but you have all the support available to you, so make sure you ask for help.

What is your favourite thing to do when you get some time off?

Spend time with my family, socialise, go sailing, fishing, reading.