Steve Baker, the designer and builder of Phantom Boats, has passed away.
Baker’s sports boat building company that was based in Sittingbourne, Kent produced over 1000 hulls from 1970 to 2001.
The boats that ranged from 16′ upwards were sold all over the world for pleasure and racing.
Mike Mantle navigated Bentley’s Oyster Bar, a Phantom 26′ to victory in the 1980 London Calais London race, he commented on the sad news:
Steve Baker was a great designer and builder, he didn’t want to farm poultry like his father so started building for the Ski racing and offshore Class 3 racers.
I raced against Steve many times – Always a gentleman!
Nick Barsch enjoyed much success racing Phantom hulls in the British Offshore Circuit Racing series and worked with Baker on the 19′ hull, he posted on social media:
What a loss, a true gentleman.
One of those rare people that could not only design amazing boats but also was an incredible craftsman.
Despite all the success, he remained so modest.
British offshore racer, Paul Sinclair campaigned Phantom hulls in the 1970’s and 80’s, he posted:
He was great racer.
He only stopped racing because he felt beating his customers was bad for business – What a professional.
Phantom Boats were built so well that many of the original hulls that were manufactured by Baker are still in use today.
Since the closure of Phantom Boats and Steve Baker’s retirement, some of the original moulds have been used to produce variants of the original design which have included RIBs and stepped boats.
The original Phantom hulls have also been copied by other builders around the world which has caused controversy over the years, but as Oscar Wilde said, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness’.