Shirley Robertson OBE, Double gold medallist and TV Presenter

  Fresh boat and a new challenge for 2008
31 May 2008

Fresh boat and a new challenge for 2008

After sampling Extreme 40 sailing for the first time in 2007 Shirley will compete on the iShares Cup circuit this year aboard JPMorgan Asset Management’s boat.

Two of Shirley’s crew remain in place from last year; Fraser Brown (NZ) mainsheet trimmer and Nick Hutton (GBR) as bowman.  The new addition to the team comes in the form of America’s Cup and Farr 40 sailor Chris Main (NZ), who will be filling the position of tactician. Fraser Brown brings a wealth of multi-hull experience to the team having sailed onboard the Extreme 40’s since 2006. He was part of the winning crew during the Oryx Quest Round the World Race, and holds five world records from his time onboard maxi multi-hulls Cheyenne and Maiden II, including breaking the Jules Verne record in 2004.

Two times British National Match Racing Champion Nick Hutton is the youngest of the crew at just 26 years old. His other notable achievements include winning the World Student Match Racing Championships in 2000. This will be the second season racing Extreme 40s for this extreme sports junkie, who lists kite boarding as his number one hobby away from the sailing world! The latest addition on the team is New Zealander Chris Main. Chris brings a range of experience with him from two America’s Cup campaigns. He was prominent in the after-guard as tune-up helmsman and tactician for Japan’s Nippon Challenge in 2000, and then as a grinder onboard Britain’s Team GBR Challenge during the 2000 America’s Cup. He has enjoyed recent success on the Farr 40 circuit taking the Key West regatta in 2006.

After a taster of the Extreme 40 events last summer, JPMorgan Asset Management was keen to continue in the class. Shirley was their first choice of skipper. “We had great success at Skandia Cowes Week and Amsterdam last year. It was a chance to test the water so to speak, and Shirley proved that she has the ability to compete against the best in the world on these boats.We are looking forward to a great circuit”. Campbell Fleming, JPMorgan Asset Management, Head of UK Business.

A total of nine teams have signed up for the five stop European iShares Cup circuit which begins in Lugano, Switzerland, on May 30th. In a very competitive fleet Shirley will be taking on the boys as the only female skipper. Among the competition will be America’s Cup winning skipper Alinghi’s Ed Baird, and current iShares champion Robert Greenhalgh.

“Last year was my first opportunity to race multi-hulls and it was quite a baptism of fire on occasions! They are amazing boats and I think I can easily say it is the most fun I have had yacht racing. It’s going to be a tough competition with the America’s Cup teams joining the iShares Cup circuit and having huge budgets to play with, but we have a great team and we’re looking forward to the challenge” said Shirley.

Supporting sponsors for the campaign are specialist marine clothing brand Henri Lloyd, and Volvo Car UK as the official car supplier.

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Henri Lloyd has sponsored Shirley since 1993 and will be the official clothing supplier for the campaign; the team will be competing & training in a selection of Henri Lloyd 2008 marine range, which will protect the team from the different climatic conditions that they are going to encounter during the circuit. “I have been supported by Henri Lloyd for the past 15 years, so I am thrilled that we will be working together again on my next sailing campaign” Shirley Robertson

Volvo has sponsored Shirley since 2001, and will provide a top of the range XC90 to support the team in total comfort and safety, whilst towing the support RIB across the five stop European circuit. Shirley said “It’s great to have Volvo’s support in another sailing campaign; the Volvo XC90’s practicality is crucial to the amount of travelling and towing we will do and we couldn’t be in safer hands”.