Shirley Robertson OBE, Double gold medallist and TV Presenter

  An unusual and memorable summer
8 October 2010

An unusual and memorable summer

It’s been a very unusual summer for me, for the past three decades when Europe warmed up I would have rolled from one competition to another only really pausing to wash my clothes. This summer I raced only twice, but I have perhaps learned more about the sport than ever before.

I helmed Peter Harrisons rather impressive Sojana at the Super yacht Cup in Palma and raced at the Extreme 40 Worlds in Slovenia. I loved both, for sure absence from the sport makes you appreciate it more, but being at the wheel of 150 yacht with a crew of 20 plus takes some beating and some concentration, we did ok, I didn’t crash, Peter did warn me “I know you have two gold medals but this is a very large boat”. Sojana is a beautifully thought out craft and I loved being part of a large team that works well together.


Slovenia was fun too, a new country! That doesn’t happen very often. Portoroz is a gorgeous little coastal town, the people incredibly friendly although in the 42-degree heat wave we had during the event they did seem to have a penchant for naked sunbathing on their boats………rather distracting on an Extreme 40.

I also took my children sailing for the first time; they fought to get their hands on the tiller………chip off the old block!

But my most memorable moments from these summers’ events have been whilst working in my TV role.

Being onboard the Super yacht Saplerton when one of the crew was badly hurt in an accident, I will remember forever. We spent a week with the permanent crew before the accident filming them trying to understand what it takes to run a Super yacht, we had really begun to get to know them, but their calm proficiency in a life threatening crisis, opened my eyes, true professionals that’s what it takes to run a Super yacht.

Standing just behind Ben Ainslie at a Match racing event in Marstrand, Sweden, I was taken aback by just how good he is, his accuracy of execution his quickness of mind, his aggression, and its no wonder he wins rather a lot. …. The boy will go far!

Cowes Week 2010Cowes week – a reminder of just how much fun it is.

Sail for Gold
and the Laser Worlds for BBC Sport – New faces winning, one thing Britain has that cant be underestimated is depth of talent. Giles Scott winning at Sail for Gold in the Finn, Ed Wright then victorious at the Finn worlds 2 weeks later. Nick Thompson Silver at the Laser Worlds. All very personable, very dedicated and very good. There is a whole new generation hungry for 2012; it will be very interesting to watch the drama unfold.

The Little Americas Cup in Newport made me cry, watch September’s CNN Mainsail for an emotional roller coaster, I wont spill the beans it will spoil the story. Fabulously bright and passionate people, we expected beards and socks with sandals but the characters we met were a surprise, truly engaging. We weren’t the only international interest there watching. Every big name in the Americas Cup seemed to stop by for a look.

Little Americas Cup 2010
Russell Coutts announced on Monday 13th September that he hoped to attract the “facebook generation not the Flintstone generation” to the future Americas Cup with the introduction of Multihull with wings, I loved the technology of the C Class Cats and I loved the ride…scale that up to 72 feet and he just might have a point.

October’s CNN Mainsail comes from the Maxi’s in Sardinia, can’t say too much but there was plenty of drama, and I spend some time with one of the all time characters of the sport, Bill Koch.

Shirley x