Shirley Robertson OBE, Double gold medallist and TV Presenter

  ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2010
16 November 2010

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2010


Tim (the very smartly dressed cameraman) and I had a fast turn round from meeting Sidney Gavignet in Gibraltar to attending the the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards in Athens. The event will feature in the December’s CNN MAINSAIL show, but I can reveal the winners now:

  • Spanish windsurfing legend Blanca Manchon won the female award
  • Australia’s Tom Slingsby won the mens award

I had never really spent much time with Blanca, but she really is a star not just on the race course. In true TV fashion we kidnapped her and took her on a tour of the old city, she is engaging, mature and instantly loveable; she talked of her first Olympics; Athens, still a school girl, wide eyed and naive but realising at the time that this is what she wanted to do. It reminded me so much of my first games many years before in Barcelona, when I breathed in everything an Olympics had to offer, I was hooked.  My Athens was a very different story to Blanca’s I was all about performance, so it was a joy to be back in the beautiful city, more relaxed, exploring, this time with my eyes open.

We would have kidnapped Tom too but he didn’t make it, an electrical storm in Sydney meant his flight was cancelled, although he has to collect the watch in person! I interviewed Tom at the Laser worlds this year which he dominated, he is also very impressive, a true ambassador for the sport, his country and an exceptional talent winning the Etchell worlds and the Farr 40 Europeans as well this year, there’s a lot more to come from him  I am certain of that.

I won this award in 2000 in my home country, I can close my eyes and still feel the excitement. It means a lot to the athletes and shouldn’t be underestimated, everyone wants to win this much coveted award, and to be respected internationally by those in your sport is really something.