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  • As the sailing world comes to terms with the withdrawal symptoms brought about by the conclusion of AC36, Shirley Robertson takes one final look back at the three months of Cup action with co-commentator Kenny Read. Throughout this single episode extra edition of the podcast, there are also appearances from Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Pete Burling, Luna Rossa's co-helm pair of Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni, and an exclusive chat with INEOS TEAM UK front man, now representing the AC37 official Challenger of Record, Sir Ben Ainslie.

    Commentating at his third America's Cup, North Sails President Kenny Read joins Robertson to talk through their experiences from three months in New Zealand, including some insight into the broadcasting of AC36. They discuss the winning differences between the Defender and the Challenger, but also reveal some amusing moments from three months spent living in the sailing obsessed city of Auckland...:

    "I walk around the corner and there's a guy standing there with his shirt sleeves cut off, it's about ten thirty at night, and he's got a Burling tattoo on his bicep, he's a big guy, with a big bicep, and I lean over and say 'Is that temporary?' and he goes "Hell no mate, this is the real thing!" and he flexes! The passion!! He has a BIG Pete Burling tattoo on his bicep! So, you know what, this passion is what we want to see behind the curtain, inside Team New Zealand, because it's there!"

    The pair discuss the passion and culture they've experienced while working in Auckland as well as the differences between the two teams of AC36. They look at the personalities involved, and go through some of the rumours circulating around the future of the Cup. Recorded before the official announcement regarding AC37 by Emirates Team New Zealand, Reed and Robertson look at what they already know, and discuss the new AC75 Class and how they have matched up to the foiling classes of previous Cups. And they also talk about how the end of the Cup usually then signals the start of the transfer season for both sailing and back room Cup staff...:

    "This is a professional sporting event right, and free agency just started at about 6:05 last night. You don't think there's phone calls being made to key players right now, then you're dreaming! Do you think the Italians will be back...? I would imagine they would love to be back, but back to what? You have to preface by saying nobody knows where, when, how or what. And until that happens, I know the New York Yacht Club, they're sitting there saying 'show me the rules and I'll let you know if I'm gonna come."

    Robertson ends the podcast by talking to INEOS TEAM UK skipper Sir Ben Ainslie, fresh from the announcement that the team will be the Challenger of Record for the next edition. Amongst other things, Ainslie reveals his thoughts on the declared intention to commit to the retention of the fully foiling mono hull, the AC75, for AC37 and beyond...:

    "The fact that we're committing to the AC75 Class is a massive boost for the Cup, I'd like to see that class committed to for the next ten years or more. One of the most successful Cups we've seen in the modern history of the Cup was in Valencia with version five of the IACC Class, so sticking to the AC75 Class is really key for the short to medium term future of the Cup."

    Ainslie's interview with Robertson concludes this edition, which marks the end of Season Two of the successful Sailing Podcast. After a short one month break, Season Three will see the podcast return with a host of new interviews lined up from some of the biggest names in the sport.

    "Since July 2019 we've published thirty eight episodes of the podcast, at an edition a month for almost two years, that's well over forty hours of audio posted, with interviews from the biggest names across the massive spectrum of ou

  • With the final races of the 36th America's Cup Match now just moments away, Shirley Robertson previews the action in another two part podcast from the heart of the action in Auckland New Zealand.

    In this edition, Part 2 of the Cup Preview, Robertson looks back on the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series with fellow broadcast commentator and one time America's Cup helm Kenny Read.  The pair discuss the performance of the three Challengers, before being joined by special guest, David 'Freddie' Carr.  Freddie, a one time Extreme 40 team mate of Robertson's, is the lynch pin of the INEOS TEAM UK grinding unit, and still sore from the Prada Cup Final exit, is candid and honest as he talks about the performance of the successful defender, Luna Rossa, but also about the British team's rollercoaster Challenger Series as they bounced back from serious hardware issue heading into the regatta...:

    "It was phenomenally hard, for the design team, they realised there was a problem that was going on with the boat, with the foils, we had a problem with what was going on with the boat and we had to figure out what was the problem.  We had about a week to figure out how to sail this modified boat.  As soon as we put the boat back in the water, after the designers figured out the problem, we knew we were back in the game!"

    Freddie talks honestly about the teams turn around of fortune, before moving on to the loss to Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.  Carr discusses how he thinks the Cup Match may pan out, beofre leaving Robertson and Read to go over their thoughts on the upcoming action.

    As a preview to the upcoming first to seven wins regatta, it's an insightful hour of chat to take in before racing resumes out on the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.

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  • With the final races of the 36th America's Cup Match now just moments away, Shirley Robertson previews the action in another two part podcast from the heart of the action in Auckland New, Zealand.

    The two part podcast kicks off with an interview with the port side helm of the successful Challenger, the AC36 Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa's Francesco Bruni.  Bruni has been at the forefront of the Italian team's significant improvements in performance over this campaign, and is both realistic and candid as he discusses their Prada Cup success.  He attributes much of that success to the calm and level head of co-helm, Jimmy Spithill, and is both respectful and hopeful when quizzed about their Cup opponents, Emirates Team New Zealand.

    "We know they've ben pushing a lot their package for speed, they have small foils, a small rudder, sometimes they lose control a bit because of that.  They are not unbeatable I think but they will definitely be hard opponents to be sure. And they have experience, their whole campaign, package , people, experience I think is the biggest asset they have."

    Following on from the discussion with Bruni, Robertson talks to Emirates Team New Zealand super coach Ray Davies.  Davies is a mastermind of the new world of Cup racing, and has been a proud member of the Kiwi outfit for almost two decades.  The gossip around the harbour side in Auckland of late has been of the team's sensational speeds out on the water and Davies is quick to dispel any chat that the team are anything but race ready.  While the Challengers have all been fighting out against each other, the Defender has been clocking up the training miles out in the Hauraki Gulf, and as competition draws near, Davies is clear on how pleased he is with the team's progress...:

    "We just get more comfortable all the time now, sailing in breeze.  With these type of boats you get a little nervous when you hit that fifty knot mark, but now it's just standard but once you get comfortable with that, you're just looking for more and more.  The guys are doing an incredible job, sailing the boat, but once you know the limits of the boat and the boat's working well then you can just push harder and harder."

    Both Bruni and Davies discuss their thoughts on their respective opponents, their thoughts on how the racing has been to date, and how and where the match may be won and lost.  Ahead of the first to seven wins match, it's an insightful listen to augment enjoyment of the upcoming broadcast.

  • This month's edition of Shirley Robertson's Sailing Podcast sees the double Olympic gold medallist talking to one of the current stars of the 36th America's Cup, as she chats with British INEOS TEAM UK tactician, Olympic Gold medallist and multiple world champion in the Finn Class, Giles Scott.

    At just thirty four years old, Scott is already sailing in his third Cup Challenger Series campaign, and has become a pivotal part of Sir Ben Ainslie's after guard.  During racing, discussions between the pair on board the British boat 'Britannia' are available for all to hear on the live broadcasts of the event, and reveal an understanding and relationship that spans over two decades.

    In the first part of this two part podcast, Scott discusses his early days of sailing, and how a move to the Finn Class saw him campaigning with Ainslie in the build up to the 2008 Olympics in China.  Three years later, at just twenty four, Scott was a dominant force in the Finn, but describes the bitter disappointment of  missing out on a London 2012, as Ainslie took the British Finn spot in their home Olympic Games.  It was a set back that would forge within Scott an even greater resolve.  By Rio his domination of the Finn Class was absolute, and his relief at finally clinching the Olympic gold medal was there for all to see as he sailed to victory in Brazil with a day of racing to spare...:

    "I always got a lot of grief in the build up to Rio because I was a boring winner, I'd never celebrate, I'd never give them the amazing photo, or, you know, I'd always just give it the thumbs up but  the reason I did that was because it wasn't the one that I wanted.  So the out roar of winning in Rio was, it was a big release of all that tension, emotion, I kind of, had done what I'd aimed at, yeah, it was a good moment."

    Part one of this edition covers much of Scott's Olympic career, as he remains in hopeful preparation for the postponed Tokyo Games of 2021,  but in Part two, chat turns to the America's Cup, and the British team's goal of winning the Cup back for the first time in it's one hundred and seventy year history.

  • This month's edition of Shirley Robertson's Sailing Podcast sees the double Olympic gold medallist talking to one of the current stars of the 36th America's Cup, as she chats with British INEOS TEAM UK tactician, Olympic Gold medallist and multiple world champion in the Finn Class, Giles Scott.

    At just thirty four years old, Scott is already sailing in his third Cup Challenger Series campaign, and has become a pivotal part of Sir Ben Ainslie's after guard.  During racing, discussions between the pair on board the British boat 'Britannia' are available for all to hear on the live broadcasts of the event, and reveal an understanding and relationship that spans over two decades.

    Part one of this edition covers much of Scott's Olympic career, as he remains in hopeful preparation for the postponed Tokyo Games of 2021,  but in Part two, chat turns to the America's Cup, and the British team's goal of winning the Cup back for the first time in it's one hundred and seventy year history.

    This episode of the podcast turns to Scott's America's Cup career, as he talks though his early days in the Cup with the Luna Rossa team of the AC34 campaign, before moving on to his time with Ainslie's AC35 LandRoverBAR team, and the campaign in Bermuda.

    Much of the chat here though is of course about AC36, the Cup here and Auckland, as the pair talk through the problematic opening World Series races, the Team's dramatic turn around in form and the up-coming Prada Cup Final match with Luna Rossa. Robertson and Scott discuss the Team's unbeaten run in the Round Robins of the Prada Cup, but they also reflect on whether American Challenger, American Magic's capsize has effected the approach of the other teams racing.

    "These boats are extreme, they're set up on a knife edge and if you want them to be faster you go closer to that knife edge, and that's the way that we race them, we have to to because we want them to be as fast as they can be, so yeah, you're never ever that far away from a bit of a 'whoopsie'."

    Scott's onboard relationship with Ainslie, the team's crew set up and specifically Scott's hybrid role as tactician - come - offside - pilot has so far proved successful in the shifty winds of this Auckland race course, but in discussion with Robertson, it's a success that Scott is typically modest about...:

    "Of course Ben wants the right information coming to him and is unforgiving because like me, he wants to win races, like all of us in the team, and racing these boats is pretty high pressured and it's not the most relaxing thing to do, although at times, when things are going well, from the comms it almost does sound relaxing but it isn't.   So yeah, I think, I just want to nail every piece of information that I give, make sure it's as fact based as I can make it  and that we're hedging the right way and responding to the competitor in the right way."

    The Prada Cup Final kicks off on February 13th and will see Scott's INEOS TEAM UK race against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in a first-to-seven-wins final to decide the Challenger for the 36th America's Cup.

  • In Part 2 of this month's Edition, Robertson then sits down with three key players from the Challengers themselves, kicking things off with American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson.  The only team to have beaten all three of the other teams in the December racing here in Auckland, American Magic put in a solid performance pre Christmas, although Hutchinson was quick to point out that they still didn't win the regatta.  He did however reveal how happy the team were to be back out on the water mixing it up with their rivals...:

    "Andrew Campbell commented that for the last eighteen months our simulator and our VPP have driven us to sail the boat in a different way and we're learning how to sail the boat around how these tools have taught us to sail the boat, and they're quite good, quite exciting, and yet it just hits you right in the face that all this equipment that you have is good, but it's not real life, and so we have to get back on the water and do it in real life."

    From Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, Robertson talks to helm Francesco 'Checco' Bruni, unique in the Cup in that he is co-helm of the Italian boat with Australian Jimmy Spithill.  Bruni starts by reflecting on the team's performance during the December races...:

    "We definitely felt we were very strong in the light wind and missing something in the stronger wind so our focus obviously is to work on that weakness, but we knew already that all our components for that period of the racing would have been good in the lighter wind."

    Robertson's third chat is with a returning podcast guest, Sir Ben Ainslie, Team Principal and helm of British challenger INEOS TEAM UK.  The British boat suffered performance issues during the December racing, at times struggling to get up onto the foils in the lighter airs.  Forthright and pragmatic in the press conferences that followed racing, sitting down with Robertson for the podcast, a determined Ben Ainslie was hopeful that his team would be able to become more and more of a threat over the running of the Prada Cup.

    "You can certainly change your measurement certificate through the Prada Cup through the different rounds....and also how you sail the boat and set the boat up.  So I think you'll see a lot of improvements through the Prada Cup, and whoever gets through, we're certainly going to have to push each other hard for that Challenger to give the Kiwis a race, because right now they're head and shoulders above the three other teams and we've really got to up our game to be competitive against them."

    The Prada Cup kicks off on January 15th with a series of round robin heats that will decide one finalist and two semi finalists.  The end of January will see a first-to-four-wins semi final, and then from 13th to 22nd February the two finalists will sail in a first-to-seven-wins final to decide the Challenger for the 36th America's Cup.

    This edition of the podcast is in two parts and is available to listen to via the podcast page of Shirley’s own website, at www.shirleyrobertson.com/podcast or via most popular podcast outlets, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and aCast. The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt - for further enquires, please contact podcast@shirleyrobertson.com 

  • With the eyes of the sailing world focused firmly on the waters of Auckland, Shirley Robertson is in New Zealand to preview the Challenger Selection Series for the 36th America's Cup.

    Pre-Christmas racing is now over, so this month's two part edition of Shirley Robertson's Sailing Podcast looks forward to the next instalment of America's Cup racing, the Prada Cup.

     In Part 1 of this Edition, Robertson talks to her fellow Broadcast Commentators at the Cup, as Kenny Read and Nathan Outteridge discuss all they have seen in the World Series racing to date, and weigh up the strengths of each of the three Challengers as the Prada Cup draws near.  The trio dissect the performance of the three teams to date, look at where each team may be able to improve and discuss some of the design differences apparent in each of the Challenger set ups.

    The Prada Cup kicks off on January 15th with a series of round robin heats that will decide one finalist and two semi finalists.  The end of January will see a first-to-four-wins semi final, and then from 13th to 22nd February the two finalists will sail in a first-to-seven-wins final to decide the Challenger for the 36th America's Cup.

    This edition of the podcast is in two parts and is available to listen to via the podcast page of Shirley’s own website, at www.shirleyrobertson.com/podcast or via most popular podcast outlets, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and aCast. The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt - for further enquires, please contact podcast@shirleyrobertson.com 

  • The worlds of offshore sailing and unbridled adventure meet head to head in this month's edition of Shirley Robertson's Sailing Podcast, as the two time Olympic gold medallist talks face to face with legendary American Whitbread skipper and off the grid sailing expedition pioneer Skip Novak.

    Today, Novak is known throughout the sailing world as the go to man for sailing led polar exploration.  For over three decades he has been running his famous "Pelagic' exploration yachts and is a man with much to say about his career exploring at high latitude, a passion that first came to him while racing around the planet in his first of four Whitbread Round the World Yacht Races.

    Part Two of this podcast sees the pair pick up with more Whitbread revelations, including Novak's telling of the tragedy surrounding his 1989 Whitbread campaign as skipper of 'Fazisi', the first ever Soviet team entry into the iconic round the world race, that happened to see the crew racing around the planet while at home, the collapse of the Iron Curtain was bringing in wide sweeping changes to Gorbachev's Soviet Union.  

    Throughout this edition of the podcast, Novak's accounts of his time spent racing around the planet make for compulsive listening, he's a man that's written many a book about his ocean adventures, and his impressive story telling is on show for all to see here, as he dips into a vast memory bank of over four decades of ocean adventure.

    The final segment in this edition sees the pair turn to Novak's love of exploration, as he reveals his love of the polar regions, the growth of his expedition operation 'Pelagic' and how he has turned the endeavour into a successful global business.  He discusses what makes the perfect exploration vessel, and reveals how his love of climbing and life in the mountains has dove tailed perfectly with his thirst for polar adventure.

  • The worlds of offshore sailing and unbridled adventure meet head to head in this month's edition of Shirley Robertson's Sailing Podcast, as the two time Olympic gold medallist talks face to face with legendary American Whitbread skipper and off the grid sailing expedition pioneer Skip Novak.

    Today, Novak is known throughout the sailing world as the go to man for sailing led polar exploration.  For over three decades he has been running his famous "Pelagic' exploration yachts and is a man with much to say about his career exploring at high latitude, a passion that first came to him while racing around the planet in his first of four Whitbread Round the World Yacht Races.

    "Not many people know this but as navigator I used to 'tweak' the course every now and again, saying 'we need to head up ten' only to see these places and come a little bit closer to get a view, something you wouldn't do today, but I loved to see these mountainous places coming up out of the mist and fog, and blowing like hell, and there was wildlife, seals jumping all over the place, and penguins, and I thought 'I have to go there one day, I have to see these places, and step on shore'".

    That first Whitbread adventure took place in 1977, as the navigator onboard second place finisher 'King's Legend', but perhaps his most famous Whitbread entry was also one of the race's more unusual.

    By 1985 British pop sensations Duran Duran were widely acknowledged as one of the decade's biggest super groups.  A platinum album, world wide tours, Rolling Stone magazine covers, Grammy Awards, number ones either side of the Atlantic, the band had become a global phenomenon.

    However, their meteoric rise to stardom had totally passed by a busy Skip Novak, but the global success of Simon Le Bon and his band were about to impact heavily on Novak's sailing career. Having unsuccessfully trawled the boardrooms of corporate America for sponsorship, Novak's Whitbread future looked uncertain, but a phone call from the eighties pop ensemble very quickly changed everything.  It's an amusing tale, a story of how Novak was soon skippering the most famous band of the eighties around the world in a seventy seven foot maxi the band christened 'Drum'.

    "We stuck (the hull) in the water and towed it across to Cowes, and we were all down below, Simon (Le Bon) came down for this of course, and we were all down below and somebody said 'Simon, what are we gonna call this thing, what are we gonna name it Simon', and he banged on the hull, and the whole hull reverberated like this and he said 'Let's call it Drum' and that's how that happened." 

    Duran Duran front man Simon Le Bon makes a guest appearance in Part 1 of this podcast, talking to Robertson about the band's exploits onboard 'Drum'.  Before the Whitbread itself had even started, Novak, Le Bon and the crew had already taken an unwelcome visit to the front pages of the world's tabloid press, following a catastrophic capsize in the 1985 edition of the Fastnet Race.  Novak's eloquent and dramatic account of the incident is typical of his laid back but descriptive style, "I got out as the water was pouring in through the hatch, I was like a salmon trying to swim upstream, the deck was coming down on top of me, I grabbed the rail and it went 'bang', like a coffin had shut!".  The tales that follow are as amusing as they are compelling, and leave the listener pondering on whether such an oddball pairing of financial backing and sporting endeavour could ever possibly be beaten.

  • The world renowned Vendee Globe, the non-stop solo lap of the planet, is the topic of this month's podcast, as Shirley Robertson talks to five soon to depart skippers and one IMOCA designer in this two part Vendee Globe extravaganza.

    In Part 1 Robertson has already talked to Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss - 5th Vendee Start) and Clarisse Cremer (Banque Populaire x - 1st Vendee Start) as well as world renowned naval architect Juan K about the progression of the IMOCA Class, and the use of foils through out much of this edition's fleet.

    In this Part, Robertson catches up with long time friend and previous podcast guest Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur), as she prepares for her third Vendee attempt.   Sam finished fourth at her first Vendee back in 2009 but four years later suffered a cruel dismasting after just five days at sea.  This time around, she's racing in another of the retro fit foilers, and is confident, after a well thought out build up to the race.  As a French resident, she's also perfectly placed to explain just how big the race is in France.

    "The Vendee is huge in France, its a race and a competition but it's not just that, it's huge, all the schools follow the Vendee Globe while it's happening.  Maybe the reason why it's so huge is because it's so simple at the same time as being so hard, and such an extreme event because it's just one person on a boat sailing around the world non stop without assistance."

    In this part Robertson also talks to the impressive Charlie Dalin (Apivia), about taking on the race for the first time, and how his skills as a naval architect helped finesse his new generation foiling machine.  And Robertson talks to the first ever German entrant into the race, the very experienced Boris Herrmann, (SeaExplorer Yacht Club de Monacco) 

  • The world renowned Vendee Globe, the non-stop solo lap of the planet, is the topic of this month's podcast, as Shirley Robertson talks to five soon to depart skippers and one IMOCA designer in this two part Vendee Globe extravaganza.

    The podcast kicks off with Vendee Globe veteran Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), about to cross the start line of the legendary race for an unprecedented fifth time.  Thomson's record in the race holds true to the gruelling fifty percent attrition rate that has seen him finish the lap of the planet twice from four attempts.  Thomson is well known in the offshore sailing world for running an impressive campaign with long term sponsor Hugo Boss, each of his attempts has seen him race one of the newest boats in the fleet, and this time around is no exception.  His new 60ft IMOCA was one of the last to be launched and sits at the forefront of offshore evolution, utilising a state of the art set of foils and progressive hull design.

    "Hugo Boss is for us the culmination of nearly twenty years and with this boat we felt we had the confidence to make some bold decisions that perhaps we wouldn't have made before.  So this time we were very bold and I'm as happy as Larry you know.  The feeling of these things going along, you've got the traditional sound of a boat going through the water and sometimes you feel yourself fully in the air, it's an odd felling to be on a monohull where you physically feel the acceleration, it's been a massive change since I first started."

    This year's edition sees thirty three entrants attempting the solo non stop charge around the globe, with a fleet that for the first time sees foiling mono hulls outnumber the non-foilers.  Nineteen of the fleet boast foils, the design of which vary significantly.  The favourites are very much the newest designs, the eight second generation foilers built and designed after the finish of the last Vendee, which saw the first foiling monohulls taking part in this race.  As with the rest of the sport, the evolution in offshore foiling has been fast, and the results are stunning.  World renowned naval architect Juan Kouyoumdjian has two brand new boats in this edition, and in his interview here provides a revealing insight into the design processes that go into a new generation IMOCA...

    "The first page of the rule book, rule 101 I think it is, says 'everything that is not explicitly forbidden is therefore allowed' so you look at that and you think 'this is my favourite book you know.'  But there's so many compromises to be done because the best theoretical boat is probably the opposite of what a single handed guy needs to go around the world."

    Juan K goes on to discuss the fleet, the performance gains that the new foils have brought, and how these gains may effect the level of racing as the fleet charge south down the Atlantic and into the Southern Ocean.

    Robertson also talks to three Vendee Globe rookies across the two podcast editions, in Part 1 talking to rising French star Clarisse Cremer (Banque Populaire X) about her campaign sailing for the team that won the last edition of the race with Armel Le Cleac'h.

    In Part 2 Robertson talks to the impressive Charlie Dalin (Apivia), about taking on the race for the first time, and how his skills as a naval architect helped finesse his new generation foiling machine.  And Robertson talks to the first ever German entrant into the race, the very experienced Boris Herrmann, (SeaExplorer Yacht Club de Monaco). Robertson also talks to long time friend and one time team mate Sam Davies, as she prepares to take on the Vendee for the third time.

  • Shirley Robertson talks through an amazing sailing career with one of the sport's pioneers of professional sailing, the legendary Tracy Edwards.  Edwards is well known as the force behind the first ever all female crew to complete the gruelling Whitbread Round the World Race of the 1980s, a wonderful story that Edwards and Robertson discuss in Part 1 of this pair of podcasts.

    In this Part 2 of the interview, the pair start by talking about the recent documentary film released in 2019, about Edwards and her 1989 Maiden crew.  After discussing the film themselves, Robertson talks briefly with Alex Holmes of New Black Films, the Director of Maiden, about the inspiration behind the project, and the making pf the documentary.

    Moving on from the Whitbread, Robertson then talks to Edwards about her all female attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy after she bought the record holding multihull "ENZA", renaming her Maiden 2.  A broken mast stopped their attempt, off the coast of Chile.  Edwards' imagination was fired by the potential of racing multihulls, and she went on to establish the Oryx Quest around the world race, starting and finishing in Oman.  It was ground breaking race, attracting four of the word's biggest multihulls of the time.  But financially for Edwards, it was a disaster, a fact that she and Robertson discuss as she looks back on how the traumatic time effected her and her confidence.

    The pair also discuss Edwards' current project, running the inspiring Maiden Factor, a foundation using a now fully restored 'Maiden' to raise awareness and funding for girls' education around the world.  Inevitably Edwards and Robertson look back on the thirty years since Edwards finished the Whitbread and discuss how opportunities for women in the sport have changed as a result.  It's not a very positive conclusion as they reflect on how, despite all of Edwards' accomplishments and efforts, the sport still remains a very male orientated environment.

    "I don't think we've done ourselves any favours with getting women to the top and...at the top of our sport there's a group of men paying lip service to...equality.  It's not hapening, I find it incredibly frustrating that I'm having the same conversations with young women that I was having thirty five years ago....You know, when World Sailing is making decisions, women need to be there and I know often they are not, so lots of changes have to happen."

  • Shirley Robertson talks to one of professional sailings real pioneers as she sits down with Whitbread Round the World trail blazer Tracy Edwards.

    Edwards is best known for leading the first ever all female crew in the 1989-90 edition of the race, a feat she took on at the age of just twenty seven, as skipper of the famous 'Maiden'.  Having raced as a cook onboard 'Atlantic Privateer' in the previous edition of the famous race around the planet, as one of just four women in a fleet of over two hundred sailors, she resolved to do whatever it would take to start the race with a crew of her own.

    "There was no way that a woman could have been on any of those boats as crew. Knowing that these guys who are my friends on shore, but when we get out to sea think that I'm an idiot, I'm not strong enough, I'm not able enough.  I remember the first storm we went through, Paul Standbridge, who's a great mate of mine, as i started coming out of the hatch he put his boot on top of my head and said 'it's no place for girls up on deck right now.'  My reasoning wasn't feminism, girl power or anything like that, and I knew that no man was going to let me navigate on his boat."

    Tracy Edwards onboard her restored yacht 'Maiden'

    The hurdles and barriers at times seemed insurmountable, and Edwards is not reserved in recounting stories of how the male dominated establishment failed to respect her team's efforts to get to the start line.  Tales of outrageous sexism abound as Edwards looks back on the build up to the race, but it's also very refreshing to listen to Edwards' motivations, which came from a drive and focus born from a mix of supreme confidence and an angry reaction to here male detractors.

    The race went well, Maiden won two legs in their division, and finished second overall, experiencing an unprecedented, and unexpected welcome back to their home port in Southampton, England, a finish that Edwards looks back on with a lot of emotion."It was , it was just so extraordinary.  At sunrise we saw the Needles, which is such a beautiful sight, especially when you're coming home.  And then we saw a boat, and then another boat and Nancy (Hill) said 'I wonder if there's a regatta on today?'.  More and more and more came, they reckon there was six hundred boats in the Solent following us.  I remember at one point Sally (Creaser) saying to me 'do you think there's someone more important behind us!' "

    The story of Edwards 'Maiden' team has been made into a  documentary, a hit across the film festival circuit and at the box office, in 2019. In Part 2 of this podcast, Robertson also talks to New Black Films director Alex Homes about making the film, and gathering all the footage to create what has become a new edition to the list of must see sailing films.  Edwards and Robertson then go onto to chat about the rest of Edwards' remarkable career in sailing.

  • Part 2 of double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson's chat with America's Cup Hall of Fame inductee Grant Simmer.  Currently in the role of CEO at British Cup hopefuls INEOS TEAM UK, Simmer is into his eleventh Cup campaign, a remarkable feat for a man who's relationship with the oldest trophy in world sport goes back to 1983.

    As a twenty six year old, Simmer sailed as navigator onboard Australia II in the 26th America's Cup, and was a vital part of John Bertrand's afterguard in the Cup that finally put an and to the longest winning streak in world sport.  For one hundred and thirty two years the New York Yacht Club had successfully defended twenty four challenges to the Cup, but Alan Bond's team onboard Australia II finally managed to uproot the trophy and take it back to Australia, to a hero's welcome.  Simmer's memories of this time are a remarkable glimpse into what was one of the most historically significant moments in International sport.

    "When we heard that the Prime Minister of Australia was essentially calling a holiday because we'd won this event, everybody was just shocked by the magnitude of what we'd done.  I remember thinking 'Wow!  He called a holiday!  What's that all about,,,?  We had the ticker tape parade in Perth, it was quite a big deal."

    Post AC26 Simmer initially returned to work as an engineer, but was back working with John Bertrand for the 1995 Cup in San Diego.  As design coordinator, Simmer was responsible for the build of One Australia's Cup boat, but the outcome of their race against New Zealand in the Challenger Series would become Cup legend.

    "It was quite rough and choppy and there was some debate whether we'd race because it was so windy and I'd been arguing we should race so we can find out what would break.  The engineers were a bit nervous, but we raced and famously the boat buckled in the sheerline and broke in half and sank."

    Simmer's stories from throughout his Cup career are illuminating, and provide a wonderful insight into  a life spent chasing one of the most illusive trophies in world sport.  From his campaigns with Swiss team Alinghi, through his relationship with Russell Coutts and his time spent campaigning with Oracle Team USA, Grant Simmer has played a pivotal role in the modern America's Cup era, and has an almost unparalleled place in the sport.

    The pair finish their revealing chat by looking to the future, and the rapidly approaching America's Cup in Auckland, as Simmer discusses his role with Ben Ainslie's Cup team INEOS, and how he hopes his decades of Cup experience will help the British team finally win the the Cup back for a nation that haven't held it since it's very first regatta one hundred and sixty nine years ago..

    "I am confident that we've made some good decisions, over the past year particularly, so making good decisions at the right time in the campaign is important.  Continuing to learn is important and not to be too proud of your decisions, but to understand why other people have made decisions, technically.  I always say if you run out money and time at the same time, then you've manage the campaign perfectly."

  • Sitting in the hot seat this month for Part One of his chat with double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson is America's Cup Hall of Fame inductee Grant Simmer.  Currently in the role of CEO at British Cup hopefuls INEOS TEAM UK, Simmer is into his eleventh Cup campaign, a remarkable feat for a man who's relationship with the oldest trophy in world sport goes back to 1983.

    As a twenty six year old, Simmer sailed as navigator onboard Australia II in the 26th America's Cup, and was a vital part of John Bertrand's afterguard in the Cup that finally put an and to the longest winning streak in world sport.  For one hundred and thirty two years the New York Yacht Club had successfully defended twenty four challenges to the Cup, but Alan Bond's team onboard Australia II finally managed to uproot the trophy and take it back to Australia, to a hero's welcome.  Simmer's memories of this time are a remarkable glimpse into what was one of the most historically significant moments in International sport.

    "When we heard that the Prime Minister of Australia was essentially calling a holiday because we'd won this event, everybody was just shocked by the magnitude of what we'd done.  I remember thinking 'Wow!  He called a holiday!  What's that all about,,,?  We had the ticker tape parade in Perth, it was quite a big deal."

    Post AC26 Simmer initially returned to work as an engineer, but was back working with John Bertrand for the 1995 Cup in San Diego.  As design coordinator, Simmer was responsible for the build of One Australia's Cup boat, but the outcome of their race against New Zealand in the Challenger Series would become Cup legend.

    "It was quite rough and choppy and there was some debate whether we'd race because it was so windy and I'd been arguing we should race so we can find out what would break.  The engineers were a bit nervous, but we raced and famously the boat buckled in the sheerline and broke in half and sank."

    Simmer's stories from throughout his Cup career are illuminating, and provide a wonderful insight into  a life spent chasing one of the most illusive trophies in world sport.  From his campaigns with Swiss team Alinghi, through his relationship with Russell Coutts and his time spent campaigning with Oracle Team USA, Grant Simmer has played a pivotal role in the modern America's Cup era, and has an almost unparalleled place in the sport.

    The pair finish their revealing chat by looking to the future, and the rapidly approaching America's Cup in Auckland, as Simmer discusses his role with Ben Ainslie's Cup team INEOS, and how he hopes his decades of Cup experience will help the British team finally win the the Cup back for a nation that haven't held it since it's very first regatta one hundred and sixty nine years ago..

    "I am confident that we've made some good decisions, over the past year particularly, so making good decisions at the right time in the campaign is important.  Continuing to learn is important and not to be too proud of your decisions, but to understand why other people have made decisions, technically.  I always say if you run out money and time at the same time, then you've manage the campaign perfectly."

  • Part 2 of this month's Podcast sees double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson go back to her sailing roots as she talks about success and failure with three very different multiple Olympic medallists. T

    This edition kicks off with one of the podcast's most requested interviews, as Shirley discusses the remarkable Olympic history with reigning NACRA 17 Olympic champion Santiago Lange of Argentina.  Santi discuses the delay in the Games, and how the postponement is effecting his build up, before delving into that incredible Olympic history.  Lange has competed at six Olympics, Tokyo will be his seventh campaign, but it was his gold medal win in Rio that is perhaps the most remarkable of Olympic success stories.

    Just a year before the Olympic Regatta, Lange was diagnosed with lung cancer, and underwent surgery that put his Olympic dreams in severe doubt, but still managed to sail to victory in what was one of the most popular medal wins of all time.

    It wasn't until 1988, at the Korea Games, that sailing held it's first ever dedicated Women's Class, sailed in the 470 dinghy.  In dramatic and challenging conditions, it was American Lynne Jewel Shore and her helm Allison Jolly that took the win, claiming the only gold medal for an otherwise disappointed US Sailing Team.  In her interview with Robertson, Lynne reflects fondly of a rigorous and intense build up to the Games, as the duo tried to prepare for the treacherous Korean conditions...

    "I can't watch the footage, I look at it and I think 'what the heck were we doing out there', it really was dangerous conditions, it was crazy.  I went there feeling very comfortable and confident that we had done everything we could to be prepared for the moment."

    Three of Robertson's interviewees have had their Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaigns completely disrupted by the postponement of the Games to 2021.  The podcast wraps up with defending 49er Olympic Champion Blair Tuke, discussing how the postponement allows full concentration on the defence of the America's Cup, and talks about the logistics of running simultaneous Cup and Games campaigns.  He delves into his partnership with Pete Burling, how the pair won silver in London 2012, and then didnt lose another regatta, all the way through to claiming gold in Rio by an unprecedented Olympic points margin.

  • This month double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson goes back to her sailing roots as she talks about success and failure with six very different multiple Olympic medallists. The interviews span fifty two years of Olympic competition, feature a total of twelve medals, seven gold, and include some of the biggest names in Olympic Sailing.

    The two part podcast kicks off with London 2012 Laser gold medallist Tom Slingsby, and his emotional account of how the surprise of failure in Beijing 2008 drove him to the top of the podium four years later in London.  Slingsby's is a fascinating account, starting with his memories of how, while watching Sydney 2000, he resolved to one day stand atop the Olympic podium.

    "I'm not the most athletically gifted person, when I started training and sailing I was not a good junior sailor, before the Sydney Olympics, before I dedicated myself to it I finished 61st at the Radial Nationals in 1999, I was mediocre, but I said 'I love this sport, I wanna do it and I'm gonna train and put in the work' and I just felt like a regular kid, I just loved it and dedicated myself to it."

    British 470 Women's Olympic Champion Hannah Mills tells how disruptive a postponed Olympics has been, having decided to return to defend her crown after her win in Rio 2016.

    Mills goes on to reveal to Robertson how the relative disappointment of a silver medal at her home Games in London 2012 really fuelled the determination for herself and crew Saskia Clarke, as they resolved to go the distance one last time together, in a bid to go one better and win in Rio.  Mills discusses the Rio regatta, and what finally winning Olympic gold with her best friend meant to the pair as they began to realise their achievement.

    From the amateur Olympic era of the 1960s and 70s Robertson then interviews British Olympic sailing legend Rodney Pattisson, a double Olympic gold medallist from Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972 and a silver medallist from Montreal 1976.  Pattisson sailed the Flying Dutchman Class, was a submarine officer in the Royal Navy, and is widely known as being one of the forefathers of the 'no stone unturned' approach to modern Olympic sailing.  His tales of fine tuning and optimisation while simultaneously duping his opposition are not just amusing, but also show a ruthless and dogged approach to competition, here explaining a dominant display at the Munich Games of 1972...

    "People didn't know I'd built another boat, they still thought it was the old one and I kept that a secret right up until after the Games.  It had the same name on the side of the boat, it had the same colours.  One of the things I did was that the old, slower boat had had a prang, and so there was a repair inside the boat that you could see on the varnish work, so I copied that repair and anybody that had a suspicion at all looked underneath the stern deck, knew about the collision and thought it had to be the same boat."

  • This month double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson sits down for a two part podcast chat with the first man ever to sail solo non-stop around the planet, Britain's Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.  In this, Part 2 of their discussion, the pair talk about life after the return from Sir Robin's incredible 312 day journey.

    Having completed his voyage, and cemented his place in the annals of the history of exploration, Sir Robin's competitive streak soon saw him back on the global race course, and by 1977 he was joint skipper on an entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race, where amongst his crew was a certain Peter Blake.  With the announcement of the Jules Verne Trophy, Knox-Johnston and Blake went on to famously form the eventual record holding team, ENZA New Zealand, breaking the established record in 1994 with a 74 day lap of the planet.


    Robertson and Knox-Johnston then discuss how a trip with British mountaineer and expedition leader Sir Chris Bonnington inspired an idea that would become the 'open to all' crewed around the world adventure, The Clipper Race.  It's a race that has been on going now for over twenty years, and is currently in it's twelfth, a fact that Sir Robin ranks as one of his greatest achievements.

    "When I look at all the lives that have benefitted from the Clipper, and the number of those sailors, forty percent of them have never been on a boat before, who have taken up sailing subsequently as their sport, to my mind that is going to rank pretty highly because there's over five thousand people now that have taken the sport up all over the world." states Sir Robin, on being asked by Robertson what he sees as his greatest contribution to the sport.

    This edition of the podcast is in two parts and is available to listen to via the podcast page of Shirley’s own website, at www.shirleyrobertson.com/podcast or via most popular podcast outlets, including iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast and aCast. The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt - for further enquires, please contact podcast@shirleyrobertson.com


  • Double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson sits down for a two part podcast chat with the first man ever to sail solo non-stop around the planet, Britain's Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

    Sir Robin completed his ground breaking voyage in April 1969, after an astonishing 312 days alone at sea.  having sailed his thirty two foot ketch 'Suhaili' thirty thousand miles around the planet.  The voyage is one of the most documented in sailing, and was part of the famous Golden Globe race, initiated by the British newspaper, The Sunday Times.  Nine entrants eventually left to compete in the Golden Globe, but Sir Robin was the only boat that finished, the physical and mental travails of the effort famously proving too much for many of the other entrants.

    Sir Robin spent much of his voyage nursing "Suhaili' around the planet, constantly running repairs as the savage effects of months in the ferocious Southern Ocean took a heavy toll.  But his trusty craft was more than a match for the brutal southern storms, and it is with deep affection that Sir Robin talks of her now.

    "She was a cracking little sea boat, a wave could wash right over and did on a few occasions, she'd just shake herself and bob back up, like a terrier really.  I built up a huge affection for Suhaili, a tremendous trust in her, she is simple, she's not complicated.  Everything's stronger than it needs to be, everything's thought through. She's very important to me, she's been part of my life since I was 23, and I've done so much with her, she's done so much for me too.  I always say any fool could get her around the world, I proved it!"

    Sir Robin Knox-Johnston onboard 'Suhaili'
    Once passed New Zealand, and into the second half of his voyage, a troublesome radio meant Sir Robin struggled to make contact with anyone to inform of his progress, and he was assumed missing until he finally signalled a ship while passing the Azores, just fifteen hundred miles from home.  News of his survival hit the front pages, and by the time he steered 'Suhaili' back into the English Channel, he was a household name in the UK.  Met by a flotilla of well wishers, the shoreline around Falmouth lined with cheering crowds,  Robin Knox-Johnston had become the first man ever to complete the ground breaking voyage.

    This edition of the podcast is in two parts and is available to listen to via the podcast page of Shirley’s own website, at www.shirleyrobertson.com/podcast or via most popular podcast outlets, including iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast and aCast. The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt - for further enquires, please contact podcast@shirleyrobertson.com 

  • The first in a two part discussion between two one time TeamGB Olympic team mates sees Shirley Robertson engaged in frank and honest discussion with Sir Ben Ainslie.

    The most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Ainslie won four golds and one silver over an Olympic career that culminated in front of thousands at his home games, London 2012.

    Standing atop the podium at the sailing venue in Weymouth, Ainslie accepted his fourth gold medal to draw the line under an Olympic career that had started as a nineteen year old in the 1996 Games in Atlanta, USA.  Throughout his early appearances on the world stage, Ainslie often found himself locked in battle with Brazilian sailing maestro Robert Scheidt, and as he recounts those early tussles to his then Team GB team mate Robertson, Ainslie's recall and attention to detail is impressive.  One false move, one sloppy tack, and against Scheidt, Olympic success could vanish.  In 1996 he fell foul of the wily Brazilian, and had to settle for silver, but four years later, as the gold medal went down to the final race again,  a determined and steadfast Ainslie sailed circles around his great adversary, in a display of control and aggression that split the sporting world.

    "If you can sail, and get into someone and it's within the rules, and that's not an easy thing to do, that's the game, in my view.  And there was quite a lot of controversy about it at the time....from Roger Bannister, he's a hero in England obviously, the first guy to break the four minute mile...and I could understand (the criticism) but it's interesting how the sport's developed.....I think maybe it was a little bit ahead of it's time."

    Sir Ben Ainslie celebrates winning Gold at London 2012 - © Rick Tomlinson Photography

    Ainslie and Robertson spent three Olympic Games as team mates, twice claiming gold at the same Games, in Sydney and Athens. Their collective recall is therefore insightful, as in this Part 1 of the podcast they unpick Ainslie's Olympic career before reminiscing on Ainslie's final Olympic triumph at London 2012...:

    "You can't really beat that can you, a home Games and being able to get a fourth gold medal in front of a home crowd, it was an incredibly special moment.  I've always liked that element of being up against it, the tougher the challenge, the more exciting it is.  It's a bit of a strange approach, you really shouldn't be looking to make life hard for yourself, but there have certainly been a few occasions where I've managed to do that, and then had that challenge and taken it on and found that rewarding in some kind of perverse way."

    Robertson's chat with Ainslie continues for a second part, in which the pair discuss Sir Ben's America's Cup career and how his team is preparing for the 36th America's Cup, in Auckland, New Zealand.