I must admit, I had never heard of Shirley Robertson until I watched her this morning on CNN International's MainSail programme. At first I thought she was a regular CNN presenter, but then quickly realized she knew way too much about sailing to be a journalist. After all, how many presenters have you seen at the helm of a ridiculously large sailing yacht?
With the cutest blonde short style haircut with the greatest little bangs, Shirley commanded my attention. I've always been drawn to the fashion inspired by sailing. Maybe it's the crews in impeccable white shorts or white pants, white shirts, and the best yachting jackets ever. Or the confidence sailors exude as they navigate not only their ships spaces, but the seas in which they sail. Or the seemingly permanent perfect tan that sailors consistently keep. Hard work. Team work. Luxe locations. Beautiful boats. Fabulous fashion.
I'm including a short biography of Shirley from her official website, which I highly recommend you visit - check out the amazing photographs and press section.
Shirley Robertson is already one of the greatest female Olympic sailors in history.
Shirley started sailing at the age of 7 in a Mirror Miracle on Loch Ard in the Trossachs in Scotland. By the late 1990s she had won silver medals at the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Europe World Championships. Her excellent form continued into the Millennium Olympic Games in Sydney.
Following her success in 2000, Shirley turned her attentions to a new challenge. In 2001 she switched to the new Yngling class and her team finished 14th at the World Championships. Over the next two years they improved rapidly, finishing third at the 2002 Olympic Test Event and winning the 2003 Pre-Olympic regatta. This new direction was rewarded with Shirley’s historical second Gold Medal at the Athens 2004 Olympics.
In 2005, Shirley took a year off Olympic sailing to focus on big boat sailing, a budding TV career, and as an athlete delegate to the successful London 2012 bid. She returned to the Olympic trail, for Beijing, and the quest for another gold in 2008, with new crew mates, Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor.
However, the team narrowly missed out on gold at the World Championships in Caiscais in July last year. In September 2007 the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) made the difficult decision to select Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson as the British Olympic choice for the Ynging in Beijing.
Shirley was the only female skipper who completed the 5 race series of the iShares Cup 2008 at the helm of the JPMorgan Asset Management Extreme 40. Successfully she won the first event on the circuit in Lugano (Switzerland) and finished in 6th position overall.
Although Shirley was not competing on the water in Beijing, she still had ringside seats to all the action as she took up a new role as a BBC Olympic sailing commentator. Her role with the Olympics continues through her involvement with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Sport Advisory Group.
In 2009 Shirley was announced as skipper of Team iShares for the 2009 ishares Cup Extreme 40 Sailing Series.
Shirley continues to present CNN's monthly sailing TV programme "Main Sail".