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Sitting down with reflection

Published on March 26th, 2021

Shirley Robertson

With the conclusion of America’s Cup 36, this month’s edition of Shirley Robertson’s Sailing Podcast sees the double Olympic gold medalist take 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 of the more amusing moments 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,” shares Read. “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 rumors circulating around the future of the Cup.

Recorded before the official announcement regarding AC37 by Emirates Team New Zealand, Read 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,” notes Read. “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.”

The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt – for further enquires, contact

Shirley Robertson OBE made history by becoming the first British woman to win Olympic Gold Medals at two consecutive Olympic Games. Shirley Robertson’s Sailing Podcast, produced and edited by Tim Butt of Vertigo Films, is available to listen on her website or via most popular podcast outlets, including iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast, and aCast.

36th America’s Cup Match Scoreboard (wins-losses)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 7-3
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA): 3-7

Advancing as the winner of the PRADA Cup, the Italian challenger faced the Kiwi defense in the best of 13 series. After the postponement due to government COVID-19 health regulations, the 36th America’s Cup Match racing schedule had two races per day planned for March 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and each day after that until the first team had won seven races.

More information:
• 36th America’s Cup details: click here.
• Complete America’s Cup coverage: click here
• Additional America’s Cup information: click here

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