Interview with Shirley Robertson

Who are you?

My names Shirley Robertson, I’m Scottish, I have 2 gold medals, 2 children, I work in TV. I’m passionate about all things boaty.

What was your first experience of working?

Selling jeans!! Hated it, became a sailing instructor after that so I could workin in the holidays.

What is your earliest memory of being on or close to the sea?

My Dad built a boat in the garage, a small dinghy and I remember the day he launched it – and left me behind!

Who or what first attracted you to the sea?

I loved all water, we sailed on a loch, I loved swimming in it!, my Dad had a love of the sea.

What do you like most about sailing and/or being at sea?

Lots of things, I love that no two days are the same, going on an adventure, being outside, visiting some extrodinary places.

Do you have a favourite sea story or book or poem?

Swallows and Amazon when we grew up was a big hit. At my sailing club there was an island I imagined we were in the book. Now I love sailing fact not fiction – incredible people taking on the unthinkable.

Who do you most admire for what they did at sea?

Racing alone at high speed – Ellen Macarthur and now Gabart

What lessons have you learned about the world of work?

That fine is never good enough

Why should we care about the sea and have you had a wildlife encounter there that you’ll never forget?

My generation has so quickly left a terrible scar on the ocean – we have to halt it.

If you could be the captain of any yacht or ship, past or present, which would it be?

ETNZ at the last Americas Cup – I like to go fast, and I would have loved to win the illusive trophy.

Where in the world do you most like to be at, on or near the sea?

Scotland – West Coast, or home in Cowes – there is always lots of action in the Solent – it’s a busy active place

What do you know now about the sea and working life that you wish you had known before you left primary school?

That if you’re passionate about something you can make a career from it.