Your weekly dose of interviews with people in the New Zealand sailing community from top sailors of today and yesteryear to those working in the sailing and boating industries.
Ep 25 - Shirley Robertson
Shirley Robertson is one of the most recognisable voices in the sailing world, as a commentator for anything from the Olympics and America’s Cup to magazine shows and SailGP. She’s also one of the most successful female sailors of all time, having won two Olympic titles and been named female world sailor of the year. There are so many layers to her story, and she talks about her work as a broadcaster, including her present role as part of the commentary team for the America’s Cup in Auckland, and delves into her experiences as a sailor which featured heartbreak before success. We also explore gender inequality in the sport, talk about her plans to chase a third Olympic gold medal in Paris in 2024 and, like all guests, Shirley details her worst wipeout ever.
Ep 24 - Jim Turner
Jim Turner was a leading figure in American Magic's challenge for the America’s Cup, which ended last week when they were eliminated from the Prada Cup. Jim talks about his experiences and observations with the team, including the dramatic capsize that almost saw their boat sink, the impact it had on the team and their incredible recovery to get back on the start line.
Jim has been involved in three America’s Cup campaigns, starting with the British challenge in 2003, and he talks about how the competition has changed over that time and where he sees it going. He also gives his thoughts on how the role of the grinder has evolved and what it was like for many in the engine room while on board the AC75s.
There’s a lot more to Jim’s career than the America’s Cup and he’s accumulated 15 world titles in various classes and has sailed on a number of different professional circuits. He also competed for New Zealand at the 2012 Olympics, which were sailed only 30km from where he grew up. Jim is also an Opti dad and explains what it’s like now to help his kids as they begin their journey in the sport.
Ep 23 - Nigel Blackbourn
Nigel Blackbourn has been involved in the superyacht industry for a large part of his 40 years at sea. He’s worked for some of the wealthiest people in the world, including the Qatari royal family, overseeing the running of 19 superyachts and hundreds of staff. He was also team boss of the German America’s Cup team in 2007 and more latterly has been captain of the famous schooner Altair, which is often seen as the vessel that set the standard for classic yacht restorations.
Nigel talks about what got him into the industry, what it was like to work for the Qatari royal family, some of the demands owners place on their staff and how often he really spends on land each year. He also talks about how people can get into the industry and the similarities of running superyachts and running an America’s Cup campaign.
Ep 22 - Conrad Colman
Conrad Colman astonished the sailing world with his feats in the last Vendee Globe, the single-handed, non-stop race around the world. He faced a catalogue of challenges, from being swept overboard at night in the Southern Ocean, to constant capsizing when his auto pilot played up, a fire on board, his mast nearly coming down in 60+ plus knots in the remotest place on Earth, being dismasted less than 1000 miles from home and then running out of food.
The Crazy Kiwi, as he’s known among the fleet, dives into some of these amazing episodes of misadventure but also talks about why he wasn’t among the starters for the present Vendee Globe which started a couple of weeks ago, why he’s desperate to compete in the next one and what the sailors face when they’re on their own for three months at sea.
Ep 21 - 1987 Admiral's Cup
In 1987 New Zealand won the Admiral's Cup, considered the world championships of keelboat sailing, for the first and only time. It was something New Zealand had been chasing since the mid-1970s and in 1987 it all came together through a combination of good designs, good boats, good team culture and good sailors. The one-tonner Propaganda was the top boat at the regatta and had a top-class crew including Peter Lester on helm and Ross Field on main sheet. Peter and Ross reminisce about the brutal nature of the New Zealand trials, racing in the Solent and the famous Fastnet Race, what the win meant to sailing in this country and what it did for the careers of those involved. They also look back on the personal rivalries, like the one between Brad Butterworth and Lawrie Smith, and controversies, particularly over allegations of cheating by the British team, and also tell the stories of their worst wipeouts ever.
Ep 20 - Coastal Classic Special
In this podcast we bring you a special edition on New Zealand’s great race. The Coastal Classic was first contested in 1982 and now attracts more than 150 boats for the annual blast up the coast from Auckland to the Bay of Islands.
Matthew Flynn took part in the very first race and was also on the organising committee that brought it all together and he's still doing both all these years later. Matthew talks about the race’s origins, some of the changes over the time and what makes it so special, and also explains why he's taken to doing the Coastal Classic single-handedly in recent times.
We then catch up with Bianca Cook who will tackle the race on the Volvo 65 she hopes will feature in the next Ocean Race. The Coastal Classic will actually be the first outing in a race for the boat as plans for the New Zealand Ocean Race team step up a gear. We talk to her about the significance of hitting the race track next week and also get an update on her campaign to put together an all-Kiwi team in the next Ocean Race starting in 2022.
Our final interview is with Simon Hull, who has done the race more than 30 times, including claiming line honours 10 times, and he also held the race record until last year. Simon talks about chasing race records, the social element and the time he choppered in America’s Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill to join his crew.