Photo: Mike Cooper

Photo: Mike Cooper

A juggling act

A new year update from Shirley Robertson - Ynglings, twins, grannies, houses and life in Palma

Wednesday January 3rd 2007, Author: Shirley Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
A Happy New Year from sunny Palma! Whilst everyone has been eating, drinking and generally being merry, Annie, Lucy and I have been training, both in the gym and on the water over the Christmas period. A few days were taken off to open the pile of presents that the twins, Annabel and Killian, were sent by Father Christmas!

The last few months since we relocated to Palma, with boats, buggies, Grandmas et al in tow, has been extremely productive. We have a gym in the house and are just 10 minutes walk from the marina. All very handy as I have found since the birth of Killian and Annabel, time is a very precious commodity and I seem to have less and less of it these days! Although we miss our home and friends in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, the set up we have out here really works for everyone.

Our daily routine consists of breakfast with the babies, a gym session and then down to Yacht Club, El Arenal where the Yngling lives. This is followed by either a short boat handling session if we are on our own, or if we have our training partners here (The American Team Sally Barkow or the Russian Team, skippered by Ekaterina Scudding), then inevitably it turns into a long day of training, hopefully with me getting off the water just in time to make it back for bath time. Many nights I step off the boat and dash home, still in my dry suit leaving poor Annie and Lucy to deal with the aftermath.

There has been up to 12 Ynglings training here this winter so it has been a great opportunity not only to improve our speed, but to get back into racing and putting our team work under pressure.

I now feel a lot more at home in the Yngling and after two solid months sailing as a team we’re beginning to feel the basics are covered. It’s exciting now to move into the New Year working on the details that make champions; both in terms of technical development, how we sail together and how accurate our decision making is. You never crack it in sailing, you can always be better!

2006 was a very exciting year for me personally and for Team Shirley Robertson. With the birth of the twins, resuming training with Annie and Lucy and winning our first event together in October at the Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth. Helena Lucas taking the helm with Annie and Lucy in China at the Olympic Test Event and bringing home a silver medal, was another high point of 2006.

So looking forward to 2007, we intend to stay in Palma until April and compete in the Princess Sofia Regatta in mid April before moving the Team Shirley Robertson clan onto Cascais in preparation for the ISAF World Championships in July.

Presently we are homeless in the UK having sold our child unfriendly town house and bought an old 1930’s house overlooking the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, with a lovely garden for the children to play. It will take until May at the earliest for the renovations to be finished, another good reason to stay in Palma for now!

Photo: Mike Cooper

We could not have achieved what we have in 2006, without the support of family, especially Granny Phyl (Jamie’s Mum). By looking after Annabel and Killian so well she has made our lives extremely easy. They both now sleep through the night, we’re very lucky to have two very happy and contented babies.

We’ve also had great support from our sponsors; Volvo Car UK, JPMorgan Asset Management, the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership and BT in 2006, all of whom had complete belief in me personally for what I was trying to achieve, juggling family life with trying to win a third gold medal in China next year. Volvo had the XC90 fitted with the safest baby seat system in the world (the Isofix system) and JPMorgan Asset Management have set up a JPMorgan Share Plan (Savings for Children Fund) for the twins, so we can plan for their future sensibly leaving behind our hedonistic days of, when we had money, spending it all! BT gave us video phones so Granny Liz in Scotland can keep in touch and see the babies, as they grow up so quickly.

So we’re looking forward to 2007, even though life has become slightly more hectic since the twins arrival last July (as any working mother will tell you). As a team we feel very organised and focused on the goals ahead of us, maybe more focused than ever before!!

Best wishes

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