CNN MainSail is a monthly half-hour programme that explores one of the world's most exhilarating, glamorous and tough sports, sailing. CNN's Shirley Robertson goes behind-the-scenes to bring viewers the latest on the leisure, travel, technology and business aspects of the sport.
Discover what it takes to win the world’s leading monohull yacht racing circuit.
In sailing, the weather can be a source of frustration, of exhilaration and of fear, all in equal measure. But without it, the sport would quite simply not exist. Shirley Robertson travels the globe, from the Hawaiian island of Oahu to Portland Harbour in Dorset, England, to find out how this uncontrollable force can be harnessed to maximize the chance of success.
For half a century the stunning Mediterranean island of Malta has provided the backdrop for this iconic regatta, playing host to some the biggest names in sailing. As more than one hundred and forty boats prepare to take part in this landmark edition, Shirley Robertson explores the history surrounding both the race itself and it’s idyllic location.
A super yacht at a dockside is a crowd puller. Like a Ferrari it always attracts onlookers posing for photographs - but nobody gets too close. On this month's edition of 'MainSail', host Shirley Robertson takes a look inside the exclusive world of the super yacht.
MainSail looks back at the stories to come out of that first ever Golden Globe race back in 1968, some of tragedy and despair, but in the case of winner Sir Robin Knox Johnston, one of courage and triumph over adversity.
We catch up with the America's Cup holders, Emirates Team New Zealand. We're in Auckland to take a look inside the team that turned a famous defeat into a remarkable victory and to ask what's next for the oldest trophy in world sport.
Shirley Robertson is in Melbourne, Australia, to catch up with the crews of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet as they complete leg three - 6,500 miles of offshore racing through the ferocious conditions of the brutal Southern Ocean.
Our focus turns to the infamous blue water classic, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Shirley Robertson is in Australia to meet this year's fleet of offshore adventurers hoping to complete the six hundred and fifty miles of a race.
Over the past year, the new breed of multihull Trimarans have been regularly setting global speed records, but in this month's episode, we'll not only see them race against each other for the first time, but also the world's fastest passenger liner.
The wait is finally over. For two and a half years, the sailing world has been anticipating this battle. It is, without a doubt, one of the most talked about showdowns the sport of sailing has ever witnessed.
hirley Robertson is in Italy with legendary sailing photographer Carlo Borlenghi. Borlenghi has dedicated his life to the art of photographing yacht racing and has built a reputation unsurpassed in his profession.
Saint-Tropez, "Daughter of the Sea", is a place steeped in maritime history, and for decades, a multitude of boats from all walks of life have come to sail her waters. MainSail is in Saint-Tropez for the Giraglia Rolex Cup, a sailing festival with a rich and poignant history. Now in it's 64th year, it is one of the oldest, and biggest events in the Mediterranean.
MainSail visits Rio, to the venue of what is already one of the most talked about Olympic regattas in recent years. We examine the controversy surrounding the venue and Double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson takes a look at some of the sailors that she has picked for success later this year.
We’re in Sardinia at the Kite Foil European Championships, taking a look at one of the fastest growing, most exciting forms of the sport that’s made a real impact since flying onto the scene just over 15 years ago.
Successful Swedish businessman Hakan Svensson has taken over and changed the face of the world's oldest professional sailing series, the World Match Racing Tour. Join Shirley Robertson in Fremantle, Australia at the first event of the new look tour as she not only meets the man and his team, but talks to some of the world's greatest sailors about competing for glory... and the biggest single prize purse in world sailing - $1 million.
The Tour de France is not just cycling's global major, it is a sporting major. And for more than 20 years, there has been a sailing equivalent: the Tour Voile, a stage race around the coast of France with a rolling support circus and teams mainly French in origin but with a sprinkling of international flavour.
In September 2013 the sporting world witnessed a comeback like no other In the 45th America’s Cup in San Francisco Jimmy Spithill and Ben Ainslie led Team Oracle to a last minute victory in front of a global audience.
The Caribbean is the winter playground for the sailing classes of Europe, the location where top sailors go to earn their winter crust and exotic superyachts and racing boats rub shoulders on the same race course with big names spinning their wheels around the Caribbean race tracks.
How can a boat go faster than the wind? How can it lift out of the water and fly? With the next America's Cup destined to be fought with the most advanced foiling machines that the sailing world has ever seen, Shirley Robertson investigates the phenomena gripping the sport.
Every four years, France's most intrepid off-shore sailors take part in the Route du Rhum - a 3,500-mile race from the old pirate port of St Malo in Brittany across the Atlantic to Guadeloupe. Its November timing guarantees big seas and not everyone will make it as far as the Caribbean. Perhaps this is why the single-handed sailors who attempt this crossing are seen as gladiators. Two million people visit St Malo in the week before the start to meet their heroes and see them on their way.
Four years ago, Shirley Robertson followed one of these men, Sidney Gavignet, as he set off into the Atlantic, leaving his wife and young family behind. Two days later he was dismasted and escaped onto a cargo ship.
But he is back, determined to complete the race. Shirley heads to St Malo to meet Gavignet and his rivals in the Ultimate class. She also joins the crowds to discover the passion that makes the Route du Rhum start one of the sporting events of the year in France.
Shirley Robertson goes behind the scenes at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain. With 1,200 sailors from 81 nations competing across the 10 Olympic classes the event can be bewildering to the uninitiated, but Shirley focuses in on the teams that are likely to shine at the next Olympics in Brazil.
Team Brazil are led by 5-time Olympian Torben Grael. One of his greatest medal hopefuls is his daughter, Martine, while another is 41-year-old Robert Scheidt who, like Grael, has 5 Olympic medals to his name already.
The most successful team at the last Olympics was Australia and Shirley talks to the gold medallist, Nathan Outteridge, who is trying to combine an Olympic bid with an America’s Cup programme, as well as meeting World Sailor of the Year Mat Belcher who is gunning for a 5th straight World Title.
The Mini Maxis are the elite fleet in owner/driver monohull racing. The investment to win in this class is high. Aside from the cost of the boats, owners must fund a professional race crew with a full race and training programme. The Mini Maxi Rolex Championship is the most important trophy of the season and last year’s winner Skype founder, Niklas Zennström, is on the hunt for a 4th title with his brand new boat, Ran 5. Up against him are half a dozen billionaire owners who are as keen to win on the water as they are in business and have hired America’s Cup and Olympic sailors to help them to victory. Shirley Robertson joins the competitors in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for one of the highlights of the grand prix sailing calendar and finds out what motivates the men who build and race these machines.
The last two Volvo Ocean Races have featured Chinese sponsorship with a single Chinese sailor on board, but this October, the DongFeng Race Team will set off on Leg 1 with multiple home-grown crew members.
With the 12th edition on the Volvo Ocean Race starting in October this year, MainSail lifts the lid on the career of Dutch master Bouwe Bekking as he prepares for his record equalling 7th tilt at the title.