and Yachting World caught up for an exclusive with team Nicorette as the boat arrived in Plymouth

For Nicorette, third across the line in the 2001 Rolex Fastnet , the race was always going to be a gamble. The 79-foot winner of the Sydney Hobart race relies so heavily on getting the right wind direction, but crossing the start line with several broken battens in the mainsail and being 20-30 minutes off the pace coming out of the needles was not in the game plan. The boat skippered by Ludde Ingvall, clawed back up the fleet and had a finish that was closer than anyone could have hoped for as it sailed into Plymouth in glorious sunshine if no wind.

Olympic Gold medalist, Shirley Robertson, was on board for her first experience of offshore racing. and Yachting World caught up for an exclusive as the boat arrived in Plymouth. Asked what the highlight of the race was, Shirley answered that, for her at least, it was battling in big seas and heavy rain around the Fastnet rock, “to see the lighthouse in the middle of nowhere was truly amazing.”

Apart from the rounding of the rock, it was the sun off the Sillies combined with the dolphins swimming alongside the boat that brightened the gold medallist’s forray into offshore racing. Where she really came into here element was approaching the finish when the 608-mile race turned into a head-to-head match race between Nicorette and Morning Glory.

As we spoke with Shirley the boat was coming into dock, but her biggest worry seemed to be the lack of a shower and feeling human that comes as part of offshore racing. Wearing the same hat as she was wearing when the boat crossed the start line, and not having brushed her teeth for three days is not normal for the Olympic gold medallist.

The big question – would she do it again? The answer is that given time, it looked as though Shirley could be persuaded, she was in high spirits on arrival, whether this was relief at finishing or due to the joy of competing was unclear.