Airlie sails into top-10 place ahead of Worlds

Callum Airlie and Drew Airlie,420 :54089,
Callum Airlie and Drew Airlie,420 :54089,

Westruther sailor Callum Airlie is on course for the World Championships after he claimed a top-10 spot at one of Europe’s premier events.

The 17-year-old teamed up with Joe Butterworth to finish 10th in a strong fleet of 165 boats in the International 420 Class at Kiel Week in Germany.

The pair were also the top British boat in any field.

The 420s had an 11-race series, and were split into three flights for a qualifying series of six races, after which they were reflighted into gold, silver and bronze fleets for the final five races.

Airlie and Butterworth put in an excellent qualifying series in 10-12 knot winds, gusting to 15.

All of their results were in the top 10, placing them very firmly in gold fleet. A cracking start to the penultimate day saw them post a third and a fifth, with a 15th leaving them in sixth place overall overnight. Unfortunately for competitors, the wind picked up and shifted, which moved the course area.

And seven weeks off due to exams had left Airlie with a rather onerous set of blisters, pushing the result down to mid-fleet for the final two races.

This was still good enough for 10th overall, with Airlie saying he and Butterworth were in good form ahead of the World Championships in Valencia, Spain, which begins on July 22.

The pair, who are part of the Royal Yacht Association 420 youth squad, will then head to North Wales for the European Championships.