WESTRUTHER sailor Callum Airlie has vowed to take the 420 class by storm this summer as he bids to propel himself into the international set-up, writes Paul Eddison.
On paper, the 15-year-old will have his work cut out to force his way into the British junior ranks with a new partner, Joe Butterworth, to get used to.
Add that to his own inexperience in the bigger boat – he is in only his second full season in the 420 having graduated from the optimist ranks – and Airlie’s confidence could appear misplaced.
But with new crewmate Butterworth having international experience as part of the Cadet National Junior Squad in 2010, Airlie believes the future is bright.
“Everything is going well at the minute and I am really looking forward to the summer now because we have got a lot of events coming up,” said Airlie, speaking at St Ronan’s Primary School in Innerleithen, where he participated in a potted sports event, as part of the Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week.
“It will be nice to get in the boat with Joe because I am confident we can become a good pairing. He has had experience with the national squads last year, so he is obviously a really good sailor.
“We are really good friends out of the boat too, so I am sure we will hit it off in the boat, which will be great.
“We will obviously have to get used to one another, but it would be great if we could get into the national squad by putting in some good performances this summer.”
Top of the agenda for Airlie this summer is the National Championships in July and he can’t wait to get started on some serious preparation as he bids to hit the water running with his new partner in crime.
Airlie formed a formidable double act with brother Drew last year and while sad to see him depart for pastures new – university – the younger of the siblings can’t wait to push new boundaries.
“It was good sailing with my brother last year as we had some really good results,” said Airlie junior – an Earlston High School pupil.
“We got up to sixth in the UK in our age group at one point, but I am confident Joe and I can be a good pairing and have a really good summer.
“We’ll be racing at a regatta in Belgium in a couple of week’s time and hopefully we can get off to a good start.”
St Ronan’s deputy head teacher Jan Lister hailed the day – despite a rain shower – a success.
She said: “Sport is a big part of the school and a big part of the community at large and we also run football clubs, running clubs and dancing clubs, and it is great to see so many pupils simply taking part.
“Seeing the enjoyment that sport can bring without their necessarily having to be any winners was fantastic.”
St Ronan’s head boy Jonny Paterson, 12, and head girl Sophie Hilton, 11, were two of the 250 pupils taking part with 330,000 in total expected to have been involved across Scotland.
And Sophie said: “Everyone really enjoyed the activities and it was nice to have some time out of the classroom and watching everyone getting involved.”
Bank of Scotland National School Sport Week, in partnership with sportscotland, uses London 2012 to inspire children to achieve a personal best in Olympic and Paralympic sports. To help your local school carry the Olympic Flame in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, or to win tickets, visit: www.bankofscotland.co.uk/nationalschoolsportweek