Airlie sets sail for British championships

REIGNING British Champion Callum Airlie from Westruther will be defending his Championship crown this week at the future Olympic venue of Weymouth on the English south coast.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 28th July 2010, 11:14 am

Fifteeen-year-old Callum (pictured right) will be competing alongside 450 young sailors from 16 countries at the National Sailing Academy at Weymouth for the 49th Volvo Musto Optimist British National and Open Championship.

Callum was recently selected for the UK National squad who travelled to Poland for the Optimist European Championship and also won the Scottish Optimist Travellers at Annandale Sailing Club in April.

As a special treat for the young sailors, Double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton and seasoned 470 sailor Saskia Clark will be in Weymouth on Wednesday 28th July to talk to the Optimist sailors and pass on some of their vast experience. Sarah is aiming to become the first British woman to win three successive Olympic gold medals, and joined up with Saskia in the 470 class when the Yngling was dropped from the Olympic schedule. They only joined forces in January, but won their first World Cup Series gold medal in Germany in June.

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Callum will also be hoping to be part of a Guinness World Record attempt when the event organisers are attempting to break the record for the largest fleet ever to undertake tacking on the whistle.

The Optimist class is regarded as the grass roots sailing dinghy and is the ideal boat for young people to get to grips with sailing and learn the basics of racing. Triple Olympic champion Ben Ainslie began his journey to the top of the sport in an Optimist. The Optimist sailors are split into Juniors, Regatta and Senior fleets. The sailors start the Optimist class at 8 years old and finish at 15.

The event is being held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing academy which is the host venue for the Olympic sailing regatta in 2012.

This year's championships will welcome sailors from across Europe, Asia and even Oceania for what promises to be the biggest and best National Championships yet.