Lomond is breeding ground for top sailors

Calum Bell takes to the water
Calum Bell takes to the water
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Set between the River Clyde and Loch Lomond, it is perhaps little wonder that Lomond School in Helensburgh is into watersports. But the ability to produce some of the UK’s finest sailors is quite remarkable.

Two 14-year-old pupils – Calum Bell and Harris Cartwright – are making a mark at National level, while three former pupils are in the RYA British sailing team. Lorenzo Chiavarini (Laser) and Charlotte Dobson (49erFX) are in the Team GB podium squad and Anna Burnet (49er FX) is in the potential podium squad.

The school is incredibly proud that they are all in the mix for a potential trip to Rio in 2016 – and equally thrilled that they are willing to give back to their roots. The three sailors are all sailing patrons for Lomond School and hope to inspire and pass on their love of sailing to the current pupils. For Calum, an exciting future lies ahead. He has been sailing a Topper dinghy and has competed at events across Scotland and the UK with results that have earned selection to represent Scotland at two Eric Twiname regattas, selection for the RYA Scotland Development Team in 2014 & 2015 and, most recently, the GBR Junior Topper Squad.

“The school has always had a great adventure and outdoors ethos, which has really helped sailors like me and former pupils who are now in the British sailing team,” said the youngster.

“It’s really important that your school understands your commitment.”

Harris has recently transitioned from an Optimist sailing boat to a Topper, a much bigger, faster and more powerful boat, and has been asked to be part of the Scottish Topper development team and is slowly making his way through the RYA programme.

Harris says: “I think that Optimists are great starter boats to give you the key aspects to performance sailing. I would encourage any young kids looking for a fun, competitive sport to have a go at sailing.”

Lomond School has recognised the passion these boys are showing to their sport and has helped them balance between study and sport.

With a strong sailing background herself, Lomond School principal, Johanna Urquhart has recently introduced sailing as part of the Junior School curriculum. She says: “Given our beautiful location and with a strong tradition of producing great sailing athletes, it makes sense that sailing features strongly at Lomond School, both within and outwith the curriculum.

“It is a sport that develops both mental and physical stamina and skill as well as a sense of teamwork and an appreciation and understanding of the natural environment.

“With ‘adventure’ as one of Lomond’s six guiding principles, sailing fits perfectly with our ethos and allows pupils of all ages access to a sport which is, above all, great fun.”