GB Olympic Champion Sailor of the Future? Jamie Calder on his way to Fulfil His Olympic Gold Medal Dreams

Jamie Calder – A Remarkable Young Boy with a Bright Future

One of our students who attends the Kip McGrath Centre in Balerno, Edinburgh South has achieved fantastic success in sailing and we would like to showcase his fantastic recent achievements.  Jamie Calder (13) is well on his way to achieving his dream of becoming an Olympic Gold medalist but also realises that his academic achievements are very important and attends the centre for help in English due to his hectic training schedule.

On 11 September 2012, Jamie travelled to Oxford Sailing Club along with another 40 under sixteen competitors for the first of the UKLA GUL Ladder event of the 2012/13 series. He came first!  Jamie has just moved from the Optimist class into the Laser 4.7, which is the same boat used at the Olympics but with a smaller sail. Jamie travelled to Farmoor reservoir in Oxford for his first Laser 4.7 Ladder event, which was also the first selection weekend for the GBR Laser 4.7 Squad. View an article on the results of this day here.

Jamie’s proud dad, Iain Calder, has agreed to be our guest blogger this week and tell us all about Jamie.

Jamie’s Story

As our family have always sailed Jamie has been in and around boats all his life.  He started racing an Optimist dingy at eight years old. The Optimist is the biggest, worldwide, junior class for children under sixteen. More Olympic sailors started their racing in Optimists than in any other class.

At nine Jamie qualified for the Scottish Optimist Squad and a year later he qualified for the Optimist GBR Squad, which is the top thirty sailors in the UK. Over the last four years Jamie has represented GBR at International regattas in Holland, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore and Dominican Republic. Each year the top five sailors from fifty countries are selected to compete at the World Championships. In 2011 Jamie became the fourth Scottish sailor ever to qualify for the World Championships and the youngest at the age of twelve. This year he was the first Scottish sailor to qualify for the Worlds twice.

Jamie’s best results to date are 3rd at the Belgian National Championships, 8th at Kiel German Championships, 9th at Brassemermeer Regatta, Holland, 1st at UK End of Season Championships, 3rd UK National Championships and 30th at Pre World Championships.

The Royal Yachting Association, which is sailing’s governing body, have a structured pathway of classes to identify talented athletes and support them to become future Olympic athletes. Jamie is part of this program with the Optimist class being the start of the pathway.

Jamie Calder

Although Jamie is still only thirteen he has decided to move to the next pathway class as he is getting a little big for the Optimist. He has decided to stick with a single handed class rather than opting to join someone else in a double hander. The class Jamie is now sailing is the Laser 4.7. The boat is an Olympic class although the junior sailors use a smaller mast and sail, with the view to move up first to the radial rig at youth level (under 19) and then the full rig Olympic class.

Having been part of the GBR Squad for the last few years Jamie was keen to continue at this level in his next class. We therefore travelled down to the first GBR Squad qualifying event at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxford last weekend.  Having not raced the Laser he was very much looking forward to the challenges a new class brings. Unfortunately due to a lack of wind there was no racing on the Saturday but a good breeze on Sunday allowed three races to be completed. Jamie finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the races which meant he won the event overall. The second and final Squad qualifier takes place at the end of September at Rutland Water, a reservoir one hundred miles north of London. After this event the Royal Yachting Association will select the top twelve sailors to train together at various venues around the country, including the Olympic 2012 venue at Weymouth.

Winning at Oxford has given Jamie a great start in his new class and he is very much looking forward to the training and competition ahead to try and achieve his ultimate goal of an Olympic gold medal.

Jamie Calder

Jamie has been very lucky to have received the support of several sponsors in the past to help with the cost of competing at this level and would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank the following:

RYA Scotland, RYA UK, Sports Aid, Ground Developments Ltd, Kitchens International, Pensato Capital, Zhik, IBI Sailing, Olimpic Sails, North Sails, James Miller Trust and Royal Forth Yacht Club.

Iain Calder.

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