FACED with a major life decision at a tender age, Anna Burnet considered her options and plumped for the one she liked least. It was illogical but ultimately effective.

As she counts down the months until she competes in her first Olympic Games, the 27 year-old is reaping the rewards of the mature shrewdness displayed by her younger self.

Growing up in the Argyllshire village of Shandon in a house that overlooked the Gare Loch, it was natural that Burnet would be drawn to the water. Having a family immersed in sailing made that transition even easier.

The difficulty, however, was that the 11 year-old Burnet was not all that keen on certain key aspects of the sport in Scotland: getting wet and getting cold.

“I was always really competitive so any sport I was doing I took it quite seriously,” she revealed ahead of her involvement in the Nacra 17 world championships this week in Australia.

“I was doing tennis and running and lots of other things when I was little. Then I had to make a choice of which one I wanted to do if I was going to start training with other people.

“So I was 11 when I decided to devote more of my time to sailing. It was tough to take a step back from the other sports but I can still remember my decision-making process.

“The cons of going sailing were that I didn’t really like being wet and cold sailing in Scotland in the winter. But the pros were that I was already in the Scottish Optimist squad so maybe I had a better chance in that one. So that was my childhood logic!

“And I think it’s worked out okay. I’m not sure I would have been that great a tennis player anyway.”

With the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club just down the road, it also proved handy in the early days. But the journeys grew longer the more she progressed.

“Our house overlooks the Gare Loch so I was surrounded by water my whole life growing up,” she added. “Where we live is really close to the club in Rhu so it was easy for me to get into sailing there.

“I think with water being such a big part of my childhood that it was just natural that I would be drawn to it. My family are still in Shandon and I like to get back whenever I can – which is not very often these days. It’s one of my favourite places in the world.

“My whole family have always been in to sailing, my dad especially. He lives and breathes sailing, loves boats. They were always going to help me learn to sail if I wanted to and were really encouraging.

“We had to travel down to England when I started to take it more seriously so I have to thank my parents for doing that.

“Almost every weekend we had to drive to the south coast of England which was a big commitment. I don’t think I appreciated that properly until I learned to drive myself and saw how hard that was. I was just in the back having a sleep most of the time!”

She journeyed through the junior and youth ranks – competing in a world championships – to the point where reaching the Olympics became something that started to seem more plausible. But it was only through teaming up with John Gimson a few years ago that things really began to take off.

“I was obsessed with sport when I was younger and always dreamed of going to the Olympics with a chance of winning a medal,” added Burnet. “So it’s amazing – and still a little bit surreal – that we’ve got that opportunity now.

“It’s probably only been in the last few years where it felt like it was really achievable. When I left university in 2013 I went full-time sailing but it almost seemed a bit far-fetched at times to think I could get to the Olympics. I had so much to learn and needed to find the right team-mate and all the rest of it.

“But since I teamed up with John to aim for Tokyo it’s started to feel more like a realistic goal. It’s a partnership that has just clicked. One of the biggest things in sailing is that a lot of the Olympic classes are double handers.

“So the biggest thing is just to find the right team where you complement each other’s skills. We’re luckier than most that we get on well on and off the water.

“We’ve got a realistic chance of winning a medal. Sailing is a bit of an unpredictable sport as sometimes you need a bit of luck to go your way. But we’ve shown what we’re capable of.”