The Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s Max Gallant packs his bags for Split, Croatia to compete in the 2017 Laser Standard Men’s World Championships Sept. 12. Gallant, 21, has been sailing out of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club since seven years old, under coach Stephen McBride for the past 11 years and now under the instruction of both McBride and Laser coach Erik Vanderpol.
Gallant returned from the 2017 CORK Olympic Classes Regatta, Sail Canada Senior Championships Aug. 23, where he tied for fourth and fifth place with the United States’ Scott Rasmussen, among 35 other North American competitors.
Upon returning home, he said, “I’m feeling really good … the person in second (Erik Bowers) came only one point ahead of us.”
At the upcoming World Championships, Gallant will hit the water with competitors from over 100 countries. He aims to rank in the top 30 per cent: a position that will help propel him to his goal of making the Canadian cut for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. By the looks of things so far, that could be an achievable goal for Gallant. He has spent the last year out of post-secondary entirely committed to training on the water.
According to coach McBride, Gallant started showing competitive promise about five years ago. “He’s won a couple youth championships [since then]. He was also starting to get results at that point nationally and in North America.”
McBride views Gallant’s goal of achieving the top 30 per cent in this year’s World Championships as a reasonable one. Making into the top 30 per cent means making it into the Gold fleet, a ranking that has eluded Gallant in past years.
As for the 2020 Olympics, McBride said that goal is reasonable, too.
“He totally has a shot at that. He also has the longevity and the youth to be looking at 2024 as well,” he said. “Ranking internationally, he’s 55th in the world right now. That puts him well within that range.”
Gallant’s past year of training has also ensured that he’s improved in many areas, the most prominent one being fitness, said McBride. He now compares to the top Laser sailors in terms of his stamina on the water and ability to manipulate the boat at a physically taxing level for extended periods of time.
“Everything else is [also] progressing,” said McBride. “I think it’s going to be a great time. Max is always excited to represent Canada, Victoria and the Island.”
Before heading to Croatia, Gallant thanks SAIL Canada and his sponsors for enabling him to pursue competitive Laser and, ultimately, his Olympic dream.