Max Richardson is dreaming of a place at the 2016 Rio Olympics after competing with the world’s best sailors at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta.
At just 20, former Claverham Community College student Richardson headed to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – the London 2012 sailing venue – never expecting to come away with a medal in the 49er competition alongside Nick Redding.
And it was just as tough as he predicted, the pair finishing fifth in the silver fleet as the seniors battled it out to land an early blow just two months before the Games kick-off.
All was not lost for Richardson, however, as he shared the Olympic waters with those sailors going for gold at London 2012 later this summer.
And it was that chance to rub shoulders with the seniors that proves to Richardson his trip along the south coast was far from a wasted journey.
“It was exciting to be out there with all the Olympic guys,” the Hastings & St Leonards Sailing Club member said. “We know them quite well already as the British squad train quite a lot together and it really pulls you up sailing with good people.
“This regatta was a great experience for us and can only help us to achieve our goal of representing Team GB at Rio 2016. We are pretty hopeful of earning a place but Great Britain is always quite strong so you never really know, but we’ll try our best to get there.”
Among those who will challenge Richardson and Redding for selection in 2016 are Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, who were chosen for the 49er class at this summer’s Olympics.
But prior to the next Olympic cycle, Richardson and Redding will play a role in their compatriots’ pursuit of gold in August – something they can’t wait to get started on.
“We are planning on doing a week’s training with Stevie and Ben in July so that will be really great for us and hopefully useful for them too,” added Richardson. “It’s also nice to know we’ll have a small part to play in their hunt for an Olympic medal.
“We are in the transitional squad at the moment so this training will also help us as we look for a top 20 or top 15 at the Europeans this September which is what we are concentrating on right now.”
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com