Putting a team together with the hopes of achieving international success is not an easy task. But the job is made easier with quality coaches who know what qualities make a good team and then bring the athletes together. That was the case with Elsie Gillis from Halifax and Shelburne’s Savannah Taylor, Sail Nova Scotia’s female youth sailor of the year in 2018. Both sailors had been sailing the International 420 for 2 and 3 years respectively and had success at both international and national events. Since their partnership was formed, the duo has qualified to represent Canada at the 2019 Youth World Championships in Gdynia, Poland in July.
Since being placed together last fall they have successfully competed in Connecticut for the Atlantic Coast Championships, Miami for Mid-winters and participated in a training camp in Miami. So far their training schedule has included a training camp at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (RNSYS) which gave them the opportunity to train with fellow top Canadian sailors and coaches. Aside from sailing they are regularly found in the gym doing weight training or cardio on the rowing machine under the direction of the Canadian Sports Center Atlantic to enhance and maintain conditioning.
The off-water challenges for this duo has been their biggest obstacle. Not only do they live about a 2 hour drive from each other, Savannah recently had pneumonia for 3 weeks! Throughout Savannah’s downtime, Elsie continued her on-water training. Despite these set-backs their commitment to the commitment and, to each other is truly admirable. “We hope to be healthy and back on the water the first weekend in June” Savannah’s relocation to Halifax from Shelburne in mid-June will also help them maximize their water time for greater crew chemistry.
by Rob Dunbar