Florence Allan, Cayman’s youngest Olympian this year, has completed the first two of ten races in the Women’s laser radial sailing competition. She will race again twice on Tuesday in the choppy Rio harbor.
Sailors race ten times in the event to select who gets to go into the medal race, scheduled for Monday. Ms. Allan came last in the first race and 35 out of 37 in the second race. Overall, China’s Xu Lijia is in first place, with Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands in second and Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom in third.
Ms. Allan, the second woman from Cayman to compete in Olympic sailing, said Tuesday, “I don’t think of it like that and it’s really weird thinking that I’m at the Olympics. It feels like another regatta, which I didn’t expect. I thought I was going to be really nervous so I’m surprised that it feels really normal and I guess that’s good, so I can get in my normal groove and sail. It’s just amazing that I can be here and it’s an added bonus to be able to know I am only one of two girls to come to the Olympics for sailing.”
Speaking to a pool reporter with the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, Ms. Allan said, “It was really hard today for me but after the first race I just had to reset and just kind of get focused again. It was hard to keep up with everyone, I was last in the first race but I improved a couple of positions in the second race so I am happy about that.”
Ms. Allan said, “It’s probably the hardest regatta that I have been on and that I will do, but I’d say when we go outside the bay later on in the week that will be the hardest for me.”
“I think you just have to take it as it comes and you have to tell yourself that everything is varied and you can’t really predict or expect anything, you just have to take it as it comes, which is kind of what I have to tell myself.”
The winds were heavy in Rio Monday, putting Ms. Allan’s light weight to a disadvantage. She said she’s hoping for lighter winds as the week continues. The sailor’s weight, she said, is a factor in how fast they can go. “[It] makes a big difference when it’s kind of medium conditions, heavy winds that make [the other sailors] go really, really fast so even though I had a good start, it still makes it kind of difficult for me to keep up,” she said.