Thursday was a rest day for Cayman’s Olympic sailor Florence Allan, who has been battling through this week’s preliminary Laser Radial races.
As one of the lightest Laser Radial competitors at 125 pounds, 18-year-old Allan faced 4- to 5-foot waves and wind at 21-23 knots from start to finish on day three of the preliminaries on Wednesday.
Allan had difficulty finishing within the allotted time in the open ocean course outside Guanabara Bay, and received a DNF (did not finish) in races 5 and 6.
Algerian sailor Imen Cherif Sahraoui, 20 years old and 144 pounds, also received a DNF.
In an earlier interview with the Cayman Compass, Allan was humble about her goals at the Olympics and acknowledged the difficulties of the sport.
“You can be doing well and the wind can shift and that can throw everything. Your [whole] game plan for the race can just go out the window,” she told the Compass.
“There’s just so much that goes into [sailing] that makes it a difficult sport,” Allan said.” I just want to know when I finish the regatta that I’ve done everything to the best of my abilities.”
Allan declined to comment on Wednesday’s performance, according to a press release.
Jennifer Powell of the Cayman Islands Olympic committee, who rode in the coaches’ boat on Wednesday, said in a press release, “Her determination to finish both races despite terrible weather conditions at such a light weight was nothing short of impressive.
“A cold front came through and the wind, rain and cold air ripped through during her races. There were long periods of time that we couldn’t see her because of the wave height and rain, but she just kept pushing through to get it done.
“It was an emotional finish when she wasn’t able to complete in the allotted time, but for her to finish after 6 hours total out in the open water is extremely commendable and we couldn’t be more proud of her effort,” added the chef de mission.
Allan is scheduled to sail in races 7 and 8 on Friday, and races 9 and 10 on Saturday to wrap up the preliminary rounds.
However, according to press officer Jade Webster, she will not be competing in Monday’s medal race, which includes only the top 10 competitors.
After sailing in waters at Brazil’s Naval Academy on Monday with winds of 11-12 knots in race 1 and 12-13 knots in race 2, Allan placed 35th behind Portugal’s Sara Carmo, and 34th behind Malaysia’s Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif, respectively.
On Tuesday in Guanabara Bay, Allan placed 31st in her third race, behind Saint Lucia’s Stephanie Devaux-Lovell.
In her fourth race, Allan placed 36th, finishing ahead of Teau Moana McKenzie of the Cook Islands.