Rio just another regatta for Allan

Photo courtesy: Allan V. Crane/CA-images

By Jade Webster, CIOC Press Representative

Florence Allan has made history, as the second female sailor in the Cayman Islands to compete at the Olympic Games. 18-year-old Allan set sail on 8 August in the Woman’s Laser Radial at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, alongside 37 other athletes.

“I don’t think of it like that and its 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.”

Florence Allan made her Olympic debut on 8 Aug.

Florence Allan made her Olympic debut on 8 Aug.

Not only is Allan the second female sailor, she is also the first in 16 years to sail at the Olympics representing the Cayman Islands. The last time Cayman was represented in women’s sailing at the Summer Games was at the Sydney 2000 Olympics by Tomeaka McTaggart.

“[Tomeaka Mctaggart] told me just to enjoy every second that I am here. She said make sure you put it into perspective because she obviously wasn’t first in her races when she was at the Olympics, she was more at the back of the fleet. She just said if that happens you put everything into perspective and know that in reality the people that are ahead of you aren’t that that far ahead of you. This is the Olympics and it’s supposed to be hard.”

Finishing 36th in race one and 35th in race two, Allan has four sailing days with the fifth day being the medaling race. She will compete in two races a day, a total of 10 qualifying races. The goal is for athletes to collect as few points as possible; the first boat gets one point, second boat gets 2 points and so forth.

“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.”

_DSC0694With a total of five sailing courses in the Games, Allan will compete in four of the courses three inside Guanabara Bay and one open ocean course throughout the week. Allan sailed on one of the three, inside the bay today.

“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.”

Sailing comes with many challenges and for Allan it is weight. Weighing in at 125lbs she is one of the lightest sailors in the fleet.

“[It’s not divided by weight] so especially on a today like that makes a big difference when it’s kind of medium conditions, heavy winds that makes [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”

Working in her favour, Allan is keeping her fingers crossed for lighter winds during the week, but with the unpredictable Brazilian weather, she can only keep her hopes up.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.