The eighteen teams’ shells lined up perfectly on time to start the most longed race of the fall season. A fantastic show in the Monegasque waters where all athletes competed under the watchful eyes of the referees onboard official launches. The 16th edition of the Prince Albert II coastal rowing Challenge was able to give fantastic emotions on the 27th and the 28th November 2021. A six-kilometre race in the wild bay of Monaco up to Cap Martin and back offered some adrenaline following very variable weather conditions with moderate winds and a satisfactory wave motion, but not to be underestimated. All rowing champions from the best teams have been able to adapt to any unexpected occurrence to keep their lead as soon as possible, in all scheduled categories: Solo Men, Mixed Double, Solo Woman and Mixed Four. A test for true champions in an intriguing new format without penalties, involving mixed male and female teams gathered by affinity coming from different clubs.
On the first day the race was made even more challenging by one meter and fifty waves empowered by winds of gale up to thirty knots. The most skilled athletes and those with fortitude accepted the hurdles with enthusiasm having a great training behind and keeping the audience in suspense. Côte d’Azur Team crossed the finish line first followed by Concorde Team (Ukraine) and Filippi Spain Rowing. The second day was not less demanding and the visit by the Sovereign Prince at the Lucciana Pier was well-appreciated. Weather conditions remained harsh with a constantly windy environment up to twenty knots and a slightly reduced wave motion. Anyway, the top-three teams with only a few points of difference were not affected by this pressure. The final double four was decisive for Côte d’Azur Team which prevailed (126 points) over Filippi Spain (121 points) and Concorde (117 points).
“We have been really very pleased to set our goals since the preliminary technical briefings and hospitality at Quai Louis II on Thursday the 25th and Friday the 26th November as well as to welcome all participants allowing to express themselves at best”, highlighted Mathias Raymond (M.R.), President at the Société Nautique de Monaco – SNM – “Luckily the weather conditions were acceptable, being almost favourable for most of the race but this is normal in this discipline and athletes know it well”, he added.
HelloMonaco: How did the preparation take place in the new race format?
M.R.: It worked well. Social Media helped connecting the athletes from different clubs before meeting in person. Our Instagram profile (@cpa2.rowing) has been playing a leading role in disseminating information and data, as well. All that encouraged the racers to blend well in each team in advance and to interact each other on the Monegasque offshore waters upon arrival on destination. This brand-new formula has been well appreciated by most of the rowers so far. So, we are optimistic that it would be introduced in major international competitions. Our club confirms to be the place where to experiment innovation in the footstep of the former president, Jean-Marc Giraldi, who strongly boosted this discipline through this prestigious regatta, making it increasingly known.
But what made this challenge a special one for the rowers? HelloMonaco collected some inspiring feedbacks.
Quentin Antognelli (Q.A.), the Monegasque athlete participating to Tokyo Olympics 2020, competing in Cote d’Azur Team.
HelloMonaco: What about this opportunity of challenge after the Olympics?
Q.A.: It has been very nice to come back and meet the companions we grew up with like Élodie Ravera Scaramozzino, Olympic champion from Nice who made an excellent performance. The new format, more ‘équitable’ (fair), of the Challenge is very interesting because it really matters all categories in the race and drives to create homogeneous teams aiming high… not losing sight of what the other teams are doing.
Ander Martín Domingo (A.M.D.) & Esther Briz Zamorano (E.B.Z.) from the Filippi Spanish Team, world champions at the World Rowing Coastal Championships of Oeiras, race held in September in Portugal.
HelloMonaco: Are you happy with this edition of Prince Albert II Challenge?
A.M.D.: I have wanted to participate to this prestigious regatta for a long time but the other years it coincided with other competitions or the athletic training. Thus, I am very happy to be present in this edition whose organization and reception are impeccable. The new rules broke with the classical stereotypes and so there is more interaction with the coaches and the organizers of the race through the social network.
E.B.Z.: Ander and I, we are both athletes of Olympic rowing but we have already experimented and adapted also to sea rowing. Here in Monaco we are amusing ourselves a lot. We had not been rowing together since the Portuguese Mundial and we were looking forward to it. Rowing, for males and females, is very dissimilar considering the different sporting potential so we must find the right balance of power. This kind of regatta makes each athlete adapt and find a winning strategy together with very high-level teams of many nationalities.
Diana Dymchenko (D.D.), athlete of the award-winning Ukrainian Concorde Team.
HelloMonaco: How was your performance in the open sea?
D.D.: The challenge was not that easy, because of the sea conditions which my team and I were not very used to and that made everything more challenging but it is part of the game. I am very happy to attend this exclusive event!
Federico Garibaldi (F.G.) from Santo Stefano Team (Western Liguria), several times world champion in Coastal Rowing.
HelloMonaco: How do you feel to compete in a race in the Monaco bay?
F.G.: Actually, the sea conditions in Monaco are similar to the ones where my team and I are used to practicing, furthermore I have also been facing this competition for some years now. More than the waves, therefore, they are the adversaries to represent the greatest challenge given that the participants of this edition are of the highest level and aggressive. The idea of gender equality (man-woman) and the choice to assign the scores with a method similar to the one adopted in F1 is making everything more amusing and challenging.
A delegation from the well-established British Tyrian Club sponsored by the University of London.
HelloMonaco: What do you think about this experience?
Tyrian Club: This is really an exciting place, part of our international touring to try-out something really different and intense. Performing here in the open sea is completely different than what we usually do. It is really a challenge in the name of the sport, playing in mixed teams give a lot of fun and it is definitely pretty good allowing you to test different categories of rowing from solo to double & four and vice versa.
To know more about Prince Albert II Challenge please visit the website.