Clear skies, cruise ships and rolling waves for the coastal championships
As the last cruise ship moved out of the harbour off the coast of Monaco, the heats at the 2016 World Rowing Coastal Championships began. Sunny skies and warm temperatures welcomed crews with relatively flat water for the morning races. As the day progressed, the wind came up and the water began to challenge rowers with choppy waves.
The heats were raced over a 4km course that featured four important turns. The course started close to the harbour and then followed a rectangular pattern, bringing the race back along the shore to finish in front of the port.
Women’s Solo (CW1x) – heats
The first race of the day, the heat of the women’s solo got off to a late start as a cruise ship temporarily blocked the passage out to the start line. Once underway, it quickly became a spread field. In this first heat was reigning world champion Jessica Berra of France, however, it was Ireland’s Monika Dukarska who got out to an early lead. Dukarska won the event in 2009. The three rowers at the front of the pack, Dukarska (IRL01), Berra (FRA02) and Benedetta Bellio (ITA06) tried to pull away from the rest of the field. Rounding the last buoy Dukarska had taken a sizable lead ahead of Bellio and Berra. The first ten crews from each heat progressed to the A-final.
Heat two got underway after a delay. A crash at the start line resulted in a broken oar for FRA06. After the oar was replaced, the race started cleanly. First to show was the 2016 French Champion Edwige Alfred (FRA01). Alfred won the event in 2014 and looks to be back to reclaim her title. Coming around the last buoy, Alexandra Tsiavou (GRE01) was hot on her tails. Tsiavou and Alfred sprinted to the line, holding off charges from SWE01 and DEN01 who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Qualifiers: IRL01, ITA06, FRA02, FRA03, ESP01, FRA04, ITA03, TUN01, ITA07, SUI01, FRA01, GRE01, SWE01, DEN01, GBR02, ITA01, ITA02, UKR01, ITA03, ESP02
Men’s Double Sculls (CM2x) – heats
The men’s double saw the highest number of entries meaning that many of these crews already raced in Thursday’s qualification races. Twenty boats lined up in the first heat, with the goal of being in the first seven to progress to tomorrow’s A-final. In heat one it was all about the home favourites, MON01. Giuseppe Alberti and Quentin Antognelli led from start to finish. Rounding the last buoy they had built up an open water lead over the rest of the field. But the crews behind them were charging to the line in a fierce fight for the next six places. ESP01 got the best of it, crossing just ahead of ITA03.
Heat two of the men’s double got underway without incident. The pack went through the first two buoys together, but then SRB01 started to show their power and pull away. Two strong, tall athletes in this boat and they used the relatively flat water to their advantage. Coming around the last buoy they had enough of a lead to avoid the tussle going on behind them between ITA10 and FRA16. The close call at the buoy drove the two boats apart, forcing FRA16 a bit outside of the direct path to the finish line. They managed to hold onto the lead over ITA10 finishing just 1 second ahead.
A nail-biting race in heat 3 of the men’s double saw the first seven boats pull entirely clear of the rest of the pack. After successfully rounding the first buoy, all seven boats headed in one pack toward the second buoy. They were all fighting for the most direct path and trying to avoid any disastrous crashes. Several bumped oars as they took the turn, heading for the third buoy. At this point, FRA04, ITA01, UKR01 and GRE01 had gotten a slight advantage. Into the final sprint, FRA04 managed to take the best course and cross the line just ahead of ITA01, UKR01 and GRE01. These four were followed closely by ITA02, FRA02 and FRA01, and then it was open water back to the rest of the field.
Qualifiers: MON01, ESP01, ITA03, ITA09, GBR01, FRA03, SRB01, FRA16, ITA10, FRA08, CRO01, ITA04, ESP02, FRA04, ITA01, UKR02, GRE01, ITA02, FRA02, FRA19
Women’s Coxed Quadruple Sculls (CW4x+) – heats
A top ten finish was necessary in the women’s heats to make it to the A-final. In heat one it was all about FRA09. With two members from the French national team, this boat definitely had the strength to be in front, but did they have the technical knowledge in the waves? Yes. FRA09 led the way around the final buoy to take an open water finish over GRE01 who in turn had open water over GER02.
The second heat of the women’s quad was also a spread field with RUS01 getting out in front. They looked calm and controlled in the flat water, using sheer power to move the boat through the water. ESP02 put up the next best fight finishing 40 seconds behind, with GER01 and GER03 slotting through in the next two places.
Qualifiers: FRA09, GRE01, GER02, FRA06, ESP03, ITA01, FRA04, FRA02, FRA03, GBR01, RUS01, ESP02, GER01, GER03, FRA01, MON01, FRA10, FRA07, ITA03, FRA05
Men’s Solo (CM1x) – heats
The first of the men’s solos took to the water just after midday. The wind had picked up and brought with it a nice chop to challenge these scullers. The most experienced in the waves would have the best chance at crossing the line first. A top seven finish was necessary to make it to tomorrow’s A-final and it was Adolfo Ferrer Marin (ESP02) who was the first to show. He managed to get enough advantage to steer clear of other boats around the turns. His closest challenger was Patrick Loglier (MEX01) who remained within striking distance through the finish line. They had open water over the rest of the field, who slotted in one-by-one to take their place in the A-final.
A neck-to-neck battle between PER01 and SWE01 featured in heat two of the men’s solo. Sweden’s Dennis Gustavsson shot off the start, but he didn’t get far as Peru’s Eduardo Linares was hot on his tail. The fight to stay in the lead pulled these two away from the rest of the field. Coming around the final buoy, Peru took the better course and managed to hold off Sweden by 4 seconds at the line. DEN01 was not too far off the pace and slotted in the third position.
The third and final heat in the men’s solo featured 2015 World Champion Adrian Miramon Quiroga (ESP01), 2013 World Champion, Lars Gumprecht (ESP03) and 2014 silver medallist Simone Martini (ITA01). A clean start from all rowers saw these three pull free of the pack, followed by Mohamed Taieb (TUN01). Taieb recently competed in the Olympic Games and showed that he could easily transition to rougher water. Rounding the third buoy ESP03 made his move and pushed into the lead. He managed to draw clear of the pack. Following in second was ITA01 with open water over ITA01 and TUN01 who were battling it out for the 3rd spot. ITA01 took it just over TUN01.
Qualifiers: ESP02, MEX01, ITA02, FRA01, FRA05, FRA06, GRE01, PER01, SWE01, DEN01, FRA02, FRA19, FRA17, ITA04, ESP03, ITA01, ESP01, TUN01, FRA04, GBR02, FRA12
Men’s Coxed Quadruple Sculls (CM4x+) – heats
The first heat in the men’s quad started at 13:00 in Monaco, just as the wind was blowing hard. The most challenging part of the race was between the third and the fourth buoy where some rowers caught air as the boats crested the waves. ITA01 made the best out of this race taking the lead in the middle of the race. They held on to it through the line to finish 20 seconds ahead of FRA13. The home crowd was pleased to see MON02 come through in the 3rd position.
The conditions were even more challenging for heat 2 of the men’s quad as the afternoon wind picked up. The experienced ITA02 took an enormous lead on the rest of the field. By the second buoy they had clear water and continued to move away. The race behind them, however, was fierce. GER03, GER02, USA01, FRA01, ESP02 and HKG01 were all going stroke for stroke and clashing oars around every turn. After a wobbly start, the crew from the USA seemed to find their sea legs. They made a massive push through the last buoy to move into 4th position and almost overtake GER02 in 3rd. Coming across the line GER03 held off GER02, who in turn held off USA01.
The final heat of the men’s quad proved to be just as thrilling as the first two. Home favourites MON01 hoped to cruise through this heat and on to tomorrow’s A-final. But they were being chased hard by ESP03 and ITA03. Turning the 3rd buoy, MON01 got the better line and took open water. This allowed them to take down their rate in the final stretch and row regally across the line. ESP03 also built up an open-water lead that allowed them to paddle through the finish. Behind them there was a tussle between ITA03 and CZE03, with ITA03 getting their bow across 0.2 seconds ahead of the Czech crew.
Qualifiers: ITA01, FRA13, MON02, UKR01, ESP04, ITA04, FRA08, ITA02, GER03, GER02, USA01, FRA01, ESP02, HKG01, MON01, ESP03, ITA03, CZE03, GER01, FRA02, FRA09
Women’s Double Sculls (CW2x) – heats
The first heat of the women’s double began at 14.40 in Monaco. The wind had enough time to give the water a nice chop and these were starting to be challenging conditions, especially the last leg of the 4km course coming around the shore side to the finish line. As the reigning world champions from Spain were forced to scratch due to injury, this field opened up. ESP02 took the early lead, but an unfortunate crab caused them to come to a halt around the 3rd buoy. DEN01 and FRA12 took advantage of this to sneak into the lead. DEN01 then stretched out their lead and rounded the 4th buoy ahead of the field. FRA12 and ESP02 snatched the next two spots.
Favourites in heat 2 of the women’s double were Diane Delalleau and Nathalie Collet (FRA01). They are two-time World Champions and recently won the French National Championships. However, rounding the fourth buoy they were not in the lead. It was Federica Molinaro and Beatrice Millo (ITA01) charging to the line. ITA01 had held off a great challenge from TUN01 who came through in second, followed by the world champs, FRA01, in 3rd. This will be an exciting A-final.
Qualifiers: DEN01, FRA12, ESP02, GBR02, ESP04, ITA03, FRA03, FRA11, GBR01, ITA04, ITA01, TUN01, FRA01, DEN02, ITA02, FRA08, ESP03, FRA04, FRA02, FRA05