Testing a notoriously difficult course in coastal rowing, crews took to the water in Arcachon. The course spanned 6000 metres with the unique feature of two bow-side turns and two port-side turns. It required competitors to handle multiple challenging elements including waves, tides and currents. Technical precision became important in certain portions of the race, when the current was made stronger by the tide.

Many of the winners were also medallists at the French Coastal Rowing Championships in May. In the women’s solo, Edwige Alfred battled her way to gold ahead of Jessica Berra. Alfred has a number of medals at the world championship level, including bronze at last year’s World Rowing Coastal Championships. Berra has also been on the world podium, including a world title in 2015.

2018 Open de France, coastal rowing, Arcachon, France © José Cervera

Eleven crews were entered in the men’s solo, making it the biggest field at the event. Pierrick Ledard led the way home ahead of Guillaume Blanc and finished with more than a minute of open water. At last year’s World Rowing Coastal Championships, Ledard finished 7th, but he did claim to top spot among the French crews.

In the women’s double, 2017 world silver medallists Nathalie Collet and Diane Delalleau had just a three second advantage over the crew from Libourne. Saint-Malo picked up wins in both the men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, while a mixed crew from Aix-les-Bains and Cherbourg won the men’s double.

The Open de France also offered the new category for coastal rowing, the mixed double. This category will be raced at the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships for the first time. The win went to the formidable force of Edwige Alfred and Pierrick Ledard.

The Open de France serves as the ranking for French crews who will participate at the World Rowing Coastal Championships from 11-14 October, 2018. In compliance with the FISA rules and regulations, federations are asked to rank the crews participating in the event. The top-ranked crews from each federation have the ability to go directly to the heats, while the other crews must participate in a qualification race the day before the heats. The Open de France was created to accommodate the ranking of composite crews, which are allowed at the world championships, but not at the French Coastal Rowing Championships.

Open de France results here.

Information on the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships here.