Monaco Tribune is showcasing a Monegasque sports club every month. For July, the focus is on the Société Nautique de Monaco (Monaco Nautical Society), which is organising many courses for young rowers again this summer. 

The oldest sports club in the Principality, the Société Nautique de Monaco was born in 1953 when the Société des Régates split. Since then, there is sailing at the Yacht Club de Monaco and rowing at the Société Nautique de Monaco.

It is a club with a history, and nearly 300 licensed members. It has trained many champions, like Quentin Antognelli, who competed last summer at the Tokyo Olympics.

“At the time, rowing was the sport of kings, a noble discipline, that everyone was betting on”, explains Olivier-Vincent Marechal, in charge of the club’s communication. “It was like today’s football, but rowing has lost some of its lustre over the years.”

Prince Albert II is the SNM’s honorary president and has always had a special affinity for the discipline. His maternal grandfather, John Kelly, was a great rowing champion. He won two Olympic gold medals, in 1920 in Antwerp and in the Paris games of 1924.

©Société Nautique de Monaco archives – Prince Albert II with the American Vesper Boat Club crew

Affiliated to the French Rowing Federation, the Société Nautique de Monaco (SNM), chaired by Mathias Raymond, perpetuates the huge tradition of its founders and organises competitions in the Principality every year, including the Prince Albert II Challenge, which concludes the sea rowing season.

With several specialities, including sea rowing, which is practised by many recreational members, the club has a base at Lake Saint-Cassien, located in the Pays de Fayence region. Young licence holders who take part in competitions are therefore able to hone their skills all year round.

©Stéphan Maggi/COM – Quentin Antognelli

And as is customary for the past few years, summer courses complete the Nautical Society’s offering. The courses are run by Daniel Fauché, SNM Base Leader. It is an opportunity for youngsters to go out to sea in the morning, before a well-deserved lunch at the club’s restaurant.

“We provide an introduction to rowing for girls and boys from 10 to 15 years of age,” explains Daniel Fauché. “The goal is for young people to then enrol when the new season starts in September.”  And, who knows, perhaps become the sport’s future champions one day?