They did it! Cap Optimist paddleboards across the Med

Six Frenchwomen have completed a gruelling 1,800-kilometre non-stop journey from Monaco to Athens on paddleboards, all in the name of charity.  

It’s hard to imagine that paddleboarding 1,800 kilometres is a warm-up for anything, but for the intrepid women of Cap Optimist, that is exactly what it was.

Their recently completed voyage, taking them from Monaco to Athens, is the precursor to an even bigger challenge the women are setting for themselves, namely an 8,000- kilometre trip between Peru and the French Polynesian island of Moorea in Tahiti coming up in January 2023.

The Monaco to Greece trip took the six women, Stéphanie Barneix, Emmanuelle Bescheron, Margot Calvet, Alexandra Lux,  Basques Marie Goyeneche and Itziar Abascal, 13 days and nights, rowing around the clock for over 320 cumulative hours, before setting feet on dry land again on Saturday 18th June in the port city of Piraeus.

The athletes encountered some extraordinary conditions on their voyage, facing thunder and rain storms, a swell topping out at two metres high, strong headwinds and even an unexpected encounter with a shark.

These difficulties have made the women even stronger in their resolve, as well as bonding them closer than ever to face the next big challenge.

Of course, it’s love of the sea and of the sport that inspired the Cap Optimist team to take on this remarkable feat, but it also has a human side. The event, supported by the Prince Albert II Foundation, the Hellenic Community of Monaco, Greek Minister Yannis Plakiotakis, the Mayor of Piraeus Ioannis Moralis, the Yacht Club of Piraeus, and Sophia and Kostantinos Tsouvelekakis, was a fundraiser for Hope Team East.

All funds raised by sponsors, friends and supporters are being donated to the ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, as well as the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

For more info about Cap Optimist and Hope Team East, visit the website on


See Monaco Life’s Instagram page for videos of the Cap Optimist arrival in Athens…