Child Car Monaco Ladies Vintage Rally 2023

The 10th edition of the Ladies Vintage Car Rally took place on Sunday, September 10th, with nearly a hundred women – and for the first time – men stepping out to support Child Care Monaco. This year’s dress code: “The Charleston”, a nod to Prince Rainier as 2023 marks the centenary of his birth.

Now, usually, I would write about how unique this fundraiser is, how it shines a very bright light on women in Monaco and how wonderfully they can come together for a humanitarian cause. I would probably say that Martine Ackermann founded Child Care Monaco in 2012 with a mission to “promote and help the education of disadvantaged children in the world”, and has on-the-ground projects in India, Guatemala and South Africa. And, surely, I would add that Martine not only pours her heart into organising this vintage car rally for women (with the help of Bernhard, Theo, Carla, Annie, Dominque and David Golland), but she also finds the time to support each and every one of us for our events across the year.

Instead, I want to share other rally driver’s experiences. Throughout the day, I spoke with familiar faces and new faces to the Ladies Vintage Car Rally.

Here are the day’s highlights:
8:15am: Breakfast at the Café du Paris. I met up with Olive and Maria, and Tracy. (Scroll down for lots of photos.)

9:45am: Departure of 39 classic cars, including a 1947 Delahaye 135 MS and 1962 1500 Giulia Spider Alfa Romeo, courtesy of the Prince’s Car Collection and its director, Valérie Closier.  (WATCH VIDEO TOP OF ARTICLE).

12pm: The group made their way west past Nice and up to Opio to the secluded (this was a speakeasy, after all) Le Mas des Geraniums, where lunch was followed by roulette, a tombola and dancing, and not necessarily in that order. Here is Béatrice Bordier and Magali Jacquet-Lagreze from CFM-Indosuez Monaco,

12pm: The group made their way west past Nice and up to Opio to the secluded (this was a speakeasy, after all) Le Mas des Geraniums, where lunch was followed by roulette, a tombola and dancing, and not necessarily in that order. Here is Béatrice Bordier and Magali Jacquet-Lagreze from CFM-Indosuez Monaco, which donated the use of six cars.

5 pm: The post-lunch route led to afternoon tea at l’Antre Potes in Eze. Newcomers Simone and Audrey share their thoughts.

7pm: The day comes to an end with a prize giving in the presence of Princess Stephanie at Castelroc, next to the Palace.

Breakfast shots from the Café du Paris.

Valérie Closier, Director of the Prince’s Car Collection.
Bernhard Ackermann leads the way.

Article first published September 11, 2023. All photos and videos copyright Nancy Heslin.

Helene Guillaume

Helene Guillaume was in town today to speak to students at the International University of Monaco. Based in Portugal and working between the UK and US, the 36-year-old entrepreneur grew up Belgium, Hong Kong, Japan and Peru, although her family settled in Monaco a decade ago.

A competitive rugby player who went on to compete in 100-km ultra runs, Half Ironmans, ice swimming and surfing, Helene had little understanding about her own physiology. “I was training and eating like a man,” she recalls. “I wanted to transform an industry through sports performance and female health.”

The “outdoor addict” combined a passion for sport with her Master’s in Finance and Financial Risk Management, as well as her scientific background as a management consultant optimising internal risk models using AI to Fortune 500 companies (including Fannie Mae) to found WILD.AI in 2017 in San Francisco. The app has a free and paid version available on Apple and Google Play.

Although women make up nearly half of the population, a 2018 paper on “Sex Bias in Neuroscience and Biomedical Research” showed that 80% of the animals used in research are male. “These findings cannot be applied to women who are impacted daily by the 500 menstrual cycles they’ll experience over 40 years,” explains the first-time mom. “More so, a 22-year-old taking the pill has different nutritional needs, physiology and digestion than a 47-year-old perimenopausal woman.”

Using the catchphrase “Unleashing the beast in female athletes,” Helene and her 10 employees want to radically advance female health by building the largest record of female datasets— across all ages, life stages and ethnicities—to help women understand their bodies. “Based on fitness trackers, blood tests and pap smears, women have vast amounts of data but it’s not stored in one place. We understand our cars more than our own bodies.”

Through WILD.AI’s research and algorithms, the app can not only predict that in two days a woman will experience bloating or menstrual pain, but also advise how to alleviate these symptoms. It can indicate that during ovulation, when the body is particularly strong, workouts can be pushed, and even be able to foretell a window of a higher sex drive.

According to Statista, the femtech market in 2021 was worth some $51 billion worldwide and is expected to reach $103 billion by 2030. Helene, a former Hedge Fund quant, says angel investors and advisors have been critical to the startup’s growth, enabling WILD.AI to reach some of the most renowned researchers in female health, such as Dr. Stacy Sims, senescence, and human performance.

Funding early on came from the London-based deep tech incubator Entrepreneur First (which includes board member and Linkedin cofounder, Reid Hoffman, and is backed by Greylock Partners, Founders Fund and McKinsey), as well as The Refiners in San Francisco, started by three French entrepreneurs, including Géraldine Le Meur (LeWeb).

In August 2021, Helene appeared on Dragon’s Den to pitch her startup (WATCH Video below) and today WILD.AI has partnerships with Adidas, Garmin and Oura, which she has worked non-stop to develop. “Running a startup is like getting fired a few times a day,” she shares enthusiastically. “Between investors who pull out or strategic partners who don’t come on board … and being a founder is way less sexy than it sounds.”

Article first published April 27, 2023.

Top Marques Monaco 2023

This year’s Avant-Premier at Top Marques Monaco was legendary. Some 1,500 car enthusiasts attended the VIP preview on Wednesday, June 7 and, according to insiders, “at least half a dozen classic cars and motorbikes sold on the first night”.

Ticket sales for the 18th edition are up by 35% on last year as auto aficionados pour into the Grimaldi Forum to check out six global launches, 100 exhibitors and 150 supercars, classic cars, motorbikes and super boats. There is no shortage of Instagram stories #topmarques starring shiny McLarens, Bugattis and Aston Martins, all vying for attention amongst Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Porsche and Ferrari.

Sure, the usual supercar suspects are pretty to look at but dig a little deeper at Top Marques and you’ll find some awe-inspiring nuggets from Monaco residents. The Ineos Grenadier is an “uncompromising 4×4” inspired by INEOS Chairman, Jim Ratcliffe, and nanoFlowcell founder and CTO Nunzio La Vecchia introduces the world’s first 100% EV that is battery-free and can drive up to 2,000 kilometres before refuelling. 

Nunzio presented the E-roadster QUANTiNO twentyfive (VIDEO ABOVE) to a group from the Monaco Women in Motorsport Commission (Commission des Femmes dans le sport automobile, pictured). Explaining how the car is not charged like conventional electric cars, he had the undivided attention of 30 women, no easy feat. “Our water-treatment system turns saltwater, brackish water or wastewater into carrier liquids for our specially nano-structured molecules – the actual bi-ION charge carriers.”

The electric car alternative, which can be refuelled with electrolytes sourced from 90% salt water, has been in development over eight years with over 500,000 test kilometres.

Nunzio studied quantum mechanics and quantum physics, and worked in R&D in the field of alternative energy technologies before he founded nanoFlowcell AG in 2013 (originally registered as JUNO Technology Products AG). The following year, he introduced the QUANT E, the world’s first electric car powered by his nanoFlowcell drive which had its premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show.

Ever since, the trademarked proprietary energy and n-AI technologies have become uniquely synonymous with the company’s “disruptive innovation power”. NanoFlowcell has registered offices in Kilchberg (Switzerland) and London (UK) and went public in 2021. Nunzio, who has been a Monaco resident for five years, hopes the nanoFlowcell Holdings plc subsidiary which opened in New York in December 2022 will help take the technology beyond the automobile sector, toward the aerospace and transport industries, and smart city development.

As for the QUANTiNO twentyfive, which you can visit at Stand C6 at Top Marques Monaco until Sunday, Nunzio hints the E-roadster could be brought to market by the end of the year … for sale in Monaco.

Top Marques Monaco is open Saturday, June 10 (10am-7pm) and Sunday, June 11 (10am-6pm). Tickets can be purchased online or at the Grimaldi Forum – €45/adult and €25/children 8-16, with free admission for under-8s. This weekend there is a Lego workshop by Bricks 4 Kidz. €2 for every regular ticket sold will be donated to the Monaco non-profit association Monaco Disease Power.

Videographer Martine Ackermann.

PinkWave Monaco

PinkWave Monaco sailing team. Photo: Martin Messmer

PinkWave Monaco was founded in March 2019 by what member Femke Doeksen describes as “a bunch of crazy Dutch-speaking women”. As the Monaco resident explains, “Like nowadays, there was hardly any female participation at the annual Primo Cup. Out of fifty or sixty participating teams, only two were female. So, the conclusion was that if their sailing boat could make it from Start to Finish, they would automatically end up on the podium in the Ladies’ ranking.”

Initiated by the energetic Anne Schouten, PinkWave Monaco was born. Today the sailing team consists of 45 women ages 24 to 76 ranging in levels from absolute beginner to high-profile regatta expert. And typical of Monaco, members come from all different backgrounds and nationalities.

British Olympic gold medallist Saskia Clark moved to the Principality last year and has been racing regularly since then. Saskia is supporting the PinkWave idea as an outstanding initiative for Monaco and the efforts to create a solid team to get more women racing regularly. “She is positive that she can guide the decision-making process during the racing and support PinkWave in developing its strong team,” says Anne.

From March 25 to 26, 2023, the Monaco Yacht Club will host their first-ever Ladies Sailing Cup. “PinkWave is not only about being a female sailing team amongst the highly successful predominately male Monaco crews. It’s also a statement we wanted to make, that everything, no matter which age or level, is possible if you keep on pursuing a dream. Needless to say, we are looking tremendously forward to such an event at our club,” Anne enthuses.

PinkWave member Kathrin Hoyos recently bought a pre-owned J/70, to be more independent and to be able to take part in regattas at the team’s discretion. This is the only female-owned J/70 on the YCM. “Hopefully, there are many more to come. The level of sailing on the Monaco Sportsboat Winter series organised by the Monaco Yacht Club is highly competitive and entirely dominated by professional male sailors. Most J/70 sailors of the PinkWave team are between 30 and 60 years, and most of us are, yet, far away from performing on a highly professional level. Our focus is less on the final results at the end of the races but more on the progress of adapting to the conditions and, most importantly, on succeeding as a team. The motto of Pink Wave remains: Progress, Fun, and Freedom.”

PinkWave Monaco competes in a wide range of regattas and various social activities already in the Monaco Yacht Club (YCM). In 2022, PinkWave participated for the first time at the regatta “Dames des Saint Tropez” with the YCM Flagship TUIGA. Much of TUIGA’s crew consists of PinkWave ladies, participating in an entire circuit of Classical Sailing regattas.

At the J/70 World Championships, which took place last October 14-22 at the Yacht Club Monaco, PinkWave Monaco had one boat at the start helmed by Anne Rodelato. “Three years of preparation went into this,” shares Kathrin. “The team ended up ranking first amongst the Ladies’ Teams. One of our PinkWave members, Axelle Foucaud, is on the Monaco team that became Vice-World Champions.”

Additionally, each year several PinkWave members participate in the Monaco Sportboat Winter Series and for two years in a row, PinkWave Monaco has participated in the Helga Cup in Hamburg, the biggest Women’s regatta in the world.

“Worldwide, the number of female sailors and female regattas is increasing rapidly. Only a handful of European countries organised Ladies-only Regattas two years ago. Since then, this number has more than doubled. The world’s biggest annual women-only regatta in Germany hosts over 70 teams – some 300 women. In France, the Ladies’ Sailing Circuit consists of seven races,” Anne says.

She adds, “Although we are quite competitive, our main objective remains to have fun, the love of sailing and after-sailing. We show constant perseverance, believe in ourselves and support amongst each other. Solidarity amongst women overcomes the harshest criticism by men. All in all, we are always considered the underdogs or outsiders, which pushes us to be the best version of ourselves on water and land.”

PinkWave believes supporting women in sport is essential. “We connect and reach out to other female sailors worldwide – so easy via social media – and we actively maintain dialogues with like-minded women worldwide, striving to create a true movement of support and understanding and an environment which feels safe and non-judgmental”

In addition to the 2023 sailing calendar (see “PinkWave 2023” below) an upcoming highlight of the year will be the participation of PinkWave in the “Lady Liberty Regatta” in New York from September 8 to 9 on J/24 class, an 8 m long boat with a crew of five. The race is organised by the Manhattan Yacht Club. “A dream coming true,” reveals Anne. “A Monaco women’s only team with a huge Monaco flag on the spinnaker sailing racing around the Statue of Liberty. We are very excited that we were invited to this extraordinary event and look forward to representing the spirit of the women of the Principality of Monaco with pride.”

Want to support PinkWave? “Spread the word,” says Anne. “We are also open to accepting sponsorships to support us in pursuing our various activities and participation with regattas.

“Sailing is a very cool sport, hugely beneficial physically and mentally, and accessible right here in the Principality. Those interested are invited to contact the Section Sportive of the Yacht Club Monaco or at We are looking forward to welcoming more female sailors within the Principality!”

For more, see the PinkWave Monaco website.

PinkWave Calendar 2023

Over the past two years, PinkWave Monaco (PWM) has built strong bonds with female sailors from Germany, Holland, Belgium, the UK, the US, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Dubai. From March 25-26, the YCM will organise its first Ladies’ Sailing Regatta. Several PinkWave Monaco members will take part in 2023 in the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, which always ends with the famous Credit Suisse Primo Cup on the first weekend in March.

After the success of 2022, PinkWave Monaco will again participate in May in the Dames de St Tropez regatta, hopefully with two ships and 30 female sailors in total. As in the last three years, PWM will participate in the Helga Cup in Hamburg and possibly at some of the French Female Regattas organized by the Federation Francais de Voile. PinkWave members will again join in the Mediterranean Classical Regatta circuit, such as Les Voiles d’Antibes, Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, and other famous regattas like the Palermo-Monte Carlo, the Rolex Giraglia or the SNIM in Marseille. “The advantage of the diversity and the spread of our team is that in any given race in the Mediterranean, most of the time there is a PinkWave member participating!” says Anne Schouten.

Article first published January 22, 2023.