Auckland Grammar had their new skiffs on display as the new rowing season took to the waters at Lake Pupuke for the annual Head of the Harbour regatta.
While there was plenty of interest in the new boats, old rivals MAGS had their time in the sun too as they turned the clock back 30 years in snatching victory in the under-16 boys' eights.
AGS had their new $50,000 boat - made in Italy by Filippi from carbon fibre and Kevlar - on the lake but they could not get the extra they needed to edge Sacred Heart in the hotly contested glamour under-18 eights.
The rowing programme at AGS has benefited from the generosity of old boy Neville Crichton, who was behind the fundraising efforts which had five skiffs shipped from Italy for the new season.
The master in charge of rowing at the school, John Etty, paid tribute to Crichton's generous sponsorship and praised the efforts of others in assisting the purchase of some of the best boats in the world.The Italian boats are also used by the New Zealand team and other national teams.Their purchase was made possible by the favourable exchange rate and a combination of generous donations, energetic fundraising by boys and parents and assistance from a shipping company and boat painter.
The Auckland Grammar rowing programme involves 63 boys (rowers and coxes) and six coaches.
The club is run by a committee of volunteer parents, with assistance from Etty.
The boys train on the Tamaki River six days a week from 5.45am, finishing around 8am. They then need to be at school in time for the 8.50am assembly.
The on-water training is supplemented in the gym and on rowing machines after school.
Last year AGS won three gold and three silver medals at the Maadi Cup regatta - their best haul yet.
Recent AGS old boys who have continued to wave the Auckland Grammar flag include Michael Arms, who represented New Zealand in the quadruple sculls at last year's Olympics, Louis van Velthooven, who represented New Zealand at the Youth Olympics, and Simon Longuett-Higgins.
Longuett-Higgins and van Velthooven are in this year's national under-21 squad with Joel Bateman, last year's senior eight cox and AGS head boy.
Adam Smith (the 2011 captain of rowing) has gone to row at Yale University, and Bateman (last year's captain) is heading to Harvard to row and study.
MAGS, continuing some encouraging results in the school's return to the water after a long absence, claimed that eights title and with it the first championship win in more than 30 years.
Powering their way to victory over the 900m course, the MAGS crew of Dylan Dodds (coxswain), Carl Pracey (stroke), Evander Tangiiti, Adam Callander, Jonathan Winter, Jarvis Palmer, Jed Bradley, Luke Shortland and Matthew Smith pushed Sacred Heart back to second, with AGS claiming third.
Earlier the crew, split into two fours, picked up gold and silver in the two divisions of the coxed four.
The MAGS under-17 four of Liam Ferguson, Sane-Va Ginnen, Sam Perry, Todd Martin and coxswain Bertie Carnell finished third to further underline the progress that is being made on the school's return to the water.
Elsewhere, the boys' under-18 lightweight four finished second, with third placings claimed in under-18 single sculls (Grayson Dauphin), under-16 sculler Marnina Hyland, the boys' under-18 novice eight, the boys' under-17 four, and the girls' under-16 double of Hyland and Charlotte Pearce.