A big downpour greeted rafters as they prepared to set off on the Whanganui River in Plumber Dan's Raft Race as Vintage Weekend came to a close.

About 10 teams with creative rafts competed in the event, which raised money for Diabetes NZ.

It all started at about midday on Monday - slightly earlier than planned because competitors and viewers were getting cold waiting as the rain came down.

Rafts included Thunderbird 3, another with a barbecue attached and powered by bicycles as well as a group of blokes drinking beer on a floating park table.

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"The weather dried up," said organiser Daniel Goldsworthy. "We started early because everybody was getting wet and cold. As we started off the weather fined up, the wind dropped and it was really good.

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"Good competition, good race, good innovative rafts. I do like the one with the barbecue on the front of the raft, it was very good. A lot of effort gets put into these rafts. Thunderbird 3 - the girls there put a lot of effort into theirs."

Goldsworthy admitted numbers were down on the previous year's race because people were still away on holiday.

"It's usually a month later but because of the Caboodle weekend people wanted it this weekend ... but it will be bigger next year and a bit later on."

The winner was a team called Iron Alley, led by Todd Edmonds.

"Good day, great day," said Edmonds. "Bit wet to start with ... but yeah it was good fun."

"The top designer from KZ 7 put a lot of time and effort into drawing this plan up," Edmonds said of their team raft. "Bit of technology in there. Made with a bit of pride from Ali Arc [Industries]. A great win - back to back!"

The team won $300 but said they would donate that back to Diabetes NZ.

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Caleb McGregor was on the boat powered by bicycles and spent his time on the river turning sausages.

"I cooked 10 sossies on the raft," he said.

At the finish line McGregor had leftover sausages and started an impromptu sausage sizzle with a small line of kids hungrily waiting.

"The race was really fun," he said. "Our raft was a little bit slower than last year but you know, we'll make more modifications."

The bike-powered floating barbecue makes its way down the Whanganui River.
The bike-powered floating barbecue makes its way down the Whanganui River.