There was drama on the water at the World Rowing Championships on Lake Karapiro today as New Zealand single sculler Mahe Drysdale stopped his semifinal after less than 100 metres of racing.

Drysdale, the defending world champion, halted the race to protest the fact that a sticker on his boat was causing drag and slowing him down.

The 'World Rowing Championships' sticker was attached to Drysdale's boat before the race start after he failed to arrive at the semifinal with the official sticker emblazoned on his boat.

Drysdale was penalised for the indiscretion and following his protest was in danger of being disqualified. However race marshals let the protest stand and restarted the race.

The New Zealander eventually won the semifinal making it a near perfect day for the home nation, with three other crews progressing into finals.

Earlier Eric Murray and Hamish Bond powered into the men's pairs final, finishing ahead of Great British rivals Andy Triggs Hodge and Peter Reed by two boat-lengths.

The two crews will face off again in Saturday's final.

The defending world champions started slowly as the Italian crew went out to an early lead but Bond and Murray rowed a strong second half to the race to take out victory.

Women's single sculler Emma Twigg continued the fine start to the day for New Zealand crews by finishing third in her semifinal, qualifying for Saturday's final.

World champion Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus cruised to victory in Twigg's heat.

The men's eight crew became the 12th New Zealand crew to reach an A final when they staged a comeback to finish second in their repechage.

The women's eights crew were the only New Zealand team to miss out on a finals spot today after finishing third in their repechage. Only the top two crews qualified for the final.

Adaptive rower Daniel McBride has the chance to bring home New Zealand's first medal.

- Herald online