Age and experience again dominated the Blinkhorne & Carroll Winter Series on the Whanganui River on Sunday.
On offer for the final race of the series was the Dick Tonks Small Boat trophy hat, which went to the Aramoho Whanganui RC and Union Boat Club masters composite crew of Trevor Rush, Richard Brock, Martin Bridger and Colin Wright.
The four paddled the 6km trip in 20m 53.73s, for a prognostic score of 95.24 per cent, as final placings are decided on the highest percentage of the world record time for each kind of boat – due to the series being open to rowboats, kayaks, and wakas of all crew sizes.
The composite crew's percentage was comfortably ahead of the runnersup in the form of husband and wife Union BC masters crew Bob and Jennie Evans, who finished with a 91.93 prognostic with their 24m 41.53s time.
Third home was another composite crew of younger male and female rowers simply out for the fun of it and not eligible for the Tonks Trophy.
The crew featured Niamh Monk, Jaimee Bridger, Luke Watts, Thomas Monaghan, Jack Pringle, Ella Dudley, Cameron Lawrence, Levi Carroll and cox Jenny Monk, with all of them being in the senior category except for Bridger, who was club.
They had line honours for the day with the quickest finish of 20m 7.72s, which was enough for a prognostic score of 91.91 per cent.
Whanganui Collegiate's Under 18 rower Blake Hogan was impressive coming home in fourth place in a single boat, scoring a prognostic of 91.83 per cent from his 23m 37.78s time.
Winter series organiser and master of Collegiate rowing Gus Scott was happy with Hogan's effortt.
"This is essentially the beginning of Blake's preparation for Maadi Cup in March where he will be challenging for the national secondary schools under-18 title. His was an impressive performance today," Scott said.
"I was also impressed with the turnout of rowers from out of town.
"We had competitors from the Clifton Club in Taranaki, Horowhenua and Wellington, and that was great to see."
The masters crew of Andrew Bealing and Kevin Horan from Horowhenua RC would round out the Top 5, closely followed by Gus Berghan and Kerry Dombroski from Clifton.
"Most of the masters rowers, apart from Bob and Jennie Evans, have only just returned from the New Zealand Masters in Twizel two weeks ago, so they were obviously fit," Scott said.
In total, 30 boats finished the final race of the series, which was the third-largest turnout of the six events, although a good bounce back from September when only 16 craft were entered.
Held monthly, there were 25 entries for the first race in May, which was won by the Whanganui Outrigger Canoe Club crew of Howard Hyland, Jock Lee, Garth Hammond, Herewia Taputoro, Chris Kofoed and steerer Bruce Butters.
The Outriggers made it a double in June, when they won in a series-high field of 34 craft.
It was the Hogan family to the fore in July, when Grace Hogan (club) and Philippa Baker-Hogan (E Master) won amongst a 26-strong field.
Horowhenua RC's Bruce Tate teamed with clubmate Horan to win the August event in a field of 31 boats, with Tate having finished third at the previous two series races as a singles competitor.
Baker-Hogan joined the Outriggers in getting two victories for the season when she teamed with Tash Carver to win in the smaller 16-boat field for September.