Autumn is a very settled time of year on the Awa, with long periods of flat water the prominent feature.

There is also some fairly mild and sunny weather to entice the water sports community, including our rowers, back onto the river, although competitively these months are mainly for Masters and our international rowers to shine.

The first of the Blinkhorne and Carroll Whanganui Winter series was held on May 12 in sublime conditions, with the 5km event starting at the 2km finish line by the Aramoho Bridge.

Competitors proceeded upstream and turned opposite Stewart St, racing 4km downstream to the National Library Building.

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There were 25 individuals and crews from local rowing and some Waka clubs entered in this first event, with the fastest time of 19 minutes going to the Aramoho Rowing Club (AWRC) Quadruple Scull, who are South Island Masters bound, in Trevor Rush, Richard Brock, Colin Wright and Murray Stewart.

Their Henley on Thames-focused club mates Luke Watts and Tom Monaghan, racing a coxless pair, were just 11 seconds slower.

Overall Prognostic winners were the Whanganui Outrigger Canoe Club crew of Howard Hyland, Jock Lee, Garth Hammond, Herewia Taputoro, Bruce Butters, Chris Kofoed and steerer Bruce Buttars, finishing in 23m 25s but more importantly 103.85 percent prognostic.

Watts and Monaghan were next on 89.34 percent, then an all female Waka Ama crew third in 89.2, Jack Pringle and Cameron Lawrence fourth in 88.59, and Rush's crew rounding out the Top 5 in 87.15.

The next Winter Series race is over 6km on Sunday, June 9, starting 9.30am opposite the National Library Building, turning opposite Caffray Ave and finishing at the 2km finish by the Railway Bridge.

Entries are $2 per seat, open to rowers, kayakers and Waka Ama crews, with entries due to whanganuirowing@gmail.com by noon the day prior.

The 132nd Rowing New Zealand AGM and Awards Dinner was hosted by Wellington Rowing Association last weekend.

Of particular interest to Whanganui was the important recognition awarded to our Volunteer of the Year in Jemal Weston.

Jemal is the Assistant Area Commander of Fire and Emergency NZ, but got introduced to rowing when his daughter started in 2014.

Like many parents, Jemal got quickly involved with rowing, particularly adding his mechanical and crisis management skills to his club and association.

He is currently the president of Union Boat Club and a delegate on the Whanganui Rowing Association, the Chief Umpire at local regattas and holds senior leadership roles at most regattas – including Maadi Cup and NZ Rowing Championships – in his own time.

Bob Evans did not seek re-election to the Board of RNZ after two terams of three years, and we thank him for his service.

Finally, in Whanganui, we are part of the Central Region Rowing Performance Centre (RPC), currently based in Blenheim.

The four RPC's around NZ are the key feeder system to the RNZ Elite Pathways.
In the Winter months, the RPC's hold selected camps and other support to athletes in the 1-2 years prior to them leaving school and who may wish to trial to enter the RPC.

This weekend, May 24-26, Collegiate's Leo Hanna, Blake Hogan, Sam Yorsten, Tim Haldane, Charlotte McKinlay, Charlotte Robb, Phoebe Collier, Alyana du Fresne and Bella Stevenson-Watt have been selected to attend the first self funded camp in Blenheim.

Zeah Brewer, Niamh Monk, Levi Carroll and Jack Pringle of Aramoho are also going, as are Tomasi Connor and Neo Tichbon of Union.