Queens Birthday Weekend was hopefully fairly restful for most of us, but not for the capable and hardy bunch of four Masters men from the Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club.

Trevor Rush, Richard Brock, Colin Wright and Murray Stewart headed down with a few boats on a small trailer to Lake Hayes, near Queenstown, for the South Island Masters Championships.

They competed in a 6km race on the Saturday and the normal 1km Masters races on the Sunday.

As expected, conditions were very chilly and dead flat water, which is the No 1 request of rowers.


There were approximately 300 competitors, up about 50 percent on last year, which might be due to the stunning location.

The standard was quite high, particularly in the younger grades, with a number of ex-internationals using the occasion for a good reunion.

As Mr Rush would say, "there's no such thing as good luck, hard training reaps results" and that's exactly what they did.

Between the four of them, AWRC won three gold, four silver and a bronze medal, which is a pretty good return rate and nice reward for all their hard work and long travel.

The 2020 South Island Masters will be held in Lake Hood, near Ashburton, so hopefully a few more locals might be able to make the trek down, but for now the next big regatta is the 2019 NZ Masters Champs in Twizel, September 14-15.

As previously mentioned, the next Winter Series race is over 6km on Sunday, starting at 9.30am opposite the National Library Building, turning opposite Caffray Avenue and finishing at the 2km finishline by the Railway Bridge.

Entries are $2 per seat, with all levels of rowers, kayakers and Waka Ama crews welcome, and entries are due to whanganuirowing@gmail.com by 12pm tomorrow.

The morning tea is at Union Boat Club straight after racing, with half of every crew needing to be present to qualify to win the Blinkhorne and Carroll spot prize.


Unfortunately, one crew that won't be racing this weekend is the Aramoho Men's Coxless Four of Tom Monaghan, Luke Watts, Hamish Maxwell and Hugh Pawson.

Although Maxwell is training in Christchurch, the other three are training 9-11 sessions per week, with Levi Carroll filling in as required, to prepare to race in the Wyfold Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta, July 3-7.

This 180-year-old race, with Queen Elizabeth as patron and famous names as stewards like Sir Steven Redgrave and Lord Wigran and Emeritus Bishop of Menevia, is raced over one mile, 550 yards (2112m) and races only two-a-breast at any one time, with booms along the course.

The Whanganui crew won't find out until June 23 when they depart New Zealand if they are straight into the main draw of 32 boats or if they have to go through the qualification race on June 28, a decision solely in the hands of the stewards.

The Henley racing and the whole social experience will be fantastic and well deserved after some hard winter training at present.

I was fortunate to race at Henley in 1993 – the first time they let women compete in the entire length of the race (through the enclosures), with the old theory that we might "pass out" going that far.

Yet, of course, modern physiology has proven women are better suited for endurance events then men due to our higher fat percentage, for child rearing.

Nonetheless, it was a very splendid experience indeed and fortunately I didn't pass out.

Luke Watts and Thomas Monaghan, who are off to compete at the Henley Royal Regatta next month.
Luke Watts and Thomas Monaghan, who are off to compete at the Henley Royal Regatta next month.