It is a full-on time of year in the Whanganui Rowing community with the summer season having three regattas in a row.
Events started with the Johns Trophy in Waitara on November 30, then Whanganui's major regatta in the Jury Cup last weekend, while the Karapiro Christmas Regatta with 75 Boat Trailers and 2300 rowers competing takes place this weekend, starting tomorrow at Lake Karapiro.
Taranaki's Clifton Rowing Club is a member of the Whanganui Rowing Association and one of their stalwarts, Grace Thrush, travels on a monthly basis to nightly meetings in Whanganui all year round, while also having been the Regatta Secretary for all the years I can remember (over 30).
That makes Clifton a key member of our association, and it was great to see a full turn out from the Whanganui clubs to their Waitara River for a stunning day of competitive but fun racing on November 30.
In the closest regatta ever recorded, it appeared Whanganui Collegiate and Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club had tied for the Johns Trophy, with Clifton RC just one point behind.
But a bit of video evidence showed AWRC had actually won the overall Johns Trophy with 87 points, ahead of Collegiate on 83, Clifton 78 and Union Boat Club on 44.
The Peter Lucas Memorial Trophy for the final Mixed Open Eights race was won by half a boat length by Collegiate, with Clifton second and Aramoho third.
The Jury Cup, which was scheduled as a two day regatta in case last weekend's weather and water conditions deteriorated.
It was ably run by the Chief Umpire in Simon Walker, supported by Gavin Parsons and a raft of wonderful volunteers, who kept the regatta on time, safe and fair.
A whopping 475 rowers competed from 10 clubs but approximately 30 schools.
The overall winners trophy went to the well-drilled Star Boating Club, with 189 points, lead by head coach, Sean Durkin, with AWRC second on 124 points, followed by Wellington RC with 99.
It's looking like a promising season for Whanganui clubs with a number of early stand up performances at the Jury Cup.
A few races I was impressed with included Collegiate's large group of Under 15-16 boy and girl rowers, with three entries in the Girls Novice Coxed Quad.
The team of S Hayes, G Murphy, E McKinlay, A Symes and cox B Jones took out Division 1 nicely.
UBC's Novice Women's Quad of E Buenius, M Rofka, M Pfannkuchen, A Keenan and cox S Hill (cox) had a good win, while AWRC's Under 16 eight of M Sturdee, J Black, J Turner, K Siemonek, J Clear, J Barrett, D Benfell and cox C Monk looked good and no doubt pleased head coach Jane Detwailer in winning that race.
You can see the winter training coming through from the likes of AWRC's Georgina Ross and Messina Su'a, in winning the Girl's Under 16 Double and the effervescent Tom Monaghan, Jonty Thompson, Guy Thomson and Luke Watts looked sharp in claiming the Men's Open Four and a few other races.
Watts also showed good form in winning the Men's Open Single from Collegiate's Blake Hogan and Wellington's Arie Magasiva – both North Island Under 18 rowers.
Collegiate's Under 17-18 Girls, as expected, are looking strong, with the Girl's Under 17 Four of J Mayberry, H Lennox, A du Fresne, M Hazelhurst and cox B Stevenson-Watt winning well.
Jordan Manville very sharp in the winning the Boy's Under 17 Single, while Clifton's Terri Wyatt and Tori Cox had a hard fought win in the Women's Open Double.
All clubs and squads will be looking to check out their form against the "best for the rest" of the North Island and occasionally other squads in New Zealand and overseas in Lake Karapiro.
They can also check out the form of our NZ Elite rowers, who are in major preparation for spots at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team, so hopefully our Novice rowers get down the lanes at Karapiro without too much pain in the last event before Christmas.