South Island Masters regatta report

South Island Masters regatta, 4–5 June

Masters rowers enjoyed sunshine and mirror-like conditions on the Taieri River and Lake Waihola at the South Island Masters at Queen’s Birthday. Some 220 competitors attended from as far afield as Auckland and Bluff, and it was a great opportunity to rekindle friendships and rivalries.

On the Saturday, 34 crews contested the Bridge-to-Bridge long-distance race on the Taieri. Beginning at Henley, all crews rowed 8.5kms downriver to Taieri Mouth where they assembled just short of the river mouth, before being set off at one-minute intervals to race back up the gorge to the bridge. It really is a challenging and spectacular course.

Sunday’s racing was on Lake Waihola. Crews from 23 clubs enjoyed a day of hotly contested racing in all classes over the 1000m course. The weekend had a tinge of nostalgia for many as they recalled racing on Waihola in the seventies and eighties, before the creation of Lake Ruataniwha shifted racing to Twizel.

The regatta is hosted in turn by the various clubs in the motu, and Picton has volunteered for 2023. Mark it on your calendar, and shake the moths out of your blazers.


North Island crews enjoying Emersons, the beer sponsor

Lake Waihola, South Island Masters Rowing

Regatta dog

Long distance Taieri Gorge 8.5km race

South Island Masters rowing regatta 2022

Timing team at Lake Waihola


A 70km row from Awaroa to Nelson

A 70km row from Awaroa to Nelson celebrated two of the Nelson rowing community’s ‘remarkable men’ over the weekend. 

The Golden Edge Nelson Rowing Club hosted the first Myles Sellers Memorial Row on Saturday in honour of Nelson man Myles Sellers, who died last year. 

Myles’ wife Margarette says the day was emotional, but she and her two daughters are so thankful for the support of the community. She says Myles had a long involvement in the club as a rower going back to his school days and had represented the club at a national level. In more recent times he had reconnected with past rowing friends and had been coaching at the club. “For Myles, it was a way of encouraging people to do a sport that they perhaps thought that they couldn’t do, and giving back to the rowing community.” 

Nelson Rowing Club president Grant Wilson says Myles was an outstanding member of the Nelson Rowing Club.

“Rowing was in Myles’ blood. His great uncle was Darcy Hadfield, the first ever NZ Olympic medallist.”

Darcy won the bronze medal in the single scull in 1920 and subsequently went on to hold the Professional World Sculling Championship title.

“When Darcy was a schoolboy growing up at Awaroa, he would often row a 14ft clinker dinghy across 35 miles (56km) of Tasman Bay for a day out in Nelson, sparking the inspiration for Saturday’s event,” Grant says. “The rowing club saw this as a very fitting way to remember Myles by following in Darcy’s footsteps and starting the event from Darcy’s home in Awaroa.” 

The memorial row followed the coastline from Abel Tasman’s Awaroa Lodge with accessible crew changeovers at Kaiteriteri, Ruby Bay, Rabbit Island and then back to the Nelson Rowing Club. Two five-crew coastal rowing boats completed the journey with safety support boats. Margarette rowed two of the legs including heading back into Nelson from Rabbit Island. 

Grant says coastal rowing is a new part of the sport and the Coastal Rowing Revolution opens up new rowing experiences in the Te Tau Ihu region. The boats are wider and more stable than flat-water rowing boats which make it easier to learn how to row. It is also attracting past members back into the sport. 

“The club is thankful for the support of Myles’ family, members, past members and the team at Wilson’s Abel Tasman that enabled this event to happen,” Grant says. 

The rowing club is holding more events in the region and welcomes new members to experience the sport.

coastal rowing NZ, Nelson Rowing Club

Wildlife alongside the rowers

coastal rowing NZ, Nelson Rowing Club

Coastal views

rowing coastal, nelson rowing club

Moving away from the beach

coastal rowing nz, Nelson Rowing Club

Getting boated

coastal rowing new zealand, Nelson Rowing Club

The squad launch in the dawn light. 

Coastal rowing NZ, Nelson Rowing Club,

Last one in’s a sissy!

John Parnell’s rowing man-cave

The big green thing is an old winch that I restored from a rusty old heap of steel found in a corner of the shed.

The other photo includes the “John Barton” Stampfli doubles, given to me by West End. Frank and Alf Hansen of Norway won gold in it at the 1978 World Champs. Then sold to West End and used by Tony Hurt and John White who won about 5 Redcoat titles in the boat, coached by my Dad (Wally Parnell). Boat was named after my father’s rowing mate in the 30s and 40s, Johnnie Barton. I was named after John.

The other boat is my Swift coastal singles which I’m trying to make use of in between replacing piles underneath the boatshed.

The boats on the racks are at various stages of repair for the Otago Rowing Club

Insider there’s plenty of room

Eva Hofmans helping paint my flagpole.

The winch

Close up of the flag and stampfli double

The boathouse from the water

Legion Regatta May 2022 report

Regatta Report from the President

We had a gloriously successful Legion regatta on May 14th at Karapiro. There were over 230 athletes attending and the weather gods were kind giving us light winds and a mostly sunny day. Full results.

Legion Regatta 2022

Racing crews captured by Emma Grant photography

The team used the masters handicapping system applied at the start for the first time with some success – there were a lot of very close finishes as a result. We would love to get feedback from you about wether you found this a good innovation.

After racing our traditional sausage sizzle with a free drink was very well attended and Mahe Drysdale drew 30 winners out of the hat for spot prizes generously donated by SL Racing, Croker NZ, Get More KitJuice Plus, Rowing Tools, The Crew Room, Faster Masters Rowing, and Buoy Line.

Also on site were the World Rowing Masters Championships 2023 – for more information see the article below – it would be great to send a strong New Zealand contingent to race there.

Lesley Milne

Robbie Manson rowing coach

Robbie Manson offers last minute advice to West End





Get more photos


More images from the regatta can be purchased from Picture Show Ltd


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North Shore Mens 8; Copyright Picture Show Ltd

Whangarei mixed masters 8. Copyright Picture Show Ltd

North Shore and Wellington womens 1x. Copyright Picture Show Ltd

Wellington womens quad. Copyright Picture Show Ltd

Bay of Plenty Coast Womens 1x. Copyright Picture Show Ltd

West End mens 8. Copyright Picture Show Ltd

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Coastal Rowing Safety – capsizing

With winter approaching and solo (unaccompanied) rowing more prevalent in the off season it’s a good time to spark some thought around how safe you are out there.

This article concentrates on capsizing and lifejackets, as there has been considerable discussion in coastal rowing circles about this lately.

Water Safety is a big subject and it’s a warning and scary fact that we have just finished the worst summer for drownings in many years here in New Zealand.

coastal rowing turning, coastal singles race, buoy turn coastal

Coastal Rowing buoy turn

I have put together some images and links to a couple of short video clips to give some insight into the water safety issues of capsizing with rowing skiffs, in particular coastal rowing which usually happens in very challenging conditions as you can see.

With all the links hover your mouse on the link then press and hold the ctrl button down and left click on your mouse to open the link.

The first link below takes you to a quick video on how to turn your skiff up the right way and then try to get in from the High side or upwind side in the waves rather than the lower or “leeward side “The reason for including this is because you have a limited amount of attempts available to get back in before you are too tired so it’s a good hint to get on the High side. Also don’t forget a Coastal boat is higher out of the water than a fine boat.

Turning your boat over and getting back in on the upwind side in rough seas [short video]

The next video shows a clever rope with a collar attached [short video] to make it easier to grab your sculls when preparing to get back into your boat after a capsize. This really helps in a coastal boat because they are so wide. Clever and simple modification to assist with re gathering your sculls after a capsize

This video is about 16 minutes long but very very informative and a must watch for anyone intending to row unaccompanied (by a support/safety boat) regardless of whether you are into coastal rowing or flat water. So please watch it.

Rowing Life Jacket Capsize Review [Facebook video]

This clip is brief footage of the race around the island in Hong Kong harbour and just gives a little insight into how coastal sea conditions can just add that extra degree of danger. Hopefully having watched the previous video on putting a life jacket on and inflating it in flat clam conditions this should be sobering when considering whether you could do it in big seas.

Coastal Waters challenging conditions [short video] (why safety equipment matters)

Finally, the post below refers to the last Coastal World Champs and this link takes you to what happened. In every race the first leg started off a beach in a calm bay but the turn 1 buoy was out in a strong tidal stream and the competitors all struggled to steer upwind enough to clear the buoy causing multiple crashes and boat damage as everyone concertinered on the turn.

The comment about the number of times you can re attempt to get back in your boat is significant. If you have no experience of capsizing and getting back in you should not go rowing without a safety boat. The adrenaline rush from hitting the cold water after exercising hard will instantly disorientate you and unless you are prepared it could end very badly.

Hopefully this information is of some benefit and you can enjoy your rowing confident that in the event of a capsize it will just be an amusing story to share with friends afterwards!!