Newsletter – June 19



  1. Upcoming Events
    • Retro Regatta
    • Legion AGM at ARC
    • Junior Trust Applications
  2. April 27th Legion Regatta Debrief
  3. Cambridge Rowing Club Travels
  4. Diary Dates




A blast from the past – from Roger Ryan, ex-St Georges Club Captain:

Great to see the Legion Retro Races to be held on the Panmure Basin.
Back in 1964 (I was Club Captain at the time), the Mount Wellington Borough Council held a week long “Sports Carnival” with all sports clubs in the district taking part to celebrate sport.

We (St Georges) staged the first ever racing on the Basin, starting at Waipuna we finished at the town beach. It was among our own members with handicap races among our various crews, with singles to eights in these races. The idea was to display the club to the local populace.

From this experiment, we then held regattas in the opposite direction as will happen with the retro races. Prior to this our regattas were held from Point England up to the Yacht Club, but like the Basin we were subject to tidal conditions.

If there is a strong South Westerly wind blowing it can make starts from the beach (by the PYCC) a bit tricky. I guess St Georges Members will be involved with the regatta, so good luck for it all.

Retro Regatta and Dance – June 22nd, Panmure Basin – please get your entries in as soon as possible

This is a reminder to get online and pay for your entry for the mix-up style Retro Regatta on Panmure Basin on Saturday June 22nd, approx. 750 metre races, including held starts.

Entries close in early June, but to give us time to create crews and plan the final schedule we do encourage you to support this new regatta by entering online as soon as possible. There is a novice section – a great way for novices to get some race experience without losing their novice status. Go to for entries and Race Rules. Remember this is a fun event, with lots of billets on offer for out-of-towners.

We have also secured special pricing at Waipuna Lodge for anyone interested in Hotel accommodation (book direct at, quoting Legion of Rowers regatta, if you are interested).

Both St. George’s RC and Auckland RC are supporting the regatta with boats and equipment. With all quads supplied, no boats need to be trailered. Coxswains also are largely being sourced from Tamaki River clubs but if you can assist by supplying a coxswain please let us know.

Lunch is provided for a koha at both rowing clubs after the regatta and we’ll need assistance with rowing the boats back to their respective clubs

Between the end of the regatta and the Rock party at 7.30 pm in the evening, there are plenty of activities around Auckland. A list of these is available.

Join us at Auckland Rowing Club for the Rock Party in the evening, featuring live music. Retro 60’s dress is encouraged and supper is Bring-a-Plate. Drinks tickets can be purchased at the regatta during the morning or at the two rowing clubs after the regatta. Due to Licensing laws, no BYO alcohol is allowed.

The following morning, both SGRC and ARC are opening their doors for a mix-up row on the Tamaki. Just turn up – time to be announced!

Legion AGM at ARC – 11 am Sunday June 30th.

The Legion AGM is coming up and we need new Legion Committee members as we will be losing both our IT expert Steven Mayo-Smith and Treasurer Sue Wright. They have contributed extremely useful skills during their time with the committee and will be greatly missed. Please consider whether you could donate some time to this committee which meets monthly and holds two regattas per year. The Legion AGM is to be held at Auckland Rowing Club, where we’ll be providing lunch for free and a speaker from amongst the Trust grant recipients from last season. Your attendance as members is appreciated.

Further information will follow in a separate notification.

Junior Trust Applications opens June 7th and closes June 28th at 5 pm.

Members of the current Junior Rowers squad going to Tokyo in August (7th – 11th) are encouraged to apply for a Junior Trust Grant. If you know any of the athletes below, do encourage them to apply for this funding:

Women’s Quadruple Scull

Shakira Mirfin, Southland Girls’ High School
Eva Hofmans, Bayfield High School
Rebecca Leigh, St Peter’s School, Cambridge
Phoebe Trolove, Craighead Diocesan School

Women’s Coxless Four

Alison Mills, St. Paul’s Collegiate
Sally Wylaars, Avonside Girls’ High School
Lucy Burrell, Baradene College
Charlotte Darry, St Margaret’s College

Men’s Quadruple Scull

Ben Mason, Otago Boys High School
Seth Hope, Cambridge RC, Waikato RPC
Jason Nel, St Peter’s School Cambridge
William Thompson, Waikato Rowing Club, Waikato RPC

Men’s Double Scull

Kobe Miller, Blenheim Rowing Club, Central RPC
Scott Shackleton, Christchurch Boys’ High School



Firstly, very sincere thanks to all Legion Members who have joined for the first time, or renewed their Membership lately. May we emphasise the need to encourage your rowing associates to join the Legion also, which helps support our Junior Rowers in their quest for International Rowing achievements. Our Membership is improving each year, but the costs for our Junior Rowers and their families never reduces – it’s been estimated that it can cost up to $10,000 to send a Junior Rower to their first international regatta. This can be an enormous burden for some families in their wish to encourage their sons’ and daughters’ rowing aspirations.

All Members enjoy getting stories from our Trust Winners – about the Regatta, how they and their colleagues performed, impressions of the country they have the fortune to visit and anything else they are willing to share with us. Please encourage the Junior Rowers to apply.

Secondly, the Legion Committee wishes to heartily thank all competitors and supporters for a very successful Masters Legion Regatta on April 27th 2019. This event was again jointly organised and adjudicated by the Legion of Rowers and Karapiro Rowing. The support from many quarters is, as always, what makes this event so rewarding for all. Huge thanks to Barry Cleal and Nielsen-Kellerman NZ for their support, taking naming rights for the regatta. Also in the “couldn’t-do-it-without-you” category were all the boat holders, safety boat drivers and others who simply said “yes” to volunteering at this event.

This year’s regatta featured a new initiative by the Legion to involve School Parents (of current or ex-pupils) for a School Challenge Series. Adding the parents’ event to our regatta has resulted in many additions to rowing programmes which provides a wonderful synergy between Masters supporting Juniors and young rowers feeding back into Masters’ programmes.

As a committee, we loved getting this written feedback from Takapuna Grammar School Rowing Club:

“This was a first for Takapuna Grammar School Rowing Club and an experience that was thoroughly enjoyed. 

After receiving a flyer promoting the parent’s race, we canvassed the parents of our current club members enticing 30 parents to come along to some basic Learn to Row sessions. From this we were able to enter 13 of our parents into the 2019 Masters Regatta and even win a few gold medals!
This was a significant milestone for the club and I am extremely grateful to the Legion of Rowers for supporting this regatta and providing the inspiration that was needed for us to get our parents out on the water and giving rowing a go. Our young crew members (aged 13 – 16) developed the masters training programme which consisted of four on water sessions and two erg sessions a week for a seven week period. What a fantastic opportunity for these young adults to develop their leadership skills, not to mention the immense fun they had teaching the parents how to row.
The camaraderie, fun and pride that this programme developed throughout the club, both in the training sessions and on the day, was truly outstanding and has resulted in a permanent Takapuna Grammar School Rowing Club Masters Programme being developed and led by our junior coaches and senior crew members. Adding to the successes and community feel on the day, some of our junior crew members and one of our coaches also volunteered to cox for some of the other clubs at the regatta, each winning a gold medal in the process. Thank you again to the Legion of Rowers for supporting this event – we hope to see you not only at the school and club regattas next season, but also at some master regattas. 
Kind regards, 
Paula Halliday, 
Takapuna Grammar School Rowing Club President”

Small photo:L-R: Claudia Mansell, Ange Rees, Saori Austin, Debbie Thompson and Nicolette Grant. Gold Medal  Winners – Women’s Corporate Four
Main photo:L-R Back: Rob Simpson, Richard Wells, Graeme Norman, Nick Butcher and Martin Sharrock
L-R Middle: Ange Rees, Mike Toxpeus, Debbie Thompson, Tash Salt, Claudia Mansell, John Mansell, Emma Grant and Neil Halliday
L-R Front: Karin Kouza (Coxswain), Anton Andres (Coach), Olivia Wilson (Coxswain), Nicolette Grant (Coxswain and Jessica Hamlin (Coach)

We always welcome suggestions for further improvements and, while we may not be able to implement them all, we’re continually looking for ways to make events as attractive to members as possible. On that point, our latest research (sent to all current members by email) involved only 1 question: “2020 regatta, Karapiro, Hamilton or either?” and the results: 67% of competitors preferred Lake Karapiro as the venue for the Legion Regatta 2020 over Lake Rotoroa in Hamilton. We have been allocated Sunday April 26th 2020 at Lake Karapiro. Thank you to those who took part in ensuring we do provide what is wanted by the majority.

3. INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL REPORT – from Cambridge Rowing Club

A group of Legion members recently travelled to Penrith in Sydney for the NSW Masters Championships. Here’s a brief report of their experiences.

“Amanda Puddle, Darren Hobbs, Stephen Gibbons and Veronique Gibbons, members of Cambridge Rowing Club, headed to New South Wales to compete in the NSW Masters Championships for the second time. The racing is held over two days. The statistics for the weekend showed there were 115 events, 752 entries, 2287 seats and 632 athletes. For training, we were lucky to acquire the services of a coach, Sandy ‘take no prisoners’ Shaw, in the three months leading up to the event. We were fortunate to borrow boats and oars from a Sydney School and by the time we went to Sydney we felt well-prepared.

Our main event, the well-coached Mixed D Quad scull, was on Day 1. Being mixed in with other D & E crews we started with a 4 second handicap which made us a bit nervous. Amanda made the calls from 2 seat as we reeled in the other boats. By 500m we were doing another ‘up 2’ and another call at the 250m to go and with 100m to go. She’d clearly gone crazy because we beat the crew in 2nd place by 8 seconds with our winning time of 3:37.01. The commentator liked our smooth relaxed style. For mixed events, instead of a medal, winning crews received a pot.

In the afternoon of Day 1, Amanda and Dominique raced D double scull. The wind had whipped up and we were racing with some crosswinds. The crew to beat were the composite crew from Drummoyne and Balmain Clubs. These ladies were 12 seconds ahead last year to win gold while we placed 3rd. This time it was a text book race with a rough patch around the 500 mark from the crosswinds, however with Amanda’s famous ‘up 2’ calls we managed to win with a gap of 4 seconds. Amanda said she didn’t want to give the other crew the chance of a fast finish. On the podium the ladies commented about the ‘up 2’ call saying when they heard it with 100m to go they couldn’t believe we were eking out more.

Day 2 started with our respective mixed doubles. Amanda and Stephen were competing against Darren and Veronique in the same division. There might be friendly club rivalry, but this was our chance. The 2 boats were separated by 3 lanes and Veronique didn’t hear Amanda’s “up 2” calls. Nevertheless it was a Cambridge 1,2 with Amanda and Stephen taking line honours and winning the pot. Veronique and Darren were two seconds behind, with the first Aussie crew nearly 5 seconds later in 3rd.

The wind picked up some more – bad water for the WD1x. Both women made the final. Amanda was at the business end, slugging it out for 1st. A photo finish had her in the silver medal position with 0.39 seconds separating 1st and 2nd place. She said if we hadn’t pushed her so hard in the mixed double she may have got it. She knew she could’ve taken it easier in that earlier race. “No chance, sunshine” was the response.

The final event of the regatta for Cambridge was the MD2x. Due to scratchings, it became a straight final. The boys, again with tough competition, came 4th out of 9.

Once again it was a great regatta. We made 5 finals, came away with a Gold and Silver as well as two winning pots for our Mixed events. Amanda also jumped in a composite crew and gained another silver medal. Not bad for four mad Masters rowers from Cambridge. We’ll think about going again next year.”

4. Diary Dates:

Sat 22nd June: Retro Regatta on Panmure Basin, racing to start at 9.45 am & Rock Party at Auckland Rowing Club, doors open 7.30 pm, band from 8 pm – 11 pm (billets available for those coming from outside Auckland)
Sun 30th June 11.00 am Legion AGM at Auckland Rowing club – free Lunch & Guest Speaker to be advised – Junior funding recipient
Late July 2019 Successful contenders for the Legion Trust awards will be notified. The Juniors will be competing from 7 to 11 August in Tokyo.
Sat 27th July ’19 Mercer Rowing club Masters Regatta at Mercer
Sat 31st August ’19 Masters Pre-Nationals Regatta at Karapiro
Sat 14th – Sun 15th Sept ’19 NZ Masters Nationals at Lake Ruataniwha
2020 Dates:
Sun April 26th 2020 Legion Masters Regatta at Lake Karapiro