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!!

Rowing Touring German Style

by Jude Ellis

In mid-2020 I took up an opportunity to live and work in Bonn, Germany which is located on the Rhine River about 30 km south of Cologne.  One of the first things I did on arrival was check out the local rowing clubs, of which there are many.  I’ve joined the Bonner Ruderverein (Bonn Rowing Club) which is essentially a recreational masters rowing club.  The Rhine is a big-ass river – the strong current, the type of rowing boats and the barges all together make for a very different rowing experience to New Zealand!  One of the best things I’ve discovered rowing here are the regular tours organised by the club.  

Autumn in Europe is absolutely stunning so there was no way I was going to miss the annual rowing tour of the River Lahn in October 2020.  This was a 5-day tour that started in Weilburg on the Lahn and finished back at the club in Bonn (on the Rhine).  I chose to row days 1-3 from Weilburg to Bad Ems (as I had already rowed the day 4-5 legs along the Rhine on a previous tour).  

The Lahn is not a big river and the tour began rowing through a very narrow tunnel and included a number locks along the way – some of which were self-operated, where a couple of us had to get out of the boat to open (and close) the gates for all the boats move through.  Each boat carried all their luggage – which generally comprised of Ortlieb waterproof rucksacks.  Many also took small flasks of coffee to sip on while waiting in the locks (note to self for future tours) and some also sipped on wine!   

We rowed in different combinations each day (organised the night before) and each boat would depart from our accommodation as and when they felt like it.  Invariably we would all meet up at pre-arranged locations along the river for “kaffee und kuchen” (Germans love their coffee and cake) then wine/beer and “flammkuchen” (a yummy kind of pizza) for lunch and then of course dinner (and more wine/beer) at our overnight accommodation.  It was also a great opportunity for me to practise speaking German (“nicht so gut”)!     

The tour party averaged around 50 rowers each day, rowing in quads and “quins” (yes you can row a 5 here).   Most impressive to me was the lively Ingeborg who is 80 years old, can barely see and rowed all 5 days of the tour!   The Autumn scenery was stunning as we rowed through small villages, under ancient stone bridges and past the odd castle.  Of course the photos don’t do it justice… 

Autumn in Germany

Autumn in Germany

Rowing in Germany A castle on the Rhine

A castle on the Rhine

Rowing in Germany Locks on the Rhine

Locks on the Rhine

Rowoing in Germany touring boats in a lock

Touring rowing boats in the lock

Rowing in Germany participants

Ingeborg, second from left