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Master of the Mahurangi seeking resurgence

by 4 Feb 2012Regatta 20120 comments

Master of the Mahurangi race

All Eyes on the Master: Howard Lush has owned the Master of the Mahurangi race, almost since its inception. While the three placegetters in the 2012 event made up the entire fleet, they finished within a minute of each other after rowing hard for a quarter of an hour. image Crispin Caldicott

One of the attractions to the area, when we recently moved to Warkworth, was the excellent opportunity for recreational rowing.

Mahurangi Regatta is of course the showplace to see the great variety of boats available. I have been entering the Master of the Mahurangi race for several years and it is always to have a good hard row of two to four kilometres. It is all good fun and nobody takes it too seriously. This year we were down a bit on entries, so Cimino invited me to write a contribution to encourage more recreational rowing and hopefully a few more entries for next year’s regatta.

Rowing was the horse and cart of the early settlers in the area as roads were often far too muddy and from this evolved some excellent rowing craft—famously the Mahurangi punt. These boats were frequently rowed long distances. Rowing from Mahurangi to Auckland in earlier days has been reported. An old couple on Great Barrier even used to row to Auckland for their annual supply of gin. I guess the return trip was less painful than rowing over.

Roger Williams

Maximum Leverage: Master of the Mahurangi rules prohibit outriggers that extend more than 100‍ ‍millimetres beyond the gunnels. Those seen here on author Roger Williams’ skiff, and the long, overlapping oars, give some clue to the strength of the competition. image Crispin Caldicott

The coastline around these parts is all part of a flooded valley system which makes for deep inlets and lots of sheltered water. Since coming to Warkworth I have rowed most of the inlets on the Mahurangi and at Sandspit, and have really enjoyed the peaceful settings and the wildlife and the constantly changing vistas. Rowing is, of course, a very pleasurable way of getting good exercise.

I have two recreational skiffs, so if anyone would like to try rowing or needs a hand in designing and building suitable boats, contact me on +64 9 425 9127.

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