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61st Yachtmaster Insurance Three Rivers Race this weekend

by Holly Hancock 26 May 11:19 BST 28-29 May 2022
60th Yachtmaster Insurance Three Rivers Race © Holly Hancock

After a triumphant return to the Broads Calendar in 2021, Horning Sailing Club's Flagship Event - the 61st Yachtmaster Insurance Three Rivers Race is due to take place this weekend (28th/29th May). With over 100 entrants expected to participate, it should be a great event for both sailors and spectators alike.

Excitement is building ahead of Saturday's race, with competitors due to start from Horning Sailing Club, situated in the heart of the picturesque village of Horning, to race through the winding rivers of the Broads. The route will encompass four turning points on the 50+ mile course, which can be sailed in any order, dependent on tides and wind conditions, the decision being a tactical one, which can make or break the race. The turning points include Ludham Bridge on the River Ant, South Walsham on the River Bure, under Acle Bridge to a rounding point usually between Stokesby and the Stracey Arms Windpump, and beyond Potter Heigham Bridge on the River Thurne to a buoy on Hickling Broad.

With some 100 boats taking part, from traditional Broads sailing cruisers to keelboats including Yares & Bures, Rebels and Yeomans, craft range from a 14 foot Norfolk Dinghy to an imposing Thames A Rater with its huge towering rig, standing at 45 foot tall, it is a true spectacle. Excitement is usually found at the bridges, where boats lower their masts to paddle under, some opting to "shoot" the bridges, meaning that they leave it until the last second to drop the mast. Seen as one of the 'must do' sailing events, and named by the Sport and Recreation Alliance as one of the top 10 mass participation events in 2013, sailors descend on Horning from all across the UK, with participants this year from the South Coast, Lancashire and the North East.

With 102 entrants spread over 15 starts, it will take well over an hour for the fleet to leave Horning from the first start at 11am Saturday. For many, it will be their first time taking part in the challenge. Whilst for some the aim will be to win, for others the challenge is to make it round the course within the twenty-four hour time limit.

Amongst this year's competitors is the Chair of the Royal Yachting Association Chris Preston, participating in sailing cruiser "Windjammer" from local boat yard Eastwood Whelpton, one of nine hire cruisers taking part. Also taking part is last year's winner, Chris Pank, sailing River Cruiser "Moonraker", who will be looking to defend his title. There will doubtless be strong competition, including from 2019 winner Richard Whitefoot sailing Norfolk Punt "Comet", along with many of the top ten finishers from 2021.

Keeping a close eye on proceedings will be David Hastings MBE, one of the founders of the Race, who came up with the idea along with Peter Mallender, Dickie Keogh and Eric Smith in 1961 as a new challenge for Horning Sailing Club members. David will be going on a tour of the race course with Horning Sailing Club's Commodore Will Penny during the Race.

With sunshine and a fresh breeze forecast, conditions should be lively with plenty of excitement - some will be hoping to make it back to Horning before dark, but for most they will be out all night - experiencing the magic of the Broads at dusk and dawn. If you cannot make it to see the Race in person, you can view all the action via webcams on the Horning Sailing Club website, horning-sailing.club/webcams

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