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62nd Yachtmaster Three Rivers Race Preview

by Holly Hancock 23 May 2023 07:24 BST 3-4 June 2023
Three Rivers Race © Holly Hancock

The 62nd Yachtmaster Three Rivers Race is just under two weeks away and will see over 100 boats of varying sizes sail some 50 miles across the Norfolk Broads, to take on the unique test of seamanship on Saturday 3rd / Sunday 4th June 2023.

Leaving from Horning, competitors will make their way through the street at Horning, before sailing on the more open waters of the Bure once out of the trees. Then it becomes a matter of tactics - ensuring that the tides and winds work in their favour, choosing which order to sail the remainder of the route, which includes Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad, the River Ant to Ludham Bridge, under Acle Bridge to Stokesby (or further, dependent on wind conditions on the day) and under Potter Heigham Bridge to Hickling Broad.

As part of this course, it requires the raising and lowering of masts to get under the bridges - always a great spectator sport, with popular viewing points including Potter Heigham and Acle, where the crowds can enjoy the excitement.

The race has a long and rich history - it began in 1961, when then-Secretary of Horning Sailing Club, David Hastings, and fellow members Peter Mallender, Dickie Keogh and Eric Smith proposed a new sailing challenge for club members. The very first race took place in 1961. 42 boats started in a brisk breeze, but overnight conditions turned to gale-force winds. With that first race winner, Hugh Tusting, helming Yare and Bure One Design 'Brimstone' having recently passed away, it will be a somewhat poignant race, but a fitting legacy that it continues, now in its 62nd year. A far cry from the early days where competitors ran along the bank to enter tokens at turning points, today safety is at the forefront of the race organisers' minds, and the Three Rivers Committee, headed up by Kevin Saunders, has been planning the race since last year.

Hosted by Horning Sailing Club, in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, it is a true spectacle not to be missed, as the myriad of boats set sail - where small dinghies such as the Norfolk Dinghy and Wayfarer can be seen sailing against the visiting Thames A Raters, with their tall masts standing at over 40 foot high! The boats will sail in groups of around 10 boats at a time, starting with the Yeoman fleet at 11am on Saturday (3rd June). These will be followed by the Wayfarer dinghies, then traditional Broads boats including Yares & Bures, Waveney One Designs and then mixed dinghies. More traditional Broads boats including Reedlings, Rebels and Broads One Designs will follow, then halfdeckers and production cruisers. The faster dinghies, including Norfolk Punts and the Thames A Raters, will start after a short gap.

Some 50 river cruisers and hire cruisers make up the remainder of the fleet, from the highly competitive to those who just want the achievement of finishing the race. This is one of the things that makes the Three Rivers Race so special - it means something different to each entrant. It's fantastic that after over 60 years the race is still going strong and attracting competitors from all over the Country (and further afield) to take part. This year, the race includes both previous winners and a number of sailors participating for the first time.

To find out more about the Race visit - all the action starts at 11am at Horning Sailing Club on Saturday 3rd June 2023.

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