History of the Three Rivers Race


The idea

In 1961 David Hastings - then Secretary of Horning Sailing Club, Yarmouth & Gorleston Commodore and fellow members Peter Mallender, Dickie Keogh and Eric Smith proposed a new sailing challenge for Club members.

16th / 17th June, 1961

The first three rivers race

42 boats started in a brisk breeze, but overnight conditions turned to gale-force winds. First home at 11.30 p.m. on that moonless night was a Yare and Bure One Design 'Brimstone' helmed by Hugh Tusting, who had to hail a sleeping race officer for a finishing bell!

In those days there was no radio contact and only 3 safety boats. Competitors had to jump out their boats and run along muddy banks to mark their passing of a turning point. Nowadays safety is very much at the forefront of the organisers' minds, but the Race is every bit as exhausting and exhilarating for the participants and as thrilling for the hundreds of spectators.



All of the boats are tracked at Horning Sailing Club for safety purposes. A team of 10 fixed motor cruiser guardships plus a range of other safety vessels keep an eye out for any problems and report back to base via radio. The efficiency of this system was underlined in 2001 when, for the only time so far in the race's history, strong winds caused abandonment of the race. Having issued the command from base at 6pm, all crews and the vast majority of boats were either at their home moorings or back at Horning Sailing Club by 11pm, despite being up to 15 miles away by river, thanks to the safety network. Progress around the course is tracked using computer software which allows the Race Officer to see in an instant on which stretch of water each competitor was last reported by a guardship.


New Sponsorship

The Three Rivers Race Committee were delighted to welcome our new sponsors to the team! Yachtmaster Insurance Services Ltd. are a Suffolk based insurance company who have insured local boats for many years.

For more information please visit our sponsors page


This Years Race

The start of the race is the best time for spectators to view the fleet in one concentrated mass, waiting to be started in groups of around 10 boats upstream of the start line at Horning Sailing Club. The first start is usually at 11am and it takes over an hour to get the whole fleet started. Once the fleet has reached Thurne Mouth, yachts can usually be seen heading off in both directions, and this decision is probably the most critical one of the whole race, dependant as it is on wind, tide and boat performance.

For more information please contact us 

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