Sailors set to compete in 24 hour rivers race across the Broads

Action from Horning Sailing Club at the weekend. Picture: Colin Galloway

Action from Horning Sailing Club at the weekend. Picture: Colin Galloway - Credit: Archant

Sailors from near and far are gearing up to take part in the 57th annual Navigators & General Three Rivers Race, which takes place on the Norfolk Broads this weekend.

Hosted by Horning Sailing Club situated on the River Bure, the 24-hour endurance race will take the 89 competitors on a 50-mile test of seamanship around the Broads.

The course takes them down the Rivers Bure, Ant and Thurne to either Potter Heigham and Hickling or alternatively to Acle Bridge and Stokesby - with turning points on Hickling Broad, Ludham Bridge, South Walsham and a moveable mark at Stokesby or beyond - set by race officer George Whitefoot dependent on weather conditions.

Among the 89 competitors are 12 Norfolk Punts and four Thames A-Raters with their towering rigs.

In the 12-strong Yeoman fleet are the young team of William Penny, Christopher Willis and Henry Whipp, average age just 17 years, sailing in Pania to raise funds for the Dystonia Society.

Martin Hunter, having won the 2016 Race, will be looking to defend his title in Merlin Rocket “Quiver” against intense competition from the numerous previous winners in this year’s line-up.

The fleet will be split into 12 starts, guaranteeing a spectacular event not to be missed, with boats of all shapes and sizes leaving every five minutes for over an hour.

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The first start is at 11am from Horning Sailing Club on Saturday with plenty of opportunities to see boats around the Broads on the course - good vantage points always include the bridges as competitors lower and raise their masts, especially at the medieval Potter Heigham Bridge.