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Navigating The Northern Rivers 1st + 2nd June 2019

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Yes it's that time again, If you are navigating the Northern rivers on the 1st and 2nd of June 2019 this information is for you.

 Whether you wish to watch , avoid , or navigate through the 3 Rivers Race on those days, it will affect you.

First I'll point out there is nothing to stop you navigating wherever you like on those days, This information will hopefully ease your way.


The race Starts at Horning on Swan Corner at 11:00 (weather permitting), there will probably be around 100 sailing boats (150 max), starting at 5 minute intervals in roughly 10 boat groups, with a 15 minute gap in the middle of the starts to allow boats to clear a bit. The last start will be around 12:30 depending on how many entrants there are.

The course, which can be taken in any order,

From Horning to,

Ludham bridge but not going under it,

To South Walsham broad ( if there are light winds the turning buoy may be in the wide bit just before the broad),

To Hickling Broad which means of course going through the potter Heigham  Bridges, the Buoy should be Near the Sailing club.

To the bottom mark,  which in very light winds can be just before Acle Bridge, More normally  at the Stracey Arms (Now a Hindu meeting place I believe) that's at the bend in the Acle straight on the maps, in theory it could be as far down as six mile house..

then once you've done all the above points it's back to the club.


The main problems for navigators are.

The Start line, the 100 boats will paddle up river from about 10:30 beyond the entrance to the old South gates dyke (just beyond the brick houses) most will tie up to the bank until 10 minutes before their start.

Advice, if coming from Wroxham, ease your way down the right hand side, if a start is rushing around on the corner, hold back till they go and follow them through.  if coming up river,  keep to the right hand bank unless ALL the sailing boats are going down the right hand side. If they are it's safe to move across the river to let them through. Once at the Swan corner Keep right, when you see a gap go forward .


The River Ant to Ludham Bridge, the if there is a good wind the boats will start arriving at around 11:30 and the river will be a mass of tacking boats for a couple of hours after that.

Advice, It's one area /Time  I'd avoid this myself even as a 40 year experienced helm on the broads. Light wind's and it's anyone's guess when they will arrive.


South Walsham Dyke, same mass of boats only slightly more room on the river.

Advice, keep right, go forward when there is a gap. Let them go round you when they are tacking towards you.


Potter Heigham Bridges, particularly the old bridge, Saturday evening I'm thinking this will be the busiest, as lots of boats dismast and paddle through, and they'll be hoping to be coming back in under 2 hours from the Hickling Buoy.

Advice  be very, very, careful going under the bridges remember to sound your horn , as they may be paddling behind the bridge piers to the last minute if the tide is against them. Not a good place to moor overnight1st/2nd as even though they try to keep the noise down, they are lowering and raising masts.


Log Jams, if there are light conditions sometimes there are log jams of boats, there is not a lot they can do about.

Advice,  a lot of patience is required, keep right unless there is a definite large gap the other side, just go gently, PLEASE Do Not roar through, it will cause the boats to bounce around,  hit each other and maybe you.


 High Tide is around 12:00 at Horning meaning little tide for the start and for the later boats they will go down on the tide.

If the wind is GOOD, / Strong I'd expect Most boats to do Ludham, South Walsham then Acle, then Hickling. but there are always those who chose to do something different.. If the Wind is light some may miss Ludham bridge till the return journey.



The Swan Inn, Swan inn Green, Horning Staithe the New Inn the Ferry Inn, moorings may be had at any of them if you're lucky. Also good for viewing by land.

Cockshoot broad moorings,

Ludham Bridge, Limited parking but good viewing as they tack round the buoy.

St Benets Straight Moorings by boat or by a wander down the lane / footpaths, to the river,

Thurne lion Dyke moorings, and walk down to the river end from the pub or moorings

Acle bridge some parking by the shop while it's open, moorings on the river and at the pub.

Stokesby moorings and pub.

Potter bridge, hordes watch the chaos here, at least the pub is open now, plenty of parking.

Hickling viewing from the Pleasure boat inn at the end of the dyke..


I hope that's covered everything, Enjoy those days on the rivers.


PS any questions?


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Well it's a week later So I'll just bump this up for anyone who missed it, roughly 100 boats have entered this year..

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The count down continues, 21 days time it will all be over, so you'll be safe from the mad hoards for another year


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Just 12 days to go till the big race, another bump for those who may not have seen the notes.

The forecast is just a 7 mph gusting 11mph northerly, at the start swinging round to a ignore that, it just changed..

As I was saying, 12mph North westerly gusting 27mph, thats about perfect for the start as in the sheltered river at Horning you won't get that much but it will blow everyone straight down the river, so  no log jam..

Sunday staying North Westerly but dropping to 11 mph for the many tacks back to Horning..


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As it looks like I might be on the broads on race day, I'm thinking of finding a spot to watch the chaos unfold. I just haven't decided where yet!


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In Horning the moorings at the Swan will almost certainly be booked up by the competitors and their supporters. The village green will also be jam packed

Cockshoot dyke is a good one at the start, but taken unless  you get there very early or the St Benets straight opposite the dyke to South Walsham if possible.

Between the bridges at Potter is a good one, Most visitors won't get through and you can moor by the pub for some refreshment and wander over to the old bridge, to watch the usual panic of lowering masts and paddling through.

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The wind forecast has now changed to a South westerly  about 10mph, if this is correct,  the starting boats will go down the left hand bank into the motoring traffic through Horning,  as that will be the only place there will be any wind. 

All we can do is to recommend  that unless there is a totally free of boats area on the opposite side,  stay on the right hand bank, slow to a near halt,  let them go round you,  then go forward till you find the next group of sailing boats and do it all again. 

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