Three Rivers – Tide, weather & general information

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Tomorrow morning, 150 gig crews will head towards Saltash to race in the annual Three Rivers Gig Race. Here is some handy information about the popular event run by Caradon Gig Club.

This endurance race is approximately 6 miles long and passes through the Tamar, Tavy & Lynher rivers.

As a very rough estimate, Men’s crews can expect to finish in 40 – 50 minutes and ladies crews in under an hour. 


The tidal range this year is comparatively low so the flow will be minimal compared to previous races. Ladies can expect a maximum flow of a knot and men 1.5 knots. If you want more information you can view a map and tidal diamonds (H) for the river here.

High Tide: 10:58 @ 4.3 m
Low Tide: 117:25 @ 12.4 m


The forecast has improved over the last 24 hours, early rain now looks like it will clear for a bright and breezy day by late morning.

The strong W/SW wind will slowly drop but remain fresh throughout the day. In a river, the wind only really blows up or down the channel.  Forecasts vary, but most suggest a good element of South in the predominately Westerly wind. Therefore, the wind will be blowing hard up the river.

It’s a cold location, so wrap up warm before and after racing.

The Course

The 6 mile course follows a figure of 8 route, the plot below was taken at the race in 2007.

Starting under the bridge you will have a fresh tail wind pushing you over the line so be ready for this. Crews then row up river in the deep channel. You will have slight wind against tide so expect a nasty short chop. Wind for the first leg will be on your port quarter so expect uncomfortable rowing until you round the starboard channel marker and the wind will come round behind you.

After the buoy turn by the Tavy bridge you will turn to head straight into the wind so get ready as it will be on the nose and it looks like the ladies will still have a good 20 knots of breeze, plus any local funneling effect up the river. After the next buoy turn, you will be heading back down towards the bridge, the tide will help you a little here but the wind will be mostly against you or coming over your starboard bow.

From here it is a long slog down to the final two buoy turns and then you are heading home, with a fresh tail wind and hopefully the sun on your back.


  1. The wind will be trying to push you over the start line, so be ready to hold up.
  2. Placings hardly change after the first mark, so it’s all about the first 12 minutes (ish) – just like Scilly. Conditions will be cold, windy and uncomortable so settle as soon as you can and focus on the first mark.
  3. Heading back towards the bridge get ready for a long hard leg

The 2007 Three Rivers race

2007 Three Rivers race GPS plot taken from a Mens A crew.

2007 Three River Gig Race GPS Plot

Picture 1

Plot of the course showing water depths

tamar 2

tamar 1

Plot of boat speed from 2007 race

Note the massive variance in speed over the ground mostly due to tide. This year wind will be the main factor.

3 rivers gps

1: Start. 2: First mark 4: Second mark 5: Third mark (Turning with tide) 6: Bridge 7: Fourth mark 8: Final mark (Turning back into tide) 9: Finish

Don’t forget to use the #GigRower tomorrow on Facebook, Twitter and Instgram

Cheers and good luck,



With a high number of gigs expected, we would be grateful if all clubs could adhere to the following points:


All gigs must arrive by 9.30a.m. at the very latest.  Those that can arrive earlier should do so, to help ease congestion.

If any clubs can bring their gigs prior to Saturday, that would be a big help.

If any clubs can bring trolleys/wheels to help launch gigs it would be very much appreciated.

Clubs must have their own members on the slip when their gig(s) is being launched so as to take charge of it and row it to the beaches or pontoon.

Please can each club send a member to the registration point (in the Sailing Club) to register their crews and pay the entry fees.  They will need to know which of their crews is rowing which gig.

Due to the number of gigs attending on the day, can we please ask that you label all of your trailers with the name of the gig and your club name, so that it is clearly visible, in order to make retrieval of your trailer after racing as easy as possible.

There are still yachts stored in the Sailing Club car park for winter maintenance, please could we ask all rowers to take care not to hit the hulls of the yachts with their oars as they walk past.

Please can you ask all your rowers to be respectful of local residents and if they are parking in side roads to make sure they are not blocking people’s driveways.  Thank you.


The coxes meeting will be held at 10.15a.m. on the Town Quay (opposite Live Wire)

All races will be run under CPGA rules and all gigs must carry a working VHF radio. The races will be started over the radio.

The first race (Ladies) will start at 11.00a.m. prompt, so all gigs need to be launched and on the water by 10.45a.m.

Each crew will be allocated a heat and berth.  You MUST line up in the heat you are allocated.  All racing is timed and if you do not line up in your correct heat, your start time will not be adjusted accordingly and therefore your race time will be inaccurate. Each of your crews will be allocated a heat and berth at registration.

All crews must warm up down river of the bridges (i.e. Sailing Club side) until called up by the Starter

The start will be called on the radio and the starter will also have a flag.  There will be approximately 2 minutes between the start of each heat.  When the heat in front of you has lining up, please start to assemble yourselves, ready for your heat to be called.  The starter will not be able to wait for you if you are not on the start line when your heat is due to be set off.

Please remember that all timings are attached to the gig not the Club.


Loading gigs after the Men’s race – PATIENCE WILL BE REQUIRED!  There are two slipways:  Each gig will be told which slipway to use.

Do not come onto the slipway until told to do so by a member of Caradon who will get your trailers ready.

No gigs are to be loaded up on the slipways: Once the gig is back on the trailer, and the bow rope tied down, they will be moved back to their storage space for clubs to load up ready to be towed away.

No towing vehicles to go on any grass areas.

No towing vehicles to be brought to trailers until you are ready to leave, to ease congestion.

The presentation will take place in the Sailing Club following the racing, where food and drink will be available.

A full list of results will be emailed to all clubs after the event.  Paper copies will not be handed out on the day.

See you tomorrow,

Kind regards

Leanne Woodward
Caradon Gig Club


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