Three rowing eights will compete in the 10th running of the ''Great Race'' on the Waikato River in Hamilton on Sunday afternoon.
Waikato University will be up against crews from Cambridge University and the University of Melbourne.
The race is upstream for nearly 4km and this is the first time that three crews have raced in the event.
Organiser Rob Hamill says having three boats does run the risk of a collision.
He says the crews have been warned they will have to be careful, particularly at the start.
Cambridge won the event last year beating Waikato by four-lengths.
The two crews have met five times since the race was started in 2002, with Cambridge winning three of them.
The Waikato women's eight will also compete against the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne.