These Low Tech Racers just finished the Best Race Ever!

How would you like to spend a week on this old girl?

You don’t need Dali Foils and many millions to compete in one of the best endurance races of all time. All you need is a Ngalawa.

A what you say?

A Ngalawa. Used in Zanzibar (and around the world) for sailing, fishing, and fun, the Ngalawa is a simple dugout boat made from a Mango tree, with a sail and a couple of outriggers. They’re slow, there’s nowhere to sleep, and maybe, just maybe they seat three.

But they’re incredibly challenging to sail, and more-so, when something breaks, parts can be made by jury rigging and hacking down coconut trees on the beach!

The Ngalawa Cup was held this January in Zanzibar, and seven teams entered their Ngalawas this year to sail from the Northern tip of Zanibar to Tanzania. Not quite non-stop, but with some strict rules to prevent these teams from getting lost at sea with no navigation, and little in the way of a seaworthy vessel.

The rules! No night sailing, everyone MUST stop when the course is closed each night, and you have to sail a traditional Ngalawa. Pretty easy right! The hardest part about the event is making it to the finish line according to the organisers. But at least you can just cut down a palm tree if you break your mast. Which happened. Several times. There were also broken booms, fractured bones, capsizes and a late night dash over a reef to get home.

Sounds like one epic long distance race, and you can read all about how it went down on the event blog right here.


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