Ocean adventure racing in dugout mango trees

Bollocks to boring modern yachts with their auto-pilots and comfy cabins. For a proper ocean adventure vessel you need to go back a few hundred years. Take a dugout canoe made from a mango tree, add a bamboo mast, a sail and a couple of outriggers and you have the Ngalawa - the ultimate sailing machine. Line up against a fleet of like-minded idiots and point it towards the Indian Ocean racecourse of spice islands, deserted beaches and sand banks off the coast of Tanzania.  Welcome to the world's greatest sailing race.

"I would recommend this trip to anybody who wants a real adventure ... You're in for the ride of your lifetime, that's for sure." 

Eben Stolz - Pioneers' Edition, July 2015 VIDEO: Eben looks back on the Ngalawa Cup




NEXT RACE: 1st January 2017

STATUS: Places available - apply here

START: Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar

FINISH: Kilwa, Lindi


DATES: 30th Dec '16 - 9th Jan '17

The crocodile of the sailing world - no design changes needed in hundreds of years.

The race costs £1,300 per person based on a team of three.  The entry fee includes the race follow-boats, live tracking, pre-race training, an emergency tracker for each sailor and a bunch of other stuff.

Every team has to apply for a place first to prove they have enough sailing experience aboard to take on the race. Teams of two or four sailors can apply for an exception based on their experience (and size). 


"I loved it. Every second of it ... this is one of those experiences that really does push you."

Ryan Horsnail - Pioneers' Edition, July 2015 VIDEO: Ryan looks back on the Ngalawa Cup



We are The Adventurists and this is our first foray into ocean adventuring. We searched the world for a suitable aquatic arena until we found the islands off the coast of Tanzania. Yes it has piercing turquoise water, blue skies and white sandy beaches along with reliable trade winds to propel you along the racecourse. But conditions change fast here and parts of this racecourse are properly remote. Now we've done three editions of the race we can reliably advise you not to take this one lightly. The incredible beauty of the islands, beaches and villages and the big-smile friendliness of the local people can easily distract you from the fucking massive adventure lurking here. Don't be fooled. 

After a test run in late 2014 by Race Chief Dylan the Pioneers' Edition took place in July 2015. It was nothing short of glorious mayhem - big waves, epic sea-scapes, boat breakdowns, a couple of tantrums and a massive adventure had by all. The inaugural race was won by the Czech team Lemurs Sail Delorean. It confirmed all our predictions that this was indeed an adventure for those with the very biggest of balls or ladyballs. You can read the Pioneers' Race Report here to find out what went down. 

In 2016 there were two editions in January and July (the leader board will be added to a new Ngalawa Cup Hall of Fame on this website soon). The big news for 2017 is that we've added some rocket fuel to the racing element of the adventure. Extra compulsory race checkpoints will ensure you camp out on the best beaches with big fires and shitloads of rum with other teams. Most importantly, the head to head battles for leader board positions will now rage all the way to the finish line as the fleet will be closer together. You'll spend more time with teams in sight on the water but still have plenty of navigational decisions to make. To find out what's going on first sign up to the newsletter below...

Ngalawa Cup race updates by email


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Why do I have to apply? We need to know that your team has sailing experience, this race isn't open to non-sailor teams but we can help point you in the right direction to get trained up so you can come back when you're ready...
A brief description of your sailing experience including any qualifications or tickets you've got.
Which edition of the race are you applying for?