Ngalawa Cup - Winners Interview

The first north to south edition of the Ngalawa Cup and the Motherluffers have won it. Americans Jake, Chad and Jeff only began sailing about 2 months ago. And now they've won the damn thing.

According to JT from the race crew: 

— The Motherluffers, 14.21, 08.01.2016
We almost weren't ready for them - the wind picked up right at the end. They hit the beach and grabbed a beer like Formula1 champions.

We caught up with headman Chad while he stood on the beach at Kilwa and the victory was feeling fresh.

You won. Congratulations. How does it feel?

It feels amazing, it feels amazing to be done. Amazing we can get a hot shower and to actually win.  Right now, I'm not sure which I'm more excited about. 

How did it feel today? Did you know you were going to win?

Yesterday it was between us and Between The Sheets. They cut over towards the mainland, they probably thought we wouldn't make it - there was no wind. We waited it out hoping it would pick up around 3pm. We were right so we made it. Today we pretty much knew we had it in the bag.

Something simple on a normal boat takes about 15 minutes on a Ngalawa.
— Jake, Motherluffer, Thursday evening

So it was tense in that we knew we didn't have competition and we knew we were close, but we had to deal with slow winds most of the day. We were stuck in the doldrums. It was a mental battle. 

We only started learning two months ago and then to actually win this thing. It's so great that we don't have to look at this boat anymore. My ass hurts really bad, sitting on this stupid boat. 

What was the most important thing you got out of training?

You have to understand wind and how to switch with the wind. When you are back in the states sailing, there are systems designed to make everything easier. 

The Ngalawa is designed to make things as difficult as possible.

The Ngalawa is designed to make things as difficult as possible. 

Now I feel like I can sail almost any boat. Any shit boat. 

IT'S OFFICIAL! We just won the first ever north to south Ngalawa Cup! 2 days of pre-race training carnage and 7 more...

Posted by Jake Vanags on Friday, 8 January 2016

You've been training for 2 months. How much of that was actually on the water?

About 20 hours. We learnt 60 days ago how to sail.

We knew this would either be the best or worst idea. Our greatest strength was also our greatest weakness: we had no preconceived notions, we just understood the fundamentals. We thought maybe the other teams would have more experience and be used to more sophisticated systems so we thought our lack of knowledge would help us to keep things simpler and give us an advantage.

The Ngalawa is the least sophisticated vessel possible. We know how to rig knots and we understand wind and that's it.

Sounds like it went it bit swimmingly. Did you ever think of giving up?

During training, the boat was really bad. We actually switched it out but we had learnt so much about what could go wrong.

What we did every day was preventative maintenance. We did our roles so we were able to master our little section.  

I was running the tiller so I would steer. We had one guy on ropes and the other one was on stabilising. 

What are you most looking forward to now?

A shower. A sleep in a real bed. I'm tired of sleeping on sand and tired of mosquitos. I'm looking forward to a couple more beers too. I've already got three or four down - just building a victory buzz.

Also, I'm really looking forward to a burrito. beans and bacon. I'm going to make one if I can't find one. 

Bon appetite Chad and congrats to The Motherluffers.