Ngalawa Cup Race Report - Day 8

When the sun comes up, all you want to do is get in the boat again.
— Tim, Ship Happens

The Ngalawa Cup is over. All our teams have now shimmied their boats over the finish line and spent the evening comparing sunburns and stories.

Everyone here has been fantastic. We’ve basically been one big team in our individual boats.
— Tim, Ship Happens

First to get there today was Piratas Canadienses followed closely by Ship Happens in their best pirate getup. Although they made it to the finish line around 8.30am they had already had quite an eventful day. Not appreciating quite how large the reef was, Ship Happens had shipped up last night imagining an nice long rest next to Rukyira lighthouse and short cruise the next day. Not to be. 

After a 3am wakeup call, the teams spent the week hours waiting for the high tide so they could walk their boats over the reef. That mission completed, they had to paddle about until the race course opened - two hours later. 

"Apparently, Piratas Canadienses only followed us yesterday because they thought we were the Lost Boys." - Tim, Ship Happens

Nothing like a confidence boost from a fellow team is there? Mind you, the dismay of the Canadians is not so remarkable considering they were the ones to rescue Ship Happens after Tim threw himself overboard on Day 5:

Our local captain who helped us during the training weekend, he pointed to the tiller - a little piece of wood about the same size as a rounders bat. He said: ‘This is the key to your boat. Do not lose the key to your boat.’ So that idea was drilled into our mind.

The one day we decided not to tie it down it kind of fell off. I shouted “I’ll get the key” and jumped off. In hindsight, an incredibly stupid decision with shark infested waters. I only found out that part afterwards.
— Tim - Ship Happens.

Truly the stuff pub stories are made from. 

We had two or three sail rips, had to replace all the line down the sail, fix the bottom and the casing that holds the mast on had to be repaired.
— Tim, Ship Happens

Next along came three of the pack that started on Songo Songo, Zanzibarmy Army, the Lost Boys and Toad Hall. 

It was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be.
— Gery, Lost Boys.

Lost Boy Gery was especially pleased of his "photo finish" with Toad Hall after he devoted several days of his race to giving Dave and Charlie a cheeky sailing lesson: "It was supposed to be 4 or 5 hours and ended up being 3 days." It showed though, since Toad Hall managed the final leg of sailing independently - a first for them and an excellent showing from the British team. 

Sluggish to start today was our Spanish lot, Bambu Heroes. Rocking up to Fanjove Island Lodge last night, they found they'd stumbled onto a luxurious picture-perfect retreat. Rather remarkably, the management generously agreed to put them up, which probably explains why they started two hours after everyone else. 

They ended up fighting it out for the last place with Club Rufaro. After falling behind from the rest of the Songo Songo group, Club Rufaro took a gamble by coming in on the inside of the lighthouse to encounter the same reef that gave Ship Happens and Piratas Canadienses such a tricky morning. A risky move, which they timed perfectly.

It’s been a fantastic way of getting to these tiny islands places that practially no-one’s seen. The locals are in hysterics when you rock up in a fishing boat and they find out you’ve come from Pemba. They are wetting themselves on the beach as you come in. Wherever we turn up we start causing havoc.
— Chris, Between the Sheets

With the sailing over and the sunburn competition decided, the evening was for eating and dishing out prizes: 


The Motherluffers
Read the post-race interview here.

Skippers' Choice
Selected by the captains of our two support boats.

Mark from Piratas Canadienses
He impressed with his sailing ability and his choices.

True Gentleman award

 The Lost Boys.
For being true gentlemen and regularly sacrificing their placing to assist other teams.

The Willoughby Cup 
An award for the most completely foolish decision.

Ship Happens. For this incident.

Honorable mentions:

  • Toad Hall for being the most improved. Not even able to gybe the first three days, they sailed the last leg by themselves. 
  • The Zanzibarmy Army received congratulations for being the most injured. "Tom has got infected legs, Alex cut his feet open. They all got beat up pretty good" says our source. 
  • Between The Sheets were the first mixed-gender team to cross an Ngalawa Cup finish line ever. Represent, Mel
  • Bambu Heroes get acknowledged for covering the most distance with their zigzag route and the longest time spent beached. After parking their boat on top of a reef, they found themselves high and dry the next day. 
  • For the most dramatic rescue the award went to Piratas Canadienses for their assistance to Ship Happens.
  • Club Rufaro were declared the most tenacious: "their boat was just falling apart the whole way."

Unofficial Penalties - in the form of rum shots - have been dished out to:

  • Alex from the Zanzibarmy Army for walking on coral with no shoes. 
  • For bad anchor management and ship abandonment - a penalty each for members of teams Between the Sheets, Piratas Canadienses, Bambu Heroes, Motherluffers, Club Rufaro and Zanzibarmy Army.
  • Another round for Between the Sheets for this manoeuvre: "I watched them run their ngalawa into two anchored boats on the way into Stonetown." Excellent. 
  • Recognition for representing oestrogen in a testosterone-rich field goes to Mel, from Between the Sheets, Maggy and Carey of the Piratas Canadienses, Suse of Toad Hall and Claudia of Ship Happens. A 'penalty' for them then. 
  • Finally, a fistful of penalties for crew member James Taylor for "disruption of wind conditions due to excessive chatter.
This could be the beginning of a new hobby.
— Tim, Ship Happens

We hope so, Tim. With the Cup over, this is our final race report. Until the July Edition. You could be in it. 

Previous Reports:
Day 7Winner's Interview | Day 6 | Day 5 | Day 4 | Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1 | Pre-race Training