The Ngalawa Cup - Rolling News

The Ngalawa Cup is a 500 mile boat race off the coast of Tanzania. Our seven teams were aiming to sail 500 miles in 10 days. This is where we followed their progress from.

To all you avid boataholics, this is our last post. The race is over and won. We have no more pictures or news for you but we do have a say a few words of thanks to our generous sponsors. 

A huge thank you Coastal Aviation for free local flights for the race crew at

Many thanks to Watershed for generously supplying our support boats with dry bags and giving discount to teams.

Finally a great thanks to Reef Wet suits South Africa for providing us with rash vests for the crew and discounted teams vests.

Bella Bridge 17.07.16

It's all over. The last boat is in and the Fakawis are finally on dry land. 

Last but not least

Bella Bridge 16.07.16

The morning dawns. How are the teams feeling this morning? A bit ropy, dehydrated with a taste of sea salt left over in their mouths perhaps?  

Bet it was a fucking gooden. Celebrating and all. End of the race. Apart from it's not. There's one team left to hang up their sails. The Fakawi's. Come on lads. Now you've got to sail rather worse for ware. Lets hope it's not choppy.

Bella Bridge 15.07.16

Fourth place has been claimed  

It's been a battle for fourth. Old Man and his Fellas and Unsinkables II have tied in fourth place. Much applause to you feisty sailors. Go grab yourself a much deserved beer. 


Bella Bridge 15.07.16

Some brooding weather coming in. The 3 teams bringing up the rear might get a fresh water shower on their way in. 

Dark clouds looming. Lovely.

The winning team, Olof and Martin have gone out spear fishing this morning. They are slowly running out of extreme activities to fill their days.

Bella Bridge 15.07.16

Usain Boat have come in triamphantly in third

Who needs a trophy when you have a beer

Henry from Usain Boat was rather upset when he saw their boat next to the other teams.

Why did we get such a small boat? That’s a branch not a tree.
— Henry, Usain Boat

Bella Bridge 15.07.16

Last nights events. What happened to the chicken?

Sadly Usain Boat couldn't find a deserted island to make camp and skin their chicken so they settled for a beach near fish factory. Unsinkables II and Old Man and his Fellas made for Stone town for cold beers and fine dining.

The Fakawis stopped at Fumba delayed by having to fix their outrigger and were woken by police officials concerned they were illegal immigrants as they had no passports to hand. After a few phone calls this morning they were allowed to go on their way. 

Zanizibar west coast fishing village

Bella Bridge 14.07.16

We have a second place confirmed

The Jerrias squeaked in just after 6pm to comfortably claim second place. After a slow windless day on the water The Jerrias were more than ready to step off their trusty Ngalawa that hasn't given them one stitch of trouble the whole journey. 

A huge bravo from us.

Bella Bridge 14.07.16

An evening update from the sandy shores. We hear from Dylan the Race Chief:

The Jerrias were the first to dock in Stone Town after having an early start from Kipepeo yesterday. They were followed by Usain Boat who have picked up an hour penalty for coming in 30 minutes after race hours. 

Usain Boat managed to destroy their rudder skimming over a reef and had to fashion a makeshift one form a piece of drift wood using their machete. As if that was not enough they then grounded the boat on a sand bank and has to use the waves to bump it free. Henry of Usain Boat arrived sporting a striped belly tan and attracted the attention of a Colombian camera crew when they anchored off the beach in Stone town. 

The night was a reunion at Livingstone bar of the winners Martin and Olof, The Yacht Club Americano Team, Tazz from The Wet Dreamers and The Jerrias and Usain Boat. Beers were toasted over the winning team's record sail and all the adventures and mishaps of the teams so far. 

We caught up with winning Team 6 and found out that Martin had completed his Scuba qualification while Olof had taken up kite surfing on the East coast. Good on you gents.

When asked what Olof thought about the race he replied with:

I wish that the race could have been longer.
— Olof, Team 6

If only you weren't such swift ship mates.


Bella Bridge 14.07.16

Today the weather is warm and welcoming and the boats are tantalizingly close to the end of their journay . We've got an update from Race Chief Dylan on the teams progress:

Unsinkable II and Old Man and his Fellas left in good time and are expected in Stone Town with enough time to glug down a few beers while taking in the sunset. The Fakawis took a few hours to make repairs to their outrigger this morning but are in the lee of Zanzibar today so should have a hassle free day for a change.

What have we got here? Is that Usain Boat with a live chicken on board? We think so.

If you squint you might be able to see a chicken. No promises there.

Lets hope they don't capsize because no one should mess with a hungry sailor.

Bella Bridge 14.07.16

Usain Boat and The Jerrias had a late start in Stone Town today.

Take your time boys, it's not a race or anything.

Rosa Earp 13.7.16

Day 7 is done, and the race for second place is on. All the teams have made the crossing to the shores of Zanzibar and can taste the finish line on the wind. 

Follow the teams on what looks set to be the last day of the race using our live tracker.

The Jerrias got up to an early start, leaving Usain Boat to a fry up breakfast at Kipepeo. Their self deprivation doesn't seem to have paid off, since at the close of the day, the two teams are running level for second place. 

The Wet Dreamers have dropped out of the race. We may miss them, but their boat will not, as it meets the ocean again in the hands of The Fakawis. The Fakawi's boat will be sailed to the finish line by local fishermen. The time spent switching meant the South African team didn't start their racing day until twelve thirty and narrowly missed incurring a penalty for sailing outside of race hours. They also managed to capsize just a mile off Kizimkazi in the dark. The were rescued and towed to shore.

The afternoon saw a small race between Old Man and his Fellas and Unsinkable II who finish the day just ahead of The Fakawis on the Southern flank of Zanzibar. 

Bella Bridge 13.07.16

Day 6 has dawned. Here's what happened in pictures.

Bella Bridge 12.07.16

Update Time. Whats happening out at sea. 

It’s the close of Day 6 and we’ve got a wealth of updates to bring you. 

The weather on Monday was testing for the boats. Our Race Chief Dylan had to come to the rescue and even he felt threatened by the weather:

We went through some of the biggest seas I’ve seen in Tanzania. We took some big waves over the bow, you just feel very vulnerable even in a big powerboat. It would've been one of the last things I would possibly wish for to be in and ngalawa yesterday.

It would’ve been one of the last things I would possibly wish for to be in and ngalawa yesterday.

— Dylan, Race Chief

After Yacht Club Americano managed to lose their boat on Saturday, they left it in the waves with a GPS tracker tied to the mast. Seeking better fortunes on Sunday, the race team managed to track the boat down and spot it int he waves - only to find the tracker had been stolen.  

They managed to find the boat and pull it into Bwejuu. They’ve been real sports, they want to continue in the spirit of the adventure but they’ve decided to leave their boat. They are semi dropping out and travelling by a dhow to join us for the parties. 

As for the stolen tracker. It’s adventure has just begun. Too bad the thieves haven't quite worked out how to turn it off yet.

What’s going on with the other teams? Unsinkable II have turned out to be not quite so unsinkable. 

Unluckily for Unsinkable II  they had a problem with the bow and couldn’t go on. Our crew went to help them where they anchored their boat on a reef and got taken ashore to North Fanjove.

They spent the night there until today where they got taken back to their boat and towed it to the mainland where they are repairing it now.

Old Man And His Fellas traveled from Kwale today, heading up the coast. They had a problem with one of their outriggers and they made it to a beach on mainland. It’s not in the lee, so they’ll have a bit of a tough time. 

The crew rescued The Fakawis.

They are doing incredibly well. We had to find them to pluck them out the sea yesterday. It was twilight by the time we found them.
— Dylan, Race Chief


They had to leave their boat, we took all their luggage on board, and stuck a tracker on the mast. We got them back late and everything was wet. We passed around a bottle of rum but everyone still froze during the night because nothing was dry.

We passed around a bottle of rum but everyone still froze during the night because nothing was dry.


Usain Bolt are having a spot of mast trouble. This trio of English chaps couldn’t keep their wood unsplintered and are on their third attempt. Here’s hoping for that they can maintain a bit more rigidity for the rest of race and for what Will calls 'when the shit hits the fan.’

 On their voyage from Kwale they’ve managed to break their second mast.
So for now Unsinkable II and Old Man are far down the mainland. The rest of the teams are in Kipepeo , we’ve got Usain Boat, The Wet Dreamers, The Gerrias, and the Fakawis.

 All are afloat and doggy paddling. Over and out Captain.

Bella Bridge 12.7.2016

The Race has been won although we hear they are regretting their speedy finish now: "I wish we could have kept on it for longer." Get their strategy in our winners interview:

Bella Bridge 12.7.16

We caught up with some of our hearty seafarers to see how they were fairing nearing the end of the race.

Some have sailed into trouble with their vessel:

‘We sunk and then we were washed onto a reef. It was mortifying, we genuinely thought we were going to die.’
— Henry, Usain Boat

Usain Boat have some fine things to say about their shipmate:

We’ve had to teach Henry how to sail as we’ve gone along. He’s done a lot of bailing water. He’s made it into a niche fine art.
— Will, Usain Boat

Chris has told us how it really is:

This certainly hasn’t been a booze cruise, that’s for sure.
— Chris, Usain Boat

While Miles tells us about his strangest moment so far:

We were on this tiny island when we started to hear this loud chanting in Swahili. Then we saw this mass of people, hundreds of little kids and their teachers all women, all in their bright clothes, all dancing and singing and they just ran into the ocean with the sun setting. They all looked so happy and content with life. That was pretty amazing.
— Miles, The Jerias

Bella Bridge 11.7.16

The smiling bronzed champs, fresh off the water. We can almost smell the sea salt.

Let the celebrations begin, congratialations speedy sailors

Photo Credit Olof Sundström

Bella Bridge 11.7.16

We can happily declare Team Yacht Club Americano's boat recovered but they have decided not to continue with the rest of the race.

Yacht Club Americano will be having a new adventure using local transport (dhows) to get to the finish and join the teams to party.
— Dylan, Race Chief

Their ocean adventure ends here. So long mateys. See you at the piss up.

Bella Bridge 11.7.16

So the leaderboard as it triumphantly stands:

1. Kayak Team 6 (Finished)

2. The Wet Dreamers

3. The Jerrias

4. Usain Boat

5. Fakawi

6. Unsinkable II

7. Old Man and His Fellas

8. Yacht Club Americano

Rosa Earp 11.7.2016

The Race has barely restarted and we have a winner:

Martin and Olof have crossed the finish line in three and a half days. Phenomenally fast sailing with no capsies that we are aware of. A record that will most likely stand forever unless some other super human sailors come along.

Cool, Calm and collected, the Swedes mastered their Ngalawa early on and put in massive legs, pushing the boundaries without comeing close to breaking the race rules.
— Dylan, Race Chief

Bella Bridge 11.07.16

We've got no updates from the teams for you as it's a race hold day. We do have this update from our crew.

The adventures of Mark and Louis continue today on Mafia Island as refuel is in order before heading out to find the maimed Ngalawa. The winds are still up. Yesterday’s race was in 20 to 30 knots of wind. Spirits are back on track today and presumably the teams grew a few feet taller after surviving yesterday.
— Carey, Race Follower

Rosa Earp 9.7.16

Eventful wouldn’t adequately describe the third day of the race.  We've had two SOS's and one lost boat.

Here's Day's report from Race Chief Dylan, who sees the race from one of our two Race Support Boats:  

It was a deceptively slow start to what turned into a eventful day.
We began on Mafia with Usain Boat, who left about an hour after the race course opened. They hoped to cross to the mainland but hit a reef on the way, capsized and broke their mast. They anchored up, and worked on fixing it:  They were really chilled, they let us know they were on the reef and attempting to self rescue. Their mast had snapped, but they didn’t hit SOS.
They were really chilled, they let us know they were on the reef and attempting to self rescue. Their mast had snapped, but they didn’t hit SOS.
— Dylan, on Usain Bolt
They are an amazing team, much better than you would have expected if you’d seen them at the startline. They were pretty nervous and unsure to begin with, but now they are just flying along. They’ve had their sail rig perfect and hitting all their targets. 
A tracker on Team Jerrias had malfunctioned, so we went to replace the it. As soon as we got there we got as SOS came in from the Wet Dreamers

Wet Dreamers have also been going along really nicely. They began the day in second place. Until they got to just outside of Dar Es Salaam when a wave swamped them and they pitchpoled. Getting the boat upright, they tried to get themselves out of trouble and found they couldn’t.  By the time we got there, their outriggers had got ripped off. We had to tow them to the mainland - and that took 5 hours.
Tonight and tomorrow, the Wet Dreamers have a lot of repairs to do. 
In the rest of the field, At the beginning of the day, there were four teams that left Okuza, Old Man and his Fellows had a good ride today and as did Fakawi
Not so lucky, Unsinkable II team had a loose outrigger, called for assistance. Support Boat 2 responded to them, they started to help, but their efforts were interrupted by an SOS from Yacht Club Americano: "SOS. Capsized. Turtled."

They left Team Unsinkable 2, to their minor repairs to find Yacht Club Americano. After flipping them over, the mast was gone, and it wasn't safe to tow the boat in the conditions. The team had to admit defeat, and board the rescue boat. We may be able to recover the boat tomorrow. It may be gone. 

Now there are 4 teams on Bwejuu, one without a boat, one with a very broken boat. Support Boat 2 went to Usain Boat, they pulled them all the way to Kwale island so they’ll have to search for a mast tomorrow. 

With the teams so spread across the course and some unable to set sail in the morning, the Race Team have called a has called a hold for Sunday 10th July. There will be no sailing.  
They'll review the position in 24 hours. 


Rosa Earp 8.7.16

Day 2 is complete, and it's been a universally pleasant one apparently. Here's the latest from Race Crew Simon:

All the boats are in safely after a great days sailing. 
There is quite a spread in the field with Old Man and His Fellows still on Songo Songo repairing their boat and sorting their gear.
It’s so amazing what you guys do, we were so pleased to see you. We’ll warm up and dry out then sort and fix the boat in the morning.
— Dieter, Old Man and His Fellows
Nyororo, Okuza and Mafia were popular destinations requiring relatively short distances after the excitement (for some) yesterday. 
Even though the afternoon breeze and ocean swell was as big as ever, only team Yacht Team Americano got swamped and had to bail out. They sorted themselves out though and sail on, penalty free. 
On Mafia Island, Usain Boat decided to moor directly in front of a luxury hotel. With packed-up bags they went marching in to find rooms only to find out they were full. The support crew just went for a beer in the near empty hotel. We reckon they probably smell too much.
We quite desperately need a shower.
— Usain Bolt
Meanwhile, at the front end of the field, The Wet Dreamers and Team 6 are showing how it's done, putting in huge distances.
Team 6 really pushed on, aiming for what on the chart was a tiny speck of land called Kuruti. In reality, this is a beach submerged at high tide with mangroves. We sent them a text when they got there: "No shit, we just found that out." Local fishermen helped them tie their boats to the trees and slung hammocks to sleep but they have quite a headstart tomorrow. 
It’s been a very pleasant day for Rescue Boat 1. We’re just paying our bar bill now.
— Simon, Race Crew

Sounds it too.

The Rolling News will be back Saturday afternoon with the updates for Day 3. Until then, enjoy this update from the boys of Usain Bolt:

Bella Bridge 8.7.16

This doesn't look at all bad: 

Bella Bridge 8.7.16

Usain Boat ran into a spot of bother in the wee hours after Henry tipped a local for help.

He got the conversion rates muddled apparently and gave him the equivalent of a weeks wages for five minutes of work. 

I accidentally made someone a millionaire.
— Henry, Usain Boat

Less than ideal perhaps, but as Ngalawa Cup problems go, worse things happen at sea. 

Rosa Earp 8.7.16

The Wet Dreamers set off early this morning: 

Team name update:

Some of our teams have updated their names: Kayak 1 will henceforth be known forever more as Team 6. 

The Rolling News offer our humble apologies for any confusion. 

Rosa Earp 7.7.16

Day 1 is over. Who's doing well? Who's not? 

We've got a race report direct from Race Chief Dylan:

Usain Boat is quite a surprise, they’ve been really nervous during training, but they’ve picked it up quickly,
— Dylan, Race Chief
Kayak 1 tore ahead in the morning marking themselves out to be absolutely amazing sailors. They worked their rig without any assistance and are incredibly confident. Shortly behind them were the Wet Dreamers and Usain Boat
Kayak 1 have made it all the way to Okusa Island today. They're most likely planning to get right through to Niorora tomorrow. If they can keep this up, they could finish this in four or five days - the fastest ever. 
By the end of the day, we've got five boats on Songo Songo: The Jerias, Unsinkable 2, The Old Man and his Fellas, Yacht Club Americano and Fakawi
We were sailing right next to them but by the time we over there, they’d completely lost the outrigger.

They decided to sail on rather than accept a tow. A really ballsy move.
— Louis, Race Crew
Team Jerrias had an eventful day. They were the first to loose an outrigger. Rescued by the support boat manned by Mark and Louis, they decided to sail on with only one outrigger rather than accept a tow. 
Meanwhile the Fakawi boys also got into trouble. They capsized, but managed to right themselves to sail on. 
Yacht Club Americano got themselves stuck at the back of the field. They also fixed their capsize, but their confidence is definitely dented though. 
Next up is the Old Man and the Drunken Fellow. They got to Songo Song0 and pushed on. Definitely a bad call since the wind picked up in the afternoon. They dove into some pretty rough seas and lost an outrigger. They ended up somewhat shipwrecked and needed rescuing. It was a bit tight, a couple of bobbing heads in big swells aren't easy to find.
The support boat came through again, and they were towed with their broken boat back down to Songo Songo. We made them a cup of tea in true English style. Everything they have is soaked - they've got nothing dry. Tonight, they'll have to scrounge and borrow and steal. They are in good spirits and have got a couple of fundis [local repair men] on the case to fix up their vessel. 
The day has been incredibly quiet compared to the previous editions first days. Is that a good thing? The outrigger and capsize issues aside, everyone coming in at sunset is a bit of a win. 

At the close of Day 1 the capsize tally stands at Yacht Club Americano and Team Fakawi tied with one each.  Yacht Club Americano are also competing for the newly invented 'Busted Outrigger' tally. Tomorrow may be a new day, but will the boats forget the beating from day 1?

Live Tracking begins when the sailors begin, around 5am BST.
The Rolling News returns at 10am. 

The shape of the race at the close of Day 1. 

Rosa Earp 7.7.16

Are you a sailor twit? You can get updates in your twitter feed by following The Adventurists. 

Bella Bridge 7.7.16

Rosa Earp 7.7.16

We're halfway through Day 1 on the ground, and the leaderboard stands: 

1.Team 6 (swedes) 
2. The Wet Dreamers
3. Usain Boat
4 Yacht Club Americana
5. The Jerrias
6. Old Man and his Fellas
7. Unsinkable II
8. Fakawai

Glamorously presented, I'm sure you'd agree. 

Bella Bridge 7.7.16

Rosa Earp 07.06.2016

Photos fresh as that coffee from the morning of race launch: 

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