The Kraken Cup

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The Kraken Cup

A mango tree and a bed sheet vs the ocean

Kraken Cup

Ngalawa boat out on the water

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 centuries.

Take a dugout canoe made from a mango tree, add a bamboo yard, a sail and a couple of outriggers and you have an ngalawa – the ultimate sailing machine.

Line up against a fleet of like-minded souls and point it haphazardly towards the Indian Ocean racecourse of spice islands, deserted beaches, and sandbanks off the coast of Tanzania. Whilst gunning for glory, you can celebrate the fact that you’re helping do your bit to save the world too.

Welcome to the Kraken Cup, the world’s greatest sailing race.

The Boats

A tree, a bed-sheet and some string – what could go wrong? The humble ngalawa has not changed in design for hundreds of years because it is a thing of ancient seafaring genius. Locals tend to use them for fishing and for making short trips, which makes them the obvious choice for a long-distance race.

Why? Because yachts are for tanning, posing and for old people who have given up. Proper adventure pokes you in the eye when you ditch the technology and are forced to rely on your wits and your cunning. With a double outrigger for stability and a triangular sail, they can thump along at quite a pace too.

Funnily enough, a hollowed out mango tree takes on slightly more water than a fibreglass boat. Concoctions to seal them can include shark’s intestines, tar and, of course, hippopotamus fat. Lovely.

The Kraken Cup is the ultimate test of your sailing skills.

The Unroute

Sailor looking at a map on an Ngalawa

We searched the world for a suitable aquatic arena until we decided upon the islands off the coast of Tanzania.

Annoyingly, there’s piercing turquoise water, blue skies and white sandy beaches. Thankfully, however, conditions here change faster than Usain Bolt after a quick dip in the Arctic, and parts of the racecourse are wonderfully remote.

The beauty of the islands, beaches and villages and the big-smiles of the local people can easily distract you from the fucking massive adventure lurking here.

In 2020 the course will be even longer and shall finish way down in Mozambique, giving you even more opportunity to snatch glory or become a part of the reef.

Do not be fooled, this is a gargantuan slice of adventure cake that if you manage to finish will make you clinically obese with prestige.

The Support

Man with a map

The oceans can be somewhat dangerous. People drown, get eaten and fall off the edge of the planet. As much as we’d love to simply give you your log and point you towards the sunset, we’ve thrown a bit of a safety net in place in order to keep tragedy to a manageable level.

We train you, give you safety equipment and – if you’re really in the shit – you’ll have an emergency tracker which you can use to contact the Race boats. Bear in mind though it’s the Indian Ocean and not central London, you’ll still be responsible for keeping yourself in one piece.

Your boat will have an LED flare and a personal strobe light and a dye pack. Which will all come in handy for the finish party if you don’t need to use them on the water.

The History

Getting the boat ready

The race was dreamed up 2014 after a particularly heavy session on the rum. The Pioneers’ Edition then took place in July 2015. It was nothing short of glorious mayhem. It confirmed all our predictions that this was indeed an adventure for only those with the very sturdiest of undercarriage.

In 2016 there were two editions and in 2017 we decided to add a few compulsory race checkpoints to add to the racing element of the adventure, veritably encouraging fierce head to head battles for leaderboard positions all the way to the finish line.

Since then the race has gone from strength to strength and is now firmly on the bucket list for the bravest of sailors. Which is just as well really as that bucket will likely come in handy for bailing out your boat.