Indian ocean

CassandravillE: Racing From Dar el Salam to Zanzibar

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Who: William “Bill” Kosar

Where: From Dar-es-Salaam to Tanga and back, keeping Zanzibar to port in both directions. (“Tanzacat”)

Multihull: CassandravillE Elf 26


We crossed the border between Tanzania and Kenya before anchoring at the Tanga Yacht Club. We set sail again at dawn the next morning, in convoy mode, bound for Dar-es-Salaam, finally anchoring after midnight a few miles from the northern tip of the island of Zanzibar (Unguja), before going back down to Dar. The race started a few days later, with more than 25 boats on the starting line. The instructions were simple: keep Zanzibar to port in both directions. CassandravillE left Msasani Bay after Bongoyo Island and headed east towards Zanzibar, close to Bongoyo Island's reef. Hidde knew these waters well, and his strategy paid off. We passed three boats while sailing close to the island and its reef. Theoretically, after passing the northern tip of Zanzibar, the ocean current should carry us to Tanga. However, finding the right strip of current turned out to be more complicated than expected. On several occasions, we crossed cargo ships on the freight route. They had rolls of barbed wire all around them to prevent pirates from boarding. This was a reminder that the regatta had been cancelled for a few years because of problems with piracy along the Somali coast. While it would theoretically have taken us six hours to reach the south-eastern tip of Zanzibar, we had been gone for 16 hours and had still not arrived. The wind had dropped and CassandravillE was not fast enough before the tide turned. "Never mind," I decided, "We'll start the outboard engine and go back to cruising class. "At dawn, along the exposed Indian Ocean coast of Zanzibar, we were sailing with sail and motor, carried along by the current. Daybreak came as we approached Tanga. It took an hour to cross the channel to the Tanga Yacht Club. We were very happy to anchor. We'd done it! We had just covered 120 nautical miles in 34 hours. What a saga!


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