Madagascar, an exotic island of the East coast of Africa is the setting for the inaugural Pirogue Challenge.

What is a Pirogue? This unique sailing craft was introduced from the East thousands of years ago, unchanged and still used by local fisherman and traders. They are fast and sail close to the wind. They can vary in length, anything from 3m – 10m. We have chosen 6m Pirogues as they are quick, nimble and lots of fun to race.

In this week long adventure, teams of up to 3 will put their newly learned skills to the test. You will be up against the elements of nature and all other elements that get thrown at you.

You don’t need to be a professional sailor to compete in the Pirogue Challenge. All you need is an over developed sense of adventure with lots of courage. You will be at one with your pirogue made of wooden planks, triangular sack for a sail and a precarious looking mast.

Nosy Be Pirogue Challenge Gallery


  • About 4/6 hours of sailing time per day depending on wind and sea conditions
  • Teams of 2 or 3 Adventurists per pirogue
  • Two days to learn the art of lateen rigged sailing
  • Four days to get to the finish line in whatever conditions Neptune throws at you.
  • Tactical use of the morning Varatas (Easterly) and afternoon Thelio (Westerly) winds.


  • Madagascar is a huge island of  the East coast of Africa. We will be exploring the Nosy Be archipelago in the North West  of Madagascar.


  • We will be having a trial race from 4 – 11 June and will be offering this at cost price. Followed by the official race in October 2017. Entries are now open.


One does not need any sailing experience to apply…..but it helps. It also helps if :

  • You’ve seen a compass before and know what a GPS is.
  • You can tie knots with one hand while you are holding on with the other
  • You can sit on a wet plank for hours getting sprayed by warm Indian Ocean sea water and Enjoy it.
Madagascar Holiday


  • Sun– Fly to Nosy Be from JNB, South Africa, Milan or Paris. We meet and greet at the airport and transfer you to Mange Be for brief and kit hand out.
  • Mon– Early speedboat to Nosy Iranja (start camp). Check into your beach bungalow. Pirogue allocation with instructor and immediately start sail practice.
  • Tues– Leg 1 – Race to Baramahamay on the main land. Lunch. Leg.2 as the Theleo wind picks up in the afternoon, you will learn how to handle your Pirogue in more challenging conditions back to Iranja(start camp).
  • Wed– Leg.3 circumnavigate Iranja.
  • Thurs– Leg.4 sail to Russian Bay. In the bay there will be a tactical race course set just before you cross the line.
  • Fri– Leg.5 sail to Sakatia
  • Sat– Leg.6 final leg. It’s fast, long and downwind with a twist. Compulsory beach stop on Tanikely Marine Reserve for snorkelling. Then to the finish at Lokobie. Prize giving and party, party, party
  • Sun – Morning at leisure then head back to airport.



  • R25,000 – $2,000 – € 1,800 – £1400
  • SPECIAL ON NOW!!!!!!! Only 3 spots up for grabs…….R15,000 – $1,200 – €1,100 – £900 HURRY…….first come first serve. (For June Challenge only)


  • All accommodation
  • All food and beverages
  • All transfers (once you land we will look after you)
  • pre-race training with local skipper, and theory on navigation
  • Race course navigation charts with co-ordinates of way points
  • Race follow boats monitoring the fleet at all times with a medic
  • Each crew member will be allocated with a satellite tracker
  • Each boat will have two way radio coms with follow boats


  • Your flight to Nosy Be Int. Airport (We can assist in bookings at discounted fares.
  • Visas available on entry. 25 euro and you need cash for this payment
  • Travel insurance/medical insurance
  • Other personal expenses


  • Your own GPS
  • Life jacket and head torch
  • Sun block, sunglasses and a cap


  • All you need is a t-shirt or 2. Pair of shorts and some form of footwear
  • All you extra luggage will be transferred to the next leg. PS. Less is more!


  • Pirogue Stats
  • Speed: 4 – 12 knots
  • Hull: 5.5 – 6 metres
  • Draft: 0.75 metres
  • Beam: 0.55 metre (hull)
  • Beam: 4-8 metres (outriggers)
  • Sail: Lateen/ Settee
  • Sail area: 31 – 42 m2
  • Steering: Tiller
  • **Each boat is hand-made so don’t be surprised if yours has slightly different measurements


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