Recognized by Asian Yachting as the world’s fastest, longest and hardest race for traditional fishing vessels, the annual Sandeq race covers no less than 300 nautical miles in 6 legs. Starting from the harbor of Mamuju in West Sulawesi racing all the way to o Makassar, capital city of South Sulawesi, the International Sandeq Race takes ten days, held during the month of July or August. These traditional, fast, white Mandar sandeq sailing boats start the Race at Mamuju in West Sulawesi, racing down along the Sulawesi coast to Deking, then on to Sumba, Majene, round the Bay to Polewali and on to Pare-pare, Barru and finishing at the Losari Beach in Makassar where a grand ceremony awaits to welcome all participants.
The Sandeq Race Sail and Cultural Festival is supported by the governments of South and West Sulawesi as well as by the travel agencies and hotel association coordinated by the Makassar Tourism Board and Indonesia’s Marine Tourism Association, Gahawisri.
The Mandar and the Bugis of Sulawesi are among Indonesia’s best and famous boat builders and mariners. In his book: The Prahu, Traditional Sailing boat of Indonesia, Adrian Horridge describes the Sandeq as “a deep-hulled 10-metre-long outrigger canoe with vertical sides about a metre high and an upturned prow of another metre. The proportions are unusual in that the aft outrigger boom is amidships. The forward one is across the bows and the single tall mast is half-way between the two booms. The sandeq is usually painted white all over and has a single white triangular sail.”
The sandeq is Mandar’s fast fishing boat essential for reaching the fishing grounds. As it is divided into three or four compartments, fish can be kept alive in fish tanks. On the return journey from their fish catch, boats men will race each other home to be the first to reach the market.