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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Nanjo City Mayor's Cup (Sabani Race)

The Sabina Race (Nanjo's Mayor's Cup)

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The Nanjo City's Mayor's Cup

      N 26 07.743E 127 46.199

The Nanjo City Mayor's Cup (Sabani Race)

Update: The Nanjo City Mayor's Cup will not be held this year 2014

Every year, Nanjo City hosts the Mayor's Cup, a sailing race in which participants use Sabani Boats (traditional Okinawan sailing boats) to race around a small island called Oujima. It was in 2007, when Sabani enthusiasts first started an in-house tournament circling the tiny island. But in an effort to preserve Okinawan culture, an official tournament was declared in 2010 under the auspice of Nanjo City and since then has been called The Nanjo City Mayor's Cup.(1)

Part of the ethos of the Sabani community is to raise awareness of Okinawan culture among the Okinawan youth and to preserve the ocean ecosystem. Common activities during these type of events include a Sabani mixer where beginners  get a chance to ride Sabani boats, as well as a beach clean up of the nearby area for trash and debris.

The Race. The entire race involves circling Oujima Island 4 times.(1) One loop is roughly 1.5 miles long (apprx 1600 meters) totaling about 6 miles after completion. Depending on the skill level of the teams, the entire race can last from an 1hr 15 minutes to 2 hours. At the end, there is an awards ceremony, along with closing remarks from guest speakers. Note. The race course may change due to high winds and dangerous surf conditions. In the 2013 Mayor's Cup, hazardous sea conditions had forced the planning committee to cancel the scheduled race loop around the island and use a more safer course within the Oujima harbor. In a tournament-style setup, Sabani teams were placed in different race groups with winners in each group advancing to the finals.  

Epilogue. You will find a lot of camaraderie among Sabani enthusiast at any Sabani event. There is a push among like-minded people to promote more Sabani activities. One of the biggest Sabani races occurs in June where participants leave from Furuzamami Beach on Zamami Island and finish at a Naha Port, a 3-4 hour excursion. To learn more about the Sabini Boats please visit Douglas Brooks' website.

Author's Notes. Where to watch. Since the race involves circling the island 4 times, most people pick one spot and watch the race from that location. Many spectators will be watching from the Oujima Bridge as the Sabani boats race underneath. Restrooms. It is recommended that you make all your restroom stops before you arrive on Oujima. Restrooms may not be easily accessible or available depending on your location around the island. 

Date: Sunday 22 September, 2013
Date (If inclement weather): Sunday 29 September, 2013
Spectator Admission: Free
Location: Oujima Island, Nanjo city, (by vehicle okay)
Website: (Japanese) (English section)

10:00〜10:30 Opening Ceremony
10:30〜10:40 Race Course and Rules Explanation
10:30〜11:00 Team Prep
11:00〜13:00 Nanjo City Mayor's Cup Sabani Race
12:30〜13:00 Beach Cleanup
13:00〜13:40 Sabani Mixer (have to have participated in the beach cleanup)
14:00〜15:00 Nanjo City Dragon Boat Race 2013 (NEW)
15:30〜16:30 Awards and Closing ceremony
16:30〜18:30 Finish/Cleanup

Related Articles. 2013 Sabani Race (Zamami to Naha), 2012 Nanjo City's Mayor's Cup, Japan Times (American Out to Save Boat-building Art)

Source of (Nanjo City's Mayor's Cup)

Directions. Take Highway 331 into Nanjo City. You will see signs directing you to Oujima. You can cross using Ou Bridge. Parking. There is no designated parking. You basically have to "do as the Romans do". Recommend get their little early for parking spaces.

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