1000Km of dirt tracks and 4655m of altitude is what is required on the journey to the ‘Roof of the World’ Regatta. In its second year, the regatta is by far the highest altitude sailing event in the world and probably the remotest. Even hardy adventure travellers find this route hard to negotiate as they venture along the epic ‘Pamir Highway’ (the second highest international highway in the world) in Tajikistan, a landlocked country in the heart of Central Asia.
This inexplicable concept was devised for the sailor who wants to be tested to the limits and who seeks the cutting edge of adventure. Lake Karakul is a big lake (25Km diameter) but for 8 months of the year is frozen. Only in May does the ice begin to melt and for four short months remains ice free. In September, the ‘Chinese’ wind begins to blow and the moment is right for sailing before the ice returns. Needless to say, water temperatures are cold and dry-suits are a strong preference for those who dare.
Unsurprisingly, it is kite-boarders who mostly frequent the event although wind-surfers have made it to the lake and sailed. Basic facilities in Karakul village are provided by the very welcoming local population who turn out in force to witness the event and be amazed by the insanity of those who risk the cold depths of their lake, known locally as ‘Black Lake’.
The ‘Roof of the World’ Regatta will be held this year from 24th to 27th September although participants are already travelling to the event over a week before it commences. We hope to see more in future years as our adventure story continues.
(Tony Nelson – Etc4CA)
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