Sulawesi’s SANDEQ Fast Traditional Sea Craft Join Les Tonnerres de Brest 2012 Festival in France

The sleek white Sandeq fishing boats from Mandar, West Sulawesi have been chosen to represent Indonesia in the spectacular Les Tonnerres de Brest Festival 2012 in Bretagne, France joining 2500 sail boats from around the world from 13 – 19 July 2012.
Hailed as the World’s Brest Festival of the Sea, held every four years, the Festival is a veritable maritime feast gathering all kinds of beautiful sailing crafts from traditional flotillas and tall ships, to modern yachts from all around the globe.   
Three Sandeq boats to be manned by specially flown crews led by their Mandar leader, Muhamman Ridwan Alamuddin have already arrived in Brest, while their boats have been sent overseas three months ago. During the Festival, the Sandeq will particpate in regattas in the Atlantic Ocean watched by more than 1 million visitors.
The Sandeq are world renowned for their speed, with a length of 13 meters, width 80 cm wide and a 1 meter hight only. Mandar fishermen from West Sulawesi use these to fish tuna in the deep Makassar Straits. In good weather these craft can make a speed of 40 kilometers an hour. Each year an annual Sandeq race is held from Mamuju in West Sulawesi to Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi, a distance of 300 nautical miles covered in 10 days.
It was Paskal Chelet-Roux, Festival Committee member who was highly attracted with these features when he visited Mandar last year and had the Sandeq represent Asian maritime heritage at Brest. He also saw how the Mandar fishermen continued to sustain their cultural heritage.
Indonesia is one of five countries specially invited by the Festival, they include Mexico, Russia, Norway, Morocco and Indonesia.   
Indonesia has organized an array of activities in Brest allowing participants to understand the many facets of Indonesian Culture.
Indonesia continues to attract French tourists. In 2011, some 10,250 French tourists came to Indonesia, an increase of 12.64% compared to the previous year.
Below is the explanation given by the Committee on Guest country Indonesia:
Indonesia: the archipelago of 17,000 islands
Fragrances, colours, smiles, heat: a guaranteed change of scene between land and sea.
Indonesia, the guest of honour of Tonnerres de Brest 2012, invites you to explore its numerous maritime regions.
At the heart of the Indonesian village you can discover the spectacular cultures of this immense archipelago. From Sumatra to Papua via Java, Bali, the Sunda islands and the islands of Nusa Tangara, Sulawesi and Borneo, the Moluccas, the festival will bring together the Indonesians from all these regions.
Indonesia is a unique maritime heritage, a tradition of fishing found everywhere, represented during maritime festivals by the Mandar sailors and their astonishing Sandeqs, several of which will be seen for the first time in Europe.
With a hull 12 to 13 metres long, a 16-metre boom and a double outrigger of wood and bamboo, these sailing boats were traditionally designed for catching flying fish (the orange roe of which is used in sushis). The Sandeqs are painted entirely in white to ward off the evil spirits of the sea. They sail quickly downwind; sailing is a tightrope walker's feat for the 8 sailors on board!
A flotilla of three sandeqs, three 3 fishing prahaus and colourful single outriggers of Ahmed-Bali along with 15 sailors and carpenters from the Mandar country will plunge you into Bali's marine atmosphere.
In dock, once in the village of Indonesia, the public will be invited to share the everyday life, arts and crafts and culture of the Indonesians:
  • Make your own scarf in Batik, with natural dye, between tradition and modernity,
  • Demonstration of fighting kites, 
  • Crafting of mysterious masks of traditional theatre,
  • Making model boats to teach children the rudiments of sailing, 
In groups of 15, the public will be able to play Gamelan.
Enjoy a Borneo basketwork area, run by 3 craftswomen. An exhibition of paintings and large format photos of Indonesian sailing ships will set this exotic scene.
One thing is sure: the good spirits of the festival will guide you to listen to the legends of the archipelago's terrifying sea; dance to the beat of the Borneo tribes, or try and keep up with the quick steps of Pencak Silat (a martial art). Between land and sea, Indonesia will weave a web of marine legends.
A famous dancer from Java and a French storyteller will illustrate the myths of the sea.
The Indonesia village is organized with the backing of: Yayasan TOTAL Indonesia - the Indonesian embassy in France - the French embassy in Indonesia - The French Pencat Silak Association- Batik Bixa - the French Cultural Centre of Yogyakarta - The National Botanic Conservatory of Brest - Dieppe capital of the kite - ETS Le Saint Hanuman - Harris Hotel Tauzia group - ISFFL - La Canopée - La Galerie Sonore d’Angers - the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism  - PT.Limajari Bali - Restaurant Indonésia – Tripper
(Source: Les Tonnerres de Brest, Kompas)
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