By Sigurd Neubauer
Since its inception in 2014, the Tiwal Cup has been an annual sailing competition taking place in the stunning Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany, France. During its first year, it had 9 participants but every year since, the sporting competition has grown bigger. Last year, in 2022, it had 87 participants who came from all over the world, including New Zealand, Japan, the United States and across Europe.
“Because the Tiwal Cup is growing bigger every year, we’ve decided to host it on a bi-annual basis as it takes a lot of work to organize it. When the participants come, we treat them like Kings and Queens,” Excoffon says, pointing out that she wants them to fully enjoy a well-organized event. The next sporting event will take place in May 2024; she’s projecting at least 100 participants.
During the Cup, many of the participants are doing acrobatics onboard. Everything is easy on the Tiwal: Excoffon
The first challenge is to ensemble the sailboat, which begins once the inventor-entrepreneur blows the whistle. Once the inflatable sailboat has been ensembled, which takes around 20 minutes, the competitors rush it into the water before setting off for the race.
The race is divided into two categories: a single and double.
“The race is so much fun because it lends itself to be a family affair as children or significant others can sail onboard,” she exclaims with obvious enthusiasm. Once in the water, the competitors sail around the various islets. One of the challenges they face is to collect small plastic balls – in all colors – from an inflatable bin, without capsizing.
“If one capsizes, it is part of the fun, but the competition also lends itself to playing around as the Tiwal can even be used as a ‘bumper car’ of sorts,” she says, then quips: “This is why it is so much fun as people are constantly laughing and enjoying themselves just like little children.”
Following the competition, a lunch is organized on one of the islets. During the luncheon, a ‘Kids Cup’ is organized where they’re able to sail on their own. “I absolutely love this part.” In the evening following the competition, a dinner is organized.
The next day, participants can organize their own meetup to sail with new and old friends, Excoffon says.
In 2020, Tiwal launched an app where Tiwal owners can contact each other based on location to sail together. “It is not easy to organize a meetup, especially in the U.S. because it is such a big country, but for those who want to sail together, what is needed are the appropriate wind conditions and adequate time for sailing. But one can always be in touch,” she says, pointing out that the biggest Tiwal community is the Tiwal Cup. It also has a Facebook community.
The Tiwal brand
“My vision centered on developing a boat that would be easy to launch into the water, easy to carry, and easy to store. It also needed, of course, to perform well, Exoffon told us in a previous interview about how the brand got its start.
The Tiwal sailboats come in two bags, which fit easily into the back of a car, and take about 20 minutes to assemble. The company is based in Plescop, France but its biggest market is the U.S.
All images are credited to Tiwal.