Fautasi - Longboat Crew Prepare


13 May 2013 | General Interest

Boat Crew Prepare for Annual Race


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Fautasi (or longboat) racing is Samoa’s premier national sport, even eclipsing the Samoan passion for rugby at least for a few hours during the annual Independence Day celebrations.

Almost every year Don Bosco Technical Centre, Alafua, enters a boat: the Don Bosco Digicel Segavao. The boat belongs to a neighbouring parish and is captained by the only female skipper, Zita Martel. They are the current reigning Independence champions and are eagerly seeking to defend their title.

The team is sponsored by Digicel, a major telecommunications company to the value of WST$30,000 tala, which allows the team to have a four week training camp, to maintain the 27 metre fautasi boat and make all the other necessary preparations for the race. Many other companies, families and individuals make donations of money or food to enable the success of the camp.

The training regime is intense and demanding as students and teachers compete for a position in the 45 strong team of rowers. Training includes running, stretching, jogging, weights, and on-the-water rowing. Time is spent honing rowing skills, perfecting timing and building stamina for the five mile endurance race.

After several weeks of training, the Au Va’a (Boat Team) are now ‘camping’ at Don Bosco Technical Centre to allow them to train before and after school as well as develop a strong team spirit, which is important when your team motto is “One Beat”.

The training of the team is supported by a team of teachers responsible for the training programme and for conducting the camp. A dedicated team of staff and students, the Au Kuka (cooking team) take responsibility for providing meals for the team every day.

The crew is now in the final preparations for the Independence Race, which will be held on Friday 31 May.

This year the Don Bosco Au Va’a has also been invited, or rather, challenged by the Commander of the USS Pearl Harbor to compete in an international “friendly” race against a team from his crew. So on Saturday 8 June Don Bosco takes on the might of the United States Navy in Samoa’s national sport. After the race the entire school will board the USS Pearl Harbor to provide entertainment for the crew and volunteers aboard.