Fautasi captains hold meeting — No registration fee proposed by Fua’o captain

Ga’ote’ote Pala’ie Tofao wants to suspend the registration fee for this year’s Flag Day fautasi race. The Fua’o captain from Vatia advanced his motion in Wednesday’s meeting between skippers and representatives of villages that are expected to enter boats in the 2014 tu’uga va’a and the Deputy Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Tuiagamoa Tavai. 
Ga’ote’ote said the fautasi campaigns were very expensive and the villages had few resources to turn to. “We spent money preparing the crew everyday and to fix our fautasi so they can be strong and ready for the race. That is why I’m proposing that your committee not impose an entry fee for all the fautasi.”
His motion drew wide support. Last year’s entry fee was $250. Tuiagamoa did not address Ga’ote’ote’s request directly, but said he was going to raise the matter up with the Flag Day committee in their next meeting.
However, Tuiagamoa suggested another alternative. He told the attendants at the meeting held at his office that it would be far better for the captains to push for a bigger purse for the April ‘faigamea ile tai’.
“Our office will support a big jump in monetary prizes for the championship fautasi and other top placed boats. If we can manage to get $20,000 for the #1 fautasi that will be so much better. I think we should aim high.”
Villages that sent representatives to the meeting are: Vatia, Aua, Pago Pago, Fagasa, Fagatogo, Faga’alu, Nu’uuli, Manu’a and Vailoa. Samoana High School has informed the Office of Samoan Affairs that it would not take part in this year’s April Flag Day Regatta. Tuiagamoa also told the meeting that the Independent State of Samoa has declined an invitation to send a fautasi to participate, citing the cost and preparations needed for such an endeavor.
Nu’uuli will field two fautasi for this year’s race. Manutafea Taufete’e told this correspondent that their second boat would be on the water next week. “We still have a lot of work to do but I’m confident that our second fautasi will meet our deadline. We expect to put it on the water next week.”
Tufuga Maselino Ioane is renovating the fautasi that was once known as the Seahawk. Nu’uuli bought the brand new boat from the village of Aoa about five years ago and contracted Ioane to remodel the fautasi to suit their specifications.
Ioane who is from Aua is also building his village’s new fautasi. The Paepaeoulupo’o should be ready to be christened next week according to the leader of the Aua aumaga, Leonard Liufau.

Vatia captain, Ga'ote'ote Pala'ie Tofao with Fagasa's skipper, Faima Tua. Ga'ote'ote proposed during yesterday’s captains’ meeting with Samoan Affairs that the registration fee for the Flag Day fautasi race be eliminated for this year’s Flag Day Fautasi regatta. [photo: FV]


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