Fagasa’s Fealofani is ready
The high-tech Fealofani Samoa III will be making a different appearance this year, as they have had enough time to make up for the lost time they had during last year’s race. This time, Fagasa is coming full force to tackle this year’s 2013 Flag Day Fautasi Race for 1st Place.
Coverage of this year’s “Flag Day Fautasi Fiva 2013” is brought to you by Coors Light, distributed exclusively by GHC Reid Co. Ltd. “Family of Fine Beverage” – “Oloa o Leala”.
American Samoa witnessed Fagasa ruling the ocean during the reign of the Fealofani Samoa II — it was unbeatable no matter the distance of the race. Then, the tsunami tragedy of 2009 wrecked the Fealofani Samoa II and Fagasa was without a fautasi for about two years — enter the Fealofani Samoa III, which raced in last year’s — poorly — it was one of the last boats to reach the finish line in all the organized races.
This year, there’s a new captain on board and new crew and a renewed determination that this will take them to the finish line as champions, once again.
Fealofani Samoa III is now under the leadership of Captain Lupefa’alele Faima Tua, who told Samoa News, “we’ve been pushing our rowers to work very hard.”
He noted, “it has been eight weeks since our crew has been running up and down the hill to Fagasa non-stop, and it has been three weeks since we were able to do hands on work concerning the ocean work of our preparations.”
Tua said compared to last year’s preparations, which were sudden — “we only had one week to prepare and try to get used to our new fautasi, but this year, we spent quite a good amount of time out there to have these new rowers get used to rowing our new boat.”
He said that “the total amount of rowers that we have now is 40, and that is also the number of seats that we have on the boat, so we are working with this group to try and bring the title back to Fagasa this year.”
Tua told Samoa News that there is a big difference in Fagasa’s crew this year. “We have a lot of young rowers joining in this year. Last year, we had a lot of veteran rowers who joined us, but there just was not enough time to prepare for the race.”
He added, “last year… Flag Day was coming fast and our boat was still in question —whether it would_ be finished before the race or not.”
Tua says that Fagasa is only going for one thing this year— “our goal is the same as all the other villages joining in on this year’s race — we want first place and first place is what we are looking at in today’s race.”
He concluded, “I first want to give thanks to God for blessing us with health and good strength. I would also like to thank our village of Fagasa for their big support, “i le afioga i le tofi o ali’i ma matua ma usoali’i, i fetalaiga maualuga i le latou tofa ma upu i lenei nu’u” for selecting me as the captain for this year’s crew.
“I know that this is not an easy task, but I am thankful and grateful that the elders of the village decided on a decision to select me as captain.
“I would also like to thank all the elderly mothers and fathers in our village who are praying and supporting us to come back home safely. As you all know, things happen, and out there it is also called a lost grave throughout the whole sea, so we don’t know what might happen, but we pray that everything goes well in today’s race.”
“Last but not least, I want to thank my wife and my kids, and her family as well in Pago Pago for their big support, without them, I wouldn’t be able to do this service proudly.”