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Segavao III raring and ready for race

The Segavao Digicel III is ready to do battle when the best fautasi (longboats) in Samoa are put to the test for the 50th Independence Day regatta, next month. Launched on Monday at Mulinu’u, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was among the guests. Segavao III is said to be worth “$5.” Prime Minister Tuilaepa said this was the cost “I was told when I asked how much it cost.“I laughed and the person who told me this was doing the same but I thought well it only cost us $5 to build the Airport and the University.” Tuilaepa said funding for the fautasi was made possible through donations and sponsors, many of them “wish to stay anonymous”.“They were asked if their names could be painted on the vessel but they declined. They want to leave it to God, the blessings will come from there.”Tuilaepa said the Segavao III is the first fautasi constructed by builder, Alaiasa Schwartz Hunt.“He is a house builder and so I am unsure whether the vessel is properly built,” the Prime Minister laughed. He joked the boat looked similar to a Niuean rowing vessel but not “a racing one.” Tuilaepa said the first Segavao was rowed by youth and women of Siusega because we “we couldn’t find any of the men.”The result was forgettable. “While other competing boats finished the race and collected their prizes, it was only then the Segavao arrived.” The second Segavao was rowed by Police officers.“That was the first win and the last time that they rowed because they left for overseas missions to Sudan, East Timor and Liberia.” Tuilaepa said he expects the Independence race to be tough and he urged the Segavao III crew to do their best.“But I leave that to the captain, Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel to train [the crew] and if we don’t get a place that is not important.”“What is important is that you have participated in Samoa’s 50th Independence celebrations.”