Don Bosco skipper not risking her crews safety in tomorrow’s fautasi race

The Don Bosco students on parade this morning at the American Samoa Flag Day celebrations at the Veterans Stadium, Tafuna and will perform last in the entertainment programme this afternoon

Story and Photos by Lance Polu

PAGO PAGO: FRIDAY 18 APRIL 2015: As the weather turns for the worse today, the skipper of the Don Bosco Segavao longboat from Apia, will not take any risk for her crews safety in tomorrow’s mornings Flag Day race.

The only female skipper in the field of nine longboats, Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel told Talamua this morning that she is monitoring the weather closely and the forecast for tomorrow morning does not appear any better.

The race was aborted yesterday morning when two of three long boats were swamped by 5 to 8 foot swells and a strong westerly on the high seas. Two of the nine fautasis had to be towed back to land after going underwater.

Vaimasenu’u said that as a mother,  she is responsible for the safety of a young crew who are all college students at the Don Bosco College, Alafua in Samoa.

“The (Race) Committee said if the weather is not any better, then they will shorten the race to the safe course which is inside the harbour,” she told Talamua. “That will be a very short race,” she said.

But if the weather turns out for the worst, she will certainly pull out.

Vaimasenu’u said her boat almost suffered the fate of the two that were swamped by the high seas at the races starting line yesterday morning.

“We were behind them and I saw that they took too long to turn and the boats were at a vulnerable angle and the choppy seas were coming at them very quickly,” the experienced skipper explained.

“So we quickly turned around as our boat took time to turn because of its length.”

The only female skipper in a field of nine

The only female fautasi skipper in a field of nine

Her challenge now is to get the students mindset right. The students are performing last at the Flag day festivities at the Veterans Stadium where the official ceremonies for the Flag Day celebrations are held.

Known for their agility and physicality in their performances of Samoan dances, Don Bosco College will need to switch their mindset from dancing and singing this afternoon, to competing on the high seas at 6.00 tomorrow morning.

“It will be dark, and I need their total and single attention to my every command when we are out there on treacherous waters,” she said.