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Committee, fautasi captains agree to multiple races

While the 2016 Flag Day Committee has agreed to two fautasi heats to select boats to compete in a championship race, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga told a committee meeting that he would prefer a one-day race as this would make it easier for the Fautasi Race Committee.


The governor also announced at the meeting his wish to again give out free food vouchers for everyone at the Veterans Memorial Stadium for the official Flag Day program that will be held on Apr. 18, since the actual Flag Day, Apr. 17 falls on a Sunday.


At the Flag Day committee meeting, Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, who is also co-chair, announced the decision reached for the fautasi race where 13 fautasi will participate. He explained that the fautasi captains and the race committee have agreed to two races — for Group A and B to select boats for the championship race.


Another fautasi committee meeting will be held soon in which captains or representatives of each fautasi will draw lots to determine who will be racing in Group A or Group B — six fautasi will compete in one race and seven for the other race.


Group A race is scheduled for 8a.m. Apr. 12, while Group B will race the next day, also at 8a.m.


The top three fautasi from each Group will then compete in the championship race set for 8a.m. Saturday, Apr. 16, which will select the first place to 6th place winners. And for the fautasi that doesn’t make it to the top three of each group race, they will compete in a separate race set for 8a.m. Friday, Apr. 15 for the seventh place to the 13th place.


Lemanu noted that the public will be able to witness almost a week of fautasi races and this is expected to please everyone.


The Lt. governor also revealed an issue of interest that the fautasi committee and captains have agreed on. And this deals with how long it takes a fautasi to get to the finish line.


For example, if Group B’s winner takes longer to reach the finish line than that of the 4th place boat in Group A., then its the 4th place winner from Group A that will participate in the championship race, not the winner of Group B.


So basically the time it takes for a fautasi to finish the race will determine the place of each boat.


Lolo asked if the fautasi committee has sought recommendations and input from fautasi captains for fautasi race plans, and Lemanu responded yes, adding that the fautasi race plan was based on recommendations from fautasi captains.


The governor pointed out that no matter the efforts of the fautasi committee to line-up fautasi before the start of the race, the truth is, this is a very difficult task. He recommended that the committee maintain the past practice in fautasi races over the years — one race for all fautasi at one time to choose the winner.


Despite all these plans and other efforts of the committee, in the end the public will voice criticism against the fatuasi committee and the administration, not against the fautasi captains, according to the governor.


Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga T. Asuega, who is the Flag Day co-chair, thanked the governor for the recommendation, but noted that the fautasi race committee as well as fautasi captains agreed to the race plan as a way to satisfy all boats racing this year.


Lemanu and Mauga said the governor’s recommendation will be shared with fautasi captains in its next — yet-to-be scheduled meeting. The pair also noted that this year’s fautasi race route is expected to start just off of Fatumafuti village and not from where it previously began, which means it will be a shorter race.


The 13 fautasi to race this year, include one each from the Fono, the Executive branch, and Samoa — as well as the Fuao from Vatia, Aeto of Pago Pago, Fealofani Samoa II of Fagasa, Fetu o le Afiafi of Fagaalu, Iseulaolemoana III from Fagatogo, Matasaua for the Manu’a islands, Taema of Leone, Paepaeulupoo of Aua and the two Manulele Tausala boats from Nu’uuli.


Also at the meeting, Lolo said he wants to again provide this year’s Flag Day celebration with free food vouchers so people can purchase food from vendors at the Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Lolo Administration implemented this initiative in 2013 — during its first year in office.


See future Samoa News editions for other Flag Day programs this year marking 116 years since the United States Flag was raised on Tutuila island.


See original Samoan story published in yesterday’s Lali’s section.