As always, it seems, there is controversy. The fautasi committee was determined to make it a fair race and eliminate any who started over the line, but….
It was a beautiful sunrise as we went out around 6:30 am.
To be honest, it was too rough for many of the boats to go out to the official start, so the line kept moving forward. And the boats kept moving forward. They were all fairly still and in a similar line when the boat in the 6th lane (Iseula) started rowing forward aggressively. The boat in the 7th lane (Fetuoleafiafi) started also, appearing to us like they weren’t quite sure what to do. From the timer’s boat, there was a lot of screaming to them to stop rowing, but they didn’t. Then there was a short countdown and horns blowing and the race was off. But the two lanes closest to us had a large lead and were already in full motion.
The Nuuuli boat won, and they were the definite winners. Second place, well…. But we timed as was our job. The fautasi captains all met and they and the committee decided to leave the places stand as they arrived at the finish line. It was all in Samoan, so I’m not sure exactly what was said, but in the end the captains decided that every boat was over the line. Some more than others. Even the third place boat (Fuao) agreed on the standings.
Ideas for next year were suggested, so hopefully things will continue to become more ‘fair’.
I am just amazed that a team of 50 guys can be coordinated with the heavy oars and low gunnel boats! Very impressive.