A fautasi (/ˌfɑːʊˈtɑːsi/ FAH-uu-TAH-see;[1] also fa'utasis)[2] is a Samoan boat, similar to a longboat. Fautasi boats are around 100 feet in length and can accommodate a rowing crew of 50.[3] A coxwain uses a drum to beat a tempo to coordinate the rowing.[4] Each fautasi also has a captain.[5] The meaning of fautasi is "to build as one," which reflects the need for teamwork in using the boats.[3] Prior to the use of modern-day ferries, fautasi were the main mode of transport between Upolu and Savai'i.[6]

Today fautasi are mainly used in racing events.[6] Traditionally, men involved in the racing spent eight weeks away from their families and other luxuries, and training with their captain.[2][5] The races take place during Independence Days week celebrations in June.[1] The top three finalists in the races receives a cash prize from the Government of Samoa.[7] The sport used to be male-only, but in 2013, there was an all-women crew.[6] The first woman to become a fautasi skipper was Zita Martel in 2001.[8] Entrants from Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga and Hawaii have participated.[9][10]

Fautasi are made of hollowed-out trees.[6]


  1. Stalcup, Ann (May 2002). "Holidays Galore". Faces. 18 (9): 22. Retrieved 8 November 2017 via EBSCOhost.
  2. "Off the Record". York Daily Record. 1974-02-21. p. 16. Retrieved 2017-11-08 via Newspapers.com.
  3. Phillips, Adrian (2013-04-27). "Fishing for compliments on the South Pacific outpost of Samoa". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  4. "'Fautasi' Boats". The Decatur Herald. 1965-08-24. p. 6. Retrieved 2017-11-08 via Newspapers.com.
  5. "No Wives, Smokes for 40 Oarsmen". Courier-Post. 1971-08-04. p. 68. Retrieved 2017-11-08 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "Pacific Islands: Sizzling in Samoa". The New Zealand Herald. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2017 via LexisNexis.
  7. "Independence Day Scaled Down Due to King's Death". The New Zealand Herald. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2017 via LexisNexis.
  8. "Zita Martel". Pacific Community. 2017-09-26. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  9. Walters, Patrick (30 May 1987). "Forum, What Forum? This Is Race Week...". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2017 via LexisNexis.
  10. Chapman, Don (1988-04-21). "In the Thick of Thurs". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. 2. Retrieved 2017-11-08 via Newspapers.com.
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