People living along the Second Lagoon are used to hearing the calls of the Vanuatu Rowing coaches shouting out instructions about techniques and ratings to the teams of rowers training at dawn and dusk for competitions. However, on Saturday night, the sounds were distinctly more sibilant as the Club used “The Barge” to host a fund raising event for Luigi Teilemb and Rio Rii who are both selected to compete in the Australian National Rowing Championships and Georges Langa who is competing in the Australian Para Rowing Championships at the Australian Olympic Rowing facility at Penrith, just outside of Sydney, from 29th March to 1st April.
“Prince” Philip and his band entertained the 50 people with smooth music while Greg Pechan’s Pacific Catering team provided food hot and fresh off the grill and wok. Marie and Morgan Bragg generously donated the use of The Barge. Vila Distribution gave three magnums of champagne to use as a Lucky Door and raffle prizes. Departing at 3.30pm and returning well after 8pm, the cruisers enjoyed a different perspective of the homes, villages and resorts along the lagoon, a fabulous sunset, fine food and lots of laughter.
“We’re not just a rowing club,” explained Allan Kalfabun, Club Captain. “We have some members who don’t row at all. Some only use the gym, which at Vt10000 a year for membership, is really inexpensive. Other members are Social Members, and come along to functions like this one tonight, our Quiz Night or BBQs and dinner dances after a Regatta.”
Prince Philip has himself recently joined the Club and dropped from 96 to 72 kilos! “I am enjoying the Rowing Club so much,” explained Philip. “The camaraderie down at the Club is just fantastic. Everyone made me so welcome and have been really helpful with coaching. And you only have to see me to realise the health benefits! So singing was just a way to say “Thank You” to the guys – especially Luigi and Rio as the main coaches.”
This fund raising Lagoon Cruise was focussed on raising money to buy new tracksuits (partly sponsored by Vanua Spirit), boat fees at the Regatta, visas and travel insurance.