‘RASI’ Charity Rowers ‘Smashed It’ Round Singapore
Charity endurance event ‘Row Around Singapore Island (RASI)’ beats electrical storm and finishes with time triumph, high emotion and VIP celebrations at the finish line.
‘Mission RASI’, took place last week as part of Singapore’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, was successfully completed in 23 hours and 15 minutes – within the tough target time of 24 hours.
The rowers survived a violent storm at sea overnight, and half way through the daring challenge, which threatened to halt the race altogether.
The tall ship Royal Albatross carried families of the rowers, supporters and the press and media.
Starting and ending at Resorts World Sentosa they raised S$600,000 for global charity The Mission to Seafarers who provide help and support to the 1.5 million men and women who crew the world’s merchant fleet. Fundraisin g continues at several post-RASI celebration events until 9 May.
Speaking at the finish line, Iain Anderson of RPC, project leader, said: “I feel pretty shattered but immensely proud of how the team has performed and what we have accomplished. The actual rowing was just one part of the challenge. Our flotilla, the land crew and the guys who didn't make it to the final squad of 32 rowers all had a vital part in the success of the project.”
In the middle of the night, the rowers faced a seasonal tropical electrical storm with which put them well behind their expected pace. Lewis Hart of Willis said “frightened that we might have failed in a torrential storm, we were literally in a dark place emotionally and physically but we upped our game and drove the aptly named Singapore Spirit vessels to the finish line within time.”
Alison Carpenter, one of only three women picked for the final squad, said: “It was very emotional at the finish, all the cheers from the Royal Albatross and quayside I had to hold back the tears. We did it, we rowed around Singapore Island!”
Over 65 prestigious companies from around the world have supported the event and money has poured in – with the good news being that the fundraising doesn’t close until 9 May. RASI are asking the maritime world to show their support for this wonderful achievement by making a donation online to www.justgiving/teams/rasi. Every penny will go to help seamen and women who face storms, shipwreck and danger every day of their working lives to provide us all with 90% of all goods we use each day at home and are the foundations of maritime trade.
Chairman of The Mission to Seafarers Captain Lee Wai Pong said: “Loneliness and separation from family and loved ones have no respect for rank, wealth or health MtS, bring relief, comfort, and assistance to those in need an various ways.”
The legacy of the project extends further Singapore than the row and raising money for seafarers in need. The RASI team will be working with organisations such as Community Outreach Recreation & Development (CORD) with the aim of giving young Singaporeans opportunity to develop rowing skills, promoting teamwork and fitness through active inspiration. Mission RASI will look to assist less fortunate children and young adults from broken homes, low income families, troubled academic and lawless backgrounds in Singapore to turn their lives around.
Leading corporate supporter Norton Rose Fulbright’s Ian Teare said: “whilst I am unlikely to row it again, we want to help develop a group of young Singaporean rowers for a similar challenge ……RASI 2 perhaps?”
The final thanks was given at a jubilant gathering of rowers for their RASI ‘Smashed it’ Celebration Event held on 24 April at The British Club in Singapore. Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers said: “We will focus on strengthening our operations in Singapore, especially at Jurong Port, so that we can more than double the number of seafarers we currently interact with in the port. Plans are already going forward. We will also use the funds to invest in our wider development work, especially the strengthening of our ship-visiting volunteer programme in Singapore. This money will make a massive difference to our ability to make a big contribution to the lives of seafarers.”