Uto ni Yalo finds home away from home in the West of Fiji

The Uto ni Yalo Trust (UNYT) has found its flagship vessel a ‘home’ in the West, made possible via a 10-year partnership signed with the Tradewinds Marine Group.

Valued at FJD300,000 the partnership will enable the UNYT to conduct outreach programs, in western Viti Levu communities, that amplify the two organisation’s shared passion for the revival of traditional voyaging and environmental activism.

It also provides for berthing and annual haulouts for maintenance of the S.V. Uto ni Yalo.

“Knowing that she will be back on the water and teaching real-life sailing and traditional navigation skills to all generations of Fijians is an achievement that we wish to see continue for many years to come,” Vuda Marina General Manager Adam Wade said during the signing yesterday.

“Fiji has an incredible history of sailing and our forefathers were renowned for their sailing skills–we are happy to support this transfer of knowledge.”

The Tradewinds Marine Group is a private family company and has deep ties to the voyaging and sailing communities throughout Fiji. The Group also operates two international marinas (Vuda Marina and the Copra Shed Marina), in addition to The Fibreglass Shop, a fibreglass factory that builds the Islander Boats, outrigger canoes, pontoons, sailing dinghies and customised builds.

UNYT Trustee Reverend James Bhagwan said that the Trust was grateful for this partnership, and for the assistance of Tradewinds Marine in the completion of the much-needed maintenance work on the Uto ni Yalo.

“Please know that the value you offer us as a community of voyagers far exceeds the dollar value of this partnership as it ensures a greater reach and impact of the work that the Trust does throughout the country,” he said.

Following the signing of the partnership agreement and completion of the Uto ni Yalo overhaul, the UNYT presented a sevusevu and iTatau to the Tui Vuda to thank him and the Vanua for allowing them to work in the area, and to seek his blessings in the naming of the Vuda Marina as the home of the Uto ni Yalo in the West.

In giving his blessings, the Tui Vuda expressed excitement at the prospect of the UNYT undertaking programs in partnership with Tradewinds Marine that will revive traditional sailing culture for the people of the West and Vuda.

Photo: Uto Ni Yalo Trust

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