Two years ago, three men sat at the Tanglin Club to discuss rowing around the island. The two gentlemen who broached the idea was told that there would be numerous permits required from several government agencies. The paperwork would be complicated, tedious and rather difficult. As for the physical aspect, it would be very challenging as the Causeway at Woodlands obstructed the sea passage. One thus had to find a spot to lift the boat out of the water and relaunch back on the other side. This too meant more agencies, negotiations and permissions.
However, if this feat was to be attempted during Singapore’s golden jubilee and for a certain charity, perhaps a solution could be found. The two gentlemen initially did not realise so much was involved and preferred to do it within a year. They left but later called the gentle ex-seaman and agreed to the conditions.
Mission RASI was launched on 11 September 2014 and had the endorsements of Dr Tony Tan, the President of the Republic of Singapore and Her Royal Highness Princess Ann, President of the Mission to Seafarers.
Mission RASI 2015 is a 140 km challenge that aims to raise funds for the global maritime welfare organisation ‘The Mission to Seafarers. Two of the participants are ex-seafarers and presently serve as Chairman and Honorary Treasurer of the Mission to Seafarers, Singapore. The traditional Cornish Pilot Gigs, a design of which dates back to 1838 were shipped in from the UK. From an original selection squad of 60 men and women, the team was narrowed down to 32 rowers. Each rower had to fork out $888 and go through a rigorous training and testing before the final selection was made. You can imagine that it was heart-breaking for those who did not make the final cut. However, some were given other roles but it certainly is not as challenging and exciting as rowing around the island.