Hot competition, cool cruising

There’s something for everyone at this year’s USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (ABMT) and MarlinFest set for August 13-19 in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. For sports fishermen, the tournament boasts a new division for teams wanting to fish by International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules rather than following the traditional special rules that call for anglers to rotate rods hourly. This later regulation, designed to truly measure the skill and luck of an individual fisherman, makes the 44-year-old ABMT a real man-against-beast competition, earning the title “Super Bowl of Sports Fishing.” “Contestants in the two divisions—team and angler—will face off against each other and compete for the same calcutta, Daily Awards and popular ‘Last Day Shootout’,” says director Jimmy Loveland. “However, only those fishing in the angler division are eligible to have their names engraved on the prestigious Ed Pang-designed ‘Straight Up’ trophy. It’s a really cutting-edge format and we’re proud be the first to launch it.” For spectators, MarlinFest gives fishing aficionados and their friends and family a spectacular menu of activities to enjoy while the fleet competes. There’s a welcome Sunset Party, day trips to the neighboring B.V.I., and a much-anticipated Arts, Crafts and Chowder Challenge, where visitors sample chowders and chefs compete for a top cash prize.

The Carib Great Race 2016
If you love offshore powerboat racing, head to the dual-island Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago to watch the Carib Great Race on August 20th. More than 30 racers in eight classes with speeds between 60 and 130 mph take their marks in front of the Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club (TTYC) in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and travel 115 miles to see the flag fall in Scarborough, Tobago. Plenty of spectator-friendly viewing spots are along the way. In Trinidad, there’s the TTYC and Western Main Road in the Carenage area, and The Bocas is a great spot to watch from the sea. In Tobago, convenient vantage points are from Lowlands, Signal Hill or Bacolet Bay (1960 filming location of Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson). The following festivities in Tobago are akin to a national holiday celebration. Although international competitors are welcome, most teams hail from Trinidad and Tobago. Powerboat-racing popularity surged in the island country from 2008-2012 due to the U.S. economic recession, which posed a unique opportunity for island racers to travel north for secondhand race boats at low prices. Boats set to compete this year include the 48-foot Skater Total Monster, the 50-foot Mystic Paramount and the 50-foot Victory Mr. Solo. “The young crews are getting involved by revamping the boats, which bodes well for powerboating in Trinidad and Tobago. We really hope we’ll see international entrants soon,” says Peter Peake, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Power Boat Association, whose Total Monster is a three-time winner.

New monohull models from The Moorings
Looking for something different in cruising? Check out the Clearwater, Florida-based The Moorings all-new monohull models intended for introduction to the B.V.I., St. Martin, St. Lucia, and Grenada this winter. New models include an ultra-spacious Beneteau-built Moorings 48.4 at all four Caribbean bases and the sophisticatedly styled Moorings 42.1 in St. Lucia and Grenada.

By Carol Bareuther, Southern Boating Magazine August 2016