Hemingway 2016

In June of 2016, an armada of 83 American sportfishing yachts and center console boats arrived at Marina Hemingway Cuba. Taking advantage of the new detente’ between the U.S. and our island neighbor, the Americans came, they saw, and they conquered, capturing the first three places in the 66th Hemingway International Billfish Championship. Joining angling teams from as far away as South Africa, the 96 boat fleet released 88 billfish, both tournament records.

Calm seas and light winds, interrupted by the occasional afternoon thunder squall created superb conditions throughout the three and a half fishing days while tours of historic Havana gave competitors a lay day to remember.  

Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador De Laurentis joined the Stuart Florida Sailfish Club for an evening cocktail reception and dinner at Club Havana along with Hemingway grandsons John and Patrick Hemingway.

Addressing a standing room only crowd in the spectacular ballroom of the historic club, the ambassador highlighted events of the past year including visits by President Obama and a performance by The Rolling Stones as positive signs of openings with our closest Caribbean neighbor, then reminded the Americans that they too are ambassadors representing what’s best of America.

Ernest Hemingway founded the tournament while serving as vice president of the newly formed International Gamefish Association at a time when sportfishing for marlin was still in its infant stages. The famous author lived in Cuba and fished the waters off the Morro Castle and the seaside esplanade Malecon, within sight of the skyline of Havana. Today this area is designated as the Hemingway site and remains one of the most productive marlin locations in Cuba.

The Stuart Sailfish Club’s president, Tom Dyer organized a fleet of 53 member boats from the Florida based fishing organization whose member boats captured the top three spots. Unbelievable, owned by Charles Conigliaro released the first Blue marlin at 10:45 on the first day of the competition and never looked back, releasing a total of four fish. Unbelievable’s 2000 point total was just 200 points ahead of second place finisher Bull Run and third place boat Cajun Queen.

Blue Heron’s 31 pound dolphin, Doris’s 18 pound Tuna and Sea Clusion’s 39 pound wahoo received top gamefish awards. The Hemingway trophies are all hand carved swordfish bills created by local Cuban artist

Commodore Jose Escrich, founder of Club Natico delivered a rousing speech highlighting the bond between American and Cuban mariners. Commodore Escrich has through the years kept the Hemingway tournament alive, battling politics on both sides of the Florida straits.

Once again the awards dinner was capped off by a performance of the world renowned “Buena Vista Social Club” band who kept the crowd dancing well into the morning.

Captain Brittany Moore who pilots a Horizon 76 foot motor yacht, Aqua Life remarked of her first ever trip to Cuba, “Visiting Cuba has been an experience I’ll never forget filled with people who’ve touched my heart and changed me forever”.

David Sillick of the Reel Xcape added, “The trip was a memory of a lifetime”.

In June of 2016, an armada of 83 American sportfishing yachts and center console boats arrived at Marina Hemingway Cuba. Taking advantage of the new detente’ between the U.S. and our island neighbor, the Americans came, they saw, and they conquered, capturing the first three places in the 66th Hemingway International Billfish Championship. Joining angling teams from as far away as South Africa, the 96 boat fleet released 88 billfish, both tournament records.

Calm seas and light winds, interrupted by the occasional afternoon thunder squall created superb conditions throughout the three and a half fishing days while tours of historic Havana gave competitors a lay day to remember.  

Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador De Laurentis joined the Stuart Florida Sailfish Club for an evening cocktail reception and dinner at Club Havana along with Hemingway grandsons John and Patrick Hemingway.

Addressing a standing room only crowd in the spectacular ballroom of the historic club, the ambassador highlighted events of the past year including visits by President Obama and a performance by The Rolling Stones as positive signs of openings with our closest Caribbean neighbor, then reminded the Americans that they too are ambassadors representing what’s best of America.

Ernest Hemingway founded the tournament while serving as vice president of the newly formed International Gamefish Association at a time when sportfishing for marlin was still in its infant stages. The famous author lived in Cuba and fished the waters off the Morro Castle and the seaside esplanade Malecon, within sight of the skyline of Havana. Today this area is designated as the Hemingway site and remains one of the most productive marlin locations in Cuba.

The Stuart Sailfish Club’s president, Tom Dyer organized a fleet of 53 member boats from the Florida based fishing organization whose member boats captured the top three spots. Unbelievable, owned by Charles Conigliaro released the first Blue marlin at 10:45 on the first day of the competition and never looked back, releasing a total of four fish. Unbelievable’s 2000 point total was just 200 points ahead of second place finisher Bull Run and third place boat Cajun Queen.

Blue Heron’s 31 pound dolphin, Doris’s 18 pound Tuna and Sea Clusion’s 39 pound wahoo received top gamefish awards. The Hemingway trophies are all hand carved swordfish bills created by local Cuban artist

Commodore Jose Escrich, founder of Club Natico delivered a rousing speech highlighting the bond between American and Cuban mariners. Commodore Escrich has through the years kept the Hemingway tournament alive, battling politics on both sides of the Florida straits.

Once again the awards dinner was capped off by a performance of the world renowned “Buena Vista Social Club” band who kept the crowd dancing well into the morning.

Captain Brittany Moore who pilots a Horizon 76 foot motor yacht, Aqua Life remarked of her first ever trip to Cuba, “Visiting Cuba has been an experience I’ll never forget filled with people who’ve touched my heart and changed me forever”.

David Sillick of the Reel Xcape added, “The trip was a memory of a lifetime”.

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