Dennis Hill Named the 2016 Recipient of the Perpetual Gulf Legends Award

Orange Beach, Alabama: Child actor Spanky McFarland brought laughter, energy, compassion and devoted friendship to the beloved Our Gang comedy films in the 1930s. Now, 80 years later, another Spanky is being honored for the same wonderful traits, with marinas and tournament weigh scales replacing Hollywood sets.

In a special ceremony at the captain's meeting for this year's Blue Marlin Grand Championship, Dennis "Spanky" Hill was named the recipient of the 2016 perpetual Gulf Legends Award Wednesday evening. The award was created to recognize those who have made a significant long-term impact on sport fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, whether they are boat owners, sponsors, captains, crew, tournament volunteers or others. Hill has worked in the marine and sport-fishing industry his entire life. He currently serves as the tournament liaison and public relations repre-sentative for Galati Yacht Sales, based in Destin, Florida. 

"I can't think of a better recipient for this year's award than Spanky," said BMGC Tournament Director Scott Burt. "He's always there whenever anyone needs help, whether that's tracking down a critical part, rigging baits, hanging banners or muscling fish to the scales. He always has a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. But he never seeks out the spotlight; he's as humble and hard-working as they come. Spanky is the epitome of all that is good and wonderful about this great sport."

Spanky was born in Somerville, New Jersey and moved to Bradenton, Florida with his family as a teenager. His initiation in the marine industry began while working for his father at the family owned Trailer Estates Marina in Bradenton. From painting boat bottoms to selling parts, gas, bait, setting up events or delivering boats, Spanky did whatever was needed. That broad experience and "can-do" attitude was the springboard for his next career phase.

Joe Galati, who was the managing partner at the Galati Perico Harbor Marina, hired Spanky to work in the rigging department in the early 1990s. As Galati Yacht Sales grew, he continued to demonstrate his versatility and commitment, moving from Anna Maria to St. Petersburg before finally settling at the Destin office in 2003 in his current position.  
Spanky loves to fish and has competed in the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic with A Work of Art and Controlled Chaos in previous events. While fishing with Capt. Chris Galati aboard the Team Galati Viking during the Pensacola International Billfish Tournament in 2006, he landed his first blue marlin, a 383-pounder. To celebrate one of the happiest days of his life, Spanky had an image of the marlin tattooed on his leg. 

When he's not fishing or working tournaments and boat shows, Spanky enjoys riding his Harley Davidson with his wife of 36 years, Beth, cooking BBQ for family and friends or walking his faithful dog, Cody.

The Gulf Legends commemorative piece, an original custom painting from marine artist Larry Rackley, represents an uplifting of the sport by the individuals who have worked so hard over the years to make it successful. The award is presented annually during the Blue Marlin Grand Championship and will be on permanent display at The Wharf Marina Outfitters Store, located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Orignally published by the Blue Marlin Grand Championship
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Reports From the Rip: And We Fish As Well


Absolutely STUNNING shot of Bitter End, Virgin Gorda, BVIs

Blue Heaven Docked at Bitter End. 

Fishing is only part of the fun and games on the Blue Heaven. Some boats travel to locations like the Bahamas, Dominican Republic or the Virgin Islands and never do anything but fish. Theres nothing wrong with that but those boats really are missing out on a better part of the experiences to be had while traveling. Over the past week, we caught Blue Marlin, Snorkeled, Swam in clear water, explored rock formations, hung out on the Willy T, and even got chased by a little weather. 
Last week a few days before the boss arrived, I asked if Dan and I could do a pre fishing day. He said yes so, Dan and I took the boat to the South Drop. We did not have much luck all morning and Dan was really giving me hell about the fact that there are suppose to be big fish here in St Thomas. At about 12:30 Dan had to eat his words. We were pulling a five lure spread plus two teasers. Suddenly, the right long came out of the clip and started dumping line. My first instinct was to come off the bridge and help Dan clear the rest of the lines so we could back down on the hooked fish. But the Line was peeling off the reel so fast that I had to start backing down right away so that we did not get spooled. Dan scurried around the cockpit clearing lines and teasers. All the while the line was emptying off the spool despite me backing down. Once Dan cleared the spread, He harnessed up and locked into an hour long battle. We knew it was a nice fish but had still not had a good look at her. When she finally came to the surface she was a big one. We guess she was ( with no exaggeration)  around 550-600 lbs.  Dan reeled till he could reach the leader, Stuck the rod in the rod holder and wired his own fish. For those of you that have marlin fished you know that this was an exciting feat. For those of you that have not done this type of fishing. I only hope that you get to experience the thrill just once in your life. 
Once the boss and his guests arrive, We took the boat over to Sopers Hole at Bitter End BVIs. We cleared customs to enter the BVIs and tied up at Sopers Hole Marina. The next morning we headed to the North Drop. The North drop is where the reef line drops from 200 feet of water to a few thousand feet and stretches along the North of the US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands. We had an OK day catching a Blue Marlin and a White Marlin at one point there were three boats all around us hooked up at the same time but we could not buy another bite. After fishing, we ran into Virgin Gorda to Levricks Bay Marina. Levricks is a pretty little marina nestled into the west side of the bay on the east end of Virgin Gorda. On Friday nights, they do a bad ass Caribbean BBQ / Party. The food is served buffet style. I am not a big fan of buffets but this one is outstanding. There was pulled pork, chicken, ribs, fish, Caribbean mac and cheese.... All the sides you can imagine for a bbq. But, best of all is their cole slaw. I could eat just the cole slaw for a meal. Oh and there are easy deserts as well. All of the seating is placed along the beach overlooking the marina. There are strings of lights hung between the palm trees that really set the mood. All of this starts at about 7 pm. By 8pm there is a live band that plays the obligatory caribbean songs you all know by heart. By 8;30 the band begins getting the crowd involved. At about 9 pm The Jumbie dancers come out. The Jumbie dancers are Carnival attired dancers on 6-8- foot tall stilts. Lets keep in mind that the dance floor is sand. They dance with the crowd and get the people really going. At 9:30 Its time for me to go to bed but the party I am told goes on for hours. I highly recommend this event to anyone visiting the BVIs. (make a reservation though)
The Next day we fished off of Anagoda Island in the BVIs. We had two blues that bite but just did not stay hooked and a third blue marlin that came into the spread that would not eat. That night we went into Bitter End Marina. It is a favorite the boss and I. The dark green mountains that surround the marina roll straight down to azure blue clear waters. The first pic at the top of the page is at Bitter End. On sunday we put away the fishing gear and just played. Our first stop was at the Baths. The Baths at Virgin Gorda is a place where there are giant borders at the waters edge that are all piled up against each other. The tidal pools in, under, and around these rocks are what give the place the name " The Baths." After the Baths we took the boat to the Indians. The indians are a set of rocks that I guess have some sort of resemblance to indians. The reef around the Indians is beautiful to snorkel. That afternoon we took the boat to Norman's Island and grabbed a mooring ball right next to the Willy T. ( A floating rusty relic that is a floating bar.) The guys had a great time. Although, It was a bit subdued from its normal debauchery likely because it was fathers day. 
I turned on my phone to check the weather later in the afternoon at the Willy T and saw that there was some bad weather pushing in our way, so we left the Willy T and spent the night at Peter Island. 
All and all it was a great time had by all. Its just a shame so many other boat crews never get to go do some of the fun things that we do.    
Written by: Captain Ed Thompson aboard the Blue Heaven

Saba Rock BVIs


Bitter End Marina Tortola


Sir Lance alot

white marlin that ate a Braziliano??????????

Let me go!!!!

Blue one in the spread 

Blue Heaven at Bitter end marin

Blue one

All lit up

Blue marlin
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Reports From the Rip: Never Trust Whitey



I got up this morning just before sunrise and jumped on my bike.  The sun had just peaked the eastern sky here in Cap Cana and the sky to the east was on fire as the sun peaked  though the clouds towards Puerto Rico. The morning air here was not as humid as it has been so, I road the length of the beach and back around the marina. The boat crews  that are fishing today were begining to stir as I rode back around the sea wall in Cap Cana Marina. But for the most part the docks were quiet as most boats here fished all weekend. 

We moved the boat around to Cap Cana two weeks ago from the Marina at Casa De Campo where we had been fishing for the past few months.  Cap Cana is situated on the eastern most tip of the Dominican Republic and is in the area known as Punta Cana. The past few months we fished the FADs off of Casa De Campo on the south eastern side of the DR. There was mostly Blue Marlin. As that season fades, the season around the corner at Cap Cana begins. The Cap Cana fishery consists mostly of White Marlin, though there are a few Blue Marlin caught here as well. In fact, there have been a few slams caught in the past week. ( a slam is three different species of billfish...  example ...White marlin, Blue Marlin, and sailfish ). Capt Rich on the Shark Byte completed a double slam a few days ago. With as many as 7 to 12 whites a day and more, this can be a fun place to fish.


The marina here is nice and modern. While it does not have many of the conveniences that Casa De Campo offers, The short distances you have to run off shore makes up for it somewhat. 

Years back there was a funny movie called the Jerk. It stared Steve Martinewho played a "poor black child" from Mississippi  When he moved away from home his father gave him some advice for the world. " The lord loves a workin man... Never trust whitey... and see a doctor and get rid of it" We use the middle part  of that quote daily when fishing for white marlin. The white marlin that gather here are fast to strike and quick to leave. Just when you think you have figured out how to hook them, you will miss the next few fish for no apparent reason. NEVER TRUST WHITEY.  They will really drive you nuts. But once you have hooked one, you get to see what all the fuss is about. Whiteys tend to be one of the most acrobatic billfish you can seek. They perform multiple jumps and speedy runs that will put a smile on the face of any seasoned angler.


We have fished a few days here in Cap Cana and caught whites every day. Our best day was 5 out of 8. We will fish this coming weekend again before we head further east. Next monday, we will head to Puerto Rico for a couple of days to do some provisioning then we will make for St Thomas. 


another release
Whats he looking at?
Pulled this little guy out for a quick shot
Beautiful Pool right on the beach
Dan letting another one go
Dorsal fin all lit up

Written by: Capt. Ed Thompson

Originally Published on

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Reports From the Rip


Burke caught his first Blue Marlin and got thrown in 


The past few weeks have seen very pretty slow fishing here in Casa De Campo. The last week was brutally rough, with 25 to 30 kt winds nearly every day. The main body of fish has yet to show up here. But they do every year, so we are all waiting.

We have fished a little and had limited luck so far. We have hooked and lost a few and caught some fish. One of the Fish we caught was a Blue Marlin that could not have weighed more than 30 lbs. As Capt Tim Richardson of the Ambush said " It was kinda like a blue marlin... only smaller". We actually had one even smaller chase up a bait as we cleared the spread but it did not eat.

Well as it Does every season about this time, We have run out of American milk. We met some crew off of a yacht here and talked the Stewardess into smuggling a little milk off of their boat. Dan And I each savored it as if it was a fine wine.

Casa De Campo had their 2016 Season kick off party/ banquet last weekend. They really did a great job. Somehow they found a rock group that played southern rock. The food spread was so over the top good. Its a good thing I did not see the deserts before my main meal or I would have saved more space. Keep up the good work Vilma. Looking forward to the Gringos vs the dock attendants this sunday night.


Like a blue marlin only smaller


Blue Heaven as viewed from La Casita Restaurant 


By: Captain Ed Thompson aboard the Blue Heaven

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Record Breaking Releases for the Los Sueños Triple Crown Leg Two


Date: March 01, 2016

Contact: Ashley Bretecher Tournament Director


2,754 billfish released during the Second Leg of the 2016 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown by 43 teams 12 years of tournament records shattered!

It was an epic three days at Los Sueños Resort Marina, located at Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast. During the second leg of the third annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish series, presented by Chantilly Air, February 24-27, 2016. All previous Los Sueños tournament records, going back 12 years and 34 individual events, were broken.

Imagine releasing 75 billfish in just three days and not even making it into the top 10 boats! Over the course of the competition, 108 anglers on the worlds most competitive saltwater sport fishing teams released a total of 2,754 billfish. To put this number in perspective, the fish to boat ratio is 64 fish per boat in three days, or close to 2 fish each and every minute of the tournament. Incredible numbers and incredible teams in an incredible place beyond compare!


All hoped for a busy day but by lines in at 8:00 am but no one was prepared for what the day would bring. The first double release was called in only four minutes after lines in by Blue Eagle. Exactly at 10:00 am Numero Uno released fish number 290. The bite continued. Radios were burning hot. At 12:00 o’clock tournament control logged fish number 512, released by Dragin Fly. At 2:01 pm Penny Perfect called in the first quadruple of the day, fish numbers 729 to 732. It was then that it became clear that the previous tournament record for the most billfish released in single day, previously set on the third day of the 2015 Triple Crown with 879 billfish, was only minutes away from being broken. Several teams - Pelese, Fish Tank, Pescadora and Jaruco - were fighting it out. The honor of receiving fish number 1000 went to No Agenda. By the end of Day 1 a total of 1,103 sailfish were caught and released, surpassing the previous record by 316 fish or 21%. To quote one of the observers It was insane out there! Wherever you looked fish were popping like rice”. Fitting for Costa Rica someone must have spilled the beans.

The most fish caught that historic day were released by Fish Tank and Pelese with 37 sailfish (3700 points) each, with Fish Tank releasing their last fish only 11 minutes before Pelese to win the day. Agitator, Sea Fix and Southern Pride also put on stellar performances, putting them into the top three spots for Leg II after the first day.



It was First Light who called in the first fish of Day 2 at 8:05 am. By 8:08 am five more fish were reported to tournament control, including a double by Sea Fix. It would be another busy day. By 10:48 am Pescadora briefly held the first place position for Leg II, followed by Agitator and Fish Tank. Release after release, often five or more in less than a minute, were called in. By 1:14 pm Pelese had moved into first place, followed by Dragin Fly and Agitator. By 3:08 pm Fish Tank had moved up to second place. At 3:48 pm fish number 2,000 was called in by Sea Fix. Tournament Control jokingly had to remind the teams that the tournament was still only on the second day of competition. The day ended with 932 billfish releases for a two-day total of 2,035 (all sails). The standings going into the last day of competition left Agitator in first place with 6600 points, Pelese in second with 6400 points and Spanish Fly in third with 6300 points.


It was anyones game going in to the third and final day. Agitator started the day at the top of the leaderboard with 6,600 points, with at least 10 teams in hot pursuit. The Tournament Committee posed the question - at what time would the all-time record for the most fish caught in a single tournament, being 2,170, be beat? It did not take long. By 9:34 am Dream Time released fish number 2,171 and opened a new chapter in Los Sueños tournament history book. By 10:07 am Agitator was still holding on to first place, Pelese was in second and Sea Angel in third Place. At 2:00 pm Pelese had moved into first place, bumping Agitator to second. Spanish Fly rounded out the top three, with Sea Angel just behind. Positions were changing by the minute. At 2:08 pm Reel Joy called in the only marlin release of the tournament. It was like a ping pong match - too fast to follow. When lines in was called at 4:00 pm, it was the closest leaderboard in Los Sueños history. Once all the scorecards were reviewed, the final standings were verified and announced at the awards ceremony. The 43 participating teams had released a three- day combined total of 2,754 billfish (2,752 sails and 1 marlin)!

It was an incredible three days of competition that provided a new benchmark in billfish tournament competition.


Agitator finished at the top of the leaderboard with 8,700 points (87 sails), followed by Pelese in second place with 8,600 points (86 sails), on time over Spanish Fly with 8,600 points (86 sails), over Sea Angel who had also achieved 8,600 points. It was so close that Spanish Fly and Sea Angel not only tied on points, but also on their last time, forcing the Tournament Committee to go back to their second last time with just 8 minutes between them.

Agitator, a 51’ Scarborough, is participating in a Los Sueños tournament for the first time at the 2016 Triple Crown. Having won second place during Leg One in January the team has started a solid winning streak. This time, Captain Jon Duffie took his anglers, Jonathan Duffie, Judith Duffie, Danny Gough and Charles Gerlach straight to the top of the podium. Agitator is now in an excellent position for the Triple Crown Showdown, where the Series Champion will be crowned on April 2nd.

Pelese has consistently been among the top performing teams to fish at Los Sueños. This tournament marked the first podium finish for this team of dedicated anglers, landing in second place, only 100 points behind the winning team. With Captain John Lagrone at the helm of this 60’ Spencer, Los Sueños owner Marc Stanley and his fellow anglers gave a handsome performance.

Spanish Fly, a 42’ Maverick built in Costa Rica, has fished the waters off the coast of Los Sueños for more than a decade. Captain Daniel “Danny” Espinoza is a local legend. He has led anglers Larry Drivon, Richard Lebo, J Godwin and Juan Carlos Fallas to success several times, including a first place finish during the first leg of the 2014 Signature Triple Crown.

On behalf of the tournament committee, a heartfelt congratulations to all of the participants!


The evening could not have been any more perfect for the awards ceremony on Saturday night, held under the stars on the white sand at the Los Sueños Beach Club. Guests enjoyed a phenomenal buffet dinner and live musical performance by Mustang 65. Immediately preceding the presentation of trophies, prizes and checks to the tournament winners, guests enjoyed the highly anticipated dock show filmed and produced by Rich Christenson, and edited by Paige Sparks. The ceremony was closed out by a spectacular fireworks display by Faisa and a jam- packed after party with DJ Charlie Stevens at the Terrace Lounge in the Los Sueños Marina Village. Tournament winners took to the stage to receive a total of $145,000 in cash, as well as other prizes provided by tournament sponsors.

Trophies by Gray Taxidermy

Other prizes and awards by: Tunaskin- apparel; Steve Goione- framed prints of the 2016 Triple Crown tournament art; Vanmark, Inc.- gold pendants; Costasunglasses for the winning anglers; and Flor de Caña- aged rum for winning teams and top angler.

1st $72,500 Agitator: 8,700 points, 87 sails 2nd $43,500 Pelese: 8,600 points, 86 sails

3rd $29,000 Spanish Fly: 8,600 points, 86 sails



Congratulations to Carlos Gonzalez of Gunsmoke on releasing 40 sails for an individual total of 4,000 points.


The entire tournament organizing committee would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who came together to support this event. Our gratitude goes out to all the anglers, captains, mates, observers, technical advisors, cameramen and videographers, Los Sueños staff and of course, our sponsors (in alphabetical order): Bristol Marine Supply, Canvas Designers, Caterpillar/Gregory Poole, Chantilly Air, Clinica Biblica, Costa Sunglasses, Costa Rica Dreams Sport Fishing, Costa Rica Luxury Rentals & Tours, CR Primo Fishing Tackle, Cummins, Flor de Caña, Galati International Yacht Sales, Gato Gordo golf cart rentals and sales, Gray Taxidermy, Los Sueños Resort and Marina, Moto Desmo Costa Rica (Ducati and Vespa), MTU/Tractomotriz, Poms & Associates, SeaDream Finance and Insurance, Sevenstar Yacht Transport, Steve Goione Marine Artist, Tunaskin Aquatic Apparel, Vanmark Inc., Viking Yachts, Weather Routing Inc. For more about our sponsors, please visit and click on Sponsors.


The top team from each leg of the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown will be eligible to compete in the 2016 Offshore World Championship. For further information, please visit


2016 marks the 3rd Annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish tournament series. The Triple Crown consists of three annual tournaments, in January, February and March each year, and is fished out of the world class Los Sueños Resort and Marina in Costa Rica. The dates for 2016 are Leg I: January 20-23, Leg II: February 24-27, and Leg III: March 30-April 2. Mark your calendars! The dates for 2017 are already scheduled - Leg I: January 18-21, Leg II: February 22-25, Leg III: March 22-25.


Los Sueños Resort and Marina is the premier luxury real estate resort in Costa Rica. Nestled on the Central Pacific Coast, Los Sueños is an 1,100-acre oasis offering incredible ocean, rainforest and golf course view properties; a gorgeous waterfront Marina Village commercial area with restaurants, shops and lively entertainment; a large private beach club for residents; an 18-hole championship golf course; a superb 201-room Marriott Hotel; and much more - all within close proximity to world record-setting sport fishing waters. Information on Los Sueños Resort and Marina is available online at

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For further information, please contact Ashley Bretecher, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Los Sueños Resort and Marina, Toll-free: 1-866-865-9759, Direct Tel: 011-506-2630-4005, Fax: 011-506-2630-4010, or e-mail:


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Snook Fishing in the River

Orginally published by Captian Ed Thompson aboard the "Blue Haven"
The marina here in Casa De Campo, DR is slowly filling up. With each weather break we see another new boat or two. The fishing has begun to pick up as well. A couple days ago, the Delta Dawn caught 3 blue marlin, the Miss B haven caught 4 blue marlin, and Contango caught 5 blue marlin.  It will get nothing but better as the time rolls on. 
With a little down time over the past week, Dan and I have done a little fishing and playing. The Chavon River empties out right next to our marina. It is quite scenic with sheer cliffs and palm lined shores.  One of our friends here has a flats boat that we borrowed to go explore the possibility of catching the Elusive Robalo (Snook). Just getting off the dock and viewing the rivers magnificent vistas is good enough but the opportunity to catch a nice Robalo ( or get broke off by one) is a special treat. As you drift the shore of the steep cliffs you will see giant trees seemingly growing right out of the rocks. Some of the trees are filled with Bromiliads. Where the cliffs give way to more subtle shores, the palm lines beaches are beautiful and tropical. 
Blue Heaven Looking good coming into Marina Casa De Campo
A nice snook " Robalo"
Dan flipping a lure to the rocks
Looks like a seen from the movie Apocalypse Now
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Galati Sponsored Blue Marlin Satellite Tag Pops Off

On July 10, 2015, the second day of the Bermuda Big Game Classic, a 150lb Blue Marlin was caught by Sharyn Craig aboard the 82’ Viking “Amarula Sun.” This healthy Blue Marlin was tagged with an IGFA satellite tag sponsored by Carmine Galati of Galati Yacht Sales.  This tag was entered into the IGFA Hamilton, Bermuda 2015 Race.



On November 18, 2015, 131 days after the satellite tag was deployed it popped up. The tag popped up near Cape Verde, a staggering 2,293nm away from its original tag location in Bermuda.  The Blue Marlin spent the rest of July swimming the waters near Bermuda before beginning its nearly two-month journey across the Atlantic. The Blue Marlin arrived near the waters of Cape Verde in the beginning of October. From then on the Blue Marlin stayed in the waters around Cape Verde until the tag popped off on November 18th.



Currently the Galati Yacht Sales tag is in first place for the IGFA Hamilton, Bermuda 2015 Race.



The information provided by these satellite tags is extremely helpful in learning the migration routes of billfish. From this data scientist are able to have a better understanding of the migratory behaviors of billfish and the underlying oceanic features that help shape the connectivity the billfish populations across the globe. Together this information is used to help in the international conservation measures for marlin around the world. 

For more information on the race and IGFA click here:

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A Big Thank You

It is the time of year when we all should find things we are grateful for, like the love of family and friends, I find myself overly grateful for the new friends ( oh well more like extended family now) that I have come to know due to Hurricane Joaquin. While the Storm that decimated parts of the Bahamas was horrible, it brought out the best in many people.

The last day the storm was still ravaging the islands, by chance, a man named Adrian Cartwright and I found ourselves on Facebook searching for any news out of the islands. We messaged back and forth and we kind of just bonded on that day. I had met him before on San Sal, but I really got to know the man over the next few days and weeks.

In the days after the storm, plans began to take shape and we began to realize that Adrian and I needed to concentrate on one island each, Adrian took Long Island and I took San Sal. The Bahamas should be proud to call him one of their own. He put so much time and effort into the relief efforts of the islands, especially Long Island. Like anyone that lent their time to help, he did not do it for recognition, he did it because it was the right thing to do. Adrian you are a true hero my brother.

Another person that I have to mention is Capt Richard (Bric) Peoples. Richard spends a lot of time in the Bahamas and put forth countless hours gathering rebuilding supplies. The monetary value on his efforts was staggering. The amount is irrelevant. The time that he selflessly put into the effort was mind boggling.  Towards the end we ended up combining our efforts and I am proud to have worked with a man with such integrity. (he paid me to say that last part)

Capt Richard Peoples


Dhardra Blake, Eric Dahler and myself at the Bucs game


Early on in the process, Adam Foster from Blue Haven Marina in the Turks and Caicos called me and put me in touch with a wonderful woman named Dhardra Blake. She works with Yacht aid Global. YAG Uses the resources of the yachting community to deliver disaster relief and aid. Now I had no idea what I was doing when I started to put together a relief effort for San Salvador nor did I have any idea what an undertaking it would be. But, after talking to Dhardra, she made it a lot easier. She is so knowledgable and had so many suggestions for our efforts. That is one driven woman! I was glad to have had her on our team.  Yacht Aid Global is an organization that I hope to work hand in had with in the future.

Seldom do you hear much good about any politicians. More than that how about one that answers the phone. I was fortunate enough to be put in touch with a man named Micheal Pintard. Mr. Pintard is a senator in the Bahamas. I called him many times and he was so supportive. He has helped to keep the relief supplies duty free as we push every boat heading south this season to Stop Off And Drop Off rebuilding supplies. From what I have seen in his efforts, Mr. Pintard is a very honorable man and truly cares about the people of the Bahamas. I thank Mr. Pintard for all of his continued support. The Bahamian government needs more politicians like him.

Senator Micheal Pintard

There is no possible way I could have continued the efforts I have made with out Capt. Barb Evans. She asked if she could help out in any way. Boy did she ever step up. I asked her if she could facilitate the Stop Off And Drop Off program. Little did I know that she would take it so far.  Her endless work that she has put in on line and on the phone has made the SODO program what it is. Dozens of boats have already dropped off supplies and countless more boats plan to drop off as they head south due to her efforts. Capt Barb is like the every ready Bunny. She just keeps going and going and....


As I mentioned at the beginning of this, I have made so many acquaintances  in trying to help out our friends in the Bahamas. They have become friends and kind of a small family. People like Bianca Major that has headed up relief efforts for Long Island and Tim Newman who has lent so much support. There are countless others that I need to thank and just because your names are not here, that does not mean you are not valued. Locksly Cartwright, Kim Griffin, Michelle Williams, Paterson.... I could go on for days. So many people have come together.

When I started the Go Fund Me page, It blew me away how much support was put forth. I can not list all of the donors names as there were hundreds. I thank you all!

I have already said this, but none of the people that I have named here gave their time because they were asked. They all did it because IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Thanks from myself and the people of the islands effected by Joaquin.

Originally published by Captain Ed Thompson 

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It's That Time of Year

'Tis the Season to finish up projects and start thinking about getting the boat ready to head south!
The last few months have been filled with fixing all the stuff we abused or broke during the last season. We rebuilt bot of our engines due to a glitch Cat Engine had with piston rings that failed prematurely. We had Ralph and Brandon from Middleton Marine do the work. Wow what a great job they did. I can not say enough good things about the work they did.

This cooler temps upon us, we tend to be drawn to the woods. The boss has a great camp in North Florida. I try to get up there as much as possible. Its just nice to be able to go sit in a tree and watch nature go by. Dan and I did do a bit of work helping out to get the place ready for hunting season. But it's great work hanging out in the woods and filling feeders and getting hunting boxes and tree stands dialed in for the season.  Dan and I sat quite a bit last week in some tree stands. It proved to be frustrating though. It seemed that the only deer that walked near the tree stands were doe with fawns. We do not orphan out on the property but it's still pretty cool to sit and watch. One afternoon I had 2 doe and 4 fawns feeding directly below my ladder stand. It was kinda neat watching the fawns bouncing around.

With two weeks to go before Christmas, We have just two big projects left. Dan and I are painting the engines and engine room and we still have to sand the Teak back deck before we head south. This time of year just seems to fly to me. I hope to get a fishing trip in before Christmas ( if we can find anything that NMFS does not have closed season on). Then that last week of December is taken up with family stuff and the New Year.

We are still pushing the Stop Off and Drop Off Program for boats heading south this coming season. As you all go to Home Depot or Lowes, think about grabbing a big box of construction screws or a bucket of roofing nails and throw it in the bilge and stopping at San Sal, Long Island, Rum Cay to frop off the supplies as you head south. There are still hundreds of homes that are destroyed or damaged from Hurricane Joaquin. They are really having a rough time, anything helps. If ten boats bring one sheet of plywood, that equals a roof on a house. Thanks again to all of those boats that have already helped. Please share this post so that we can get others to Stop Off and Drop Off. Capt Barb Evans has been doing a great job with keeping everyone up to date of relief efforts and helping to answer questions and organize the efforts. If you have any questions, feel free to call her at 239-572-0887.

Origianlly Published By Captian Ed Thompson 

Tearing it apart

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Boat Show and Stop Off And Drop Off

Origianlly Published By: Captain Ed


The end of October tends to bring an end to the sport fishing season for us. With the boat back in its home slip at Pasadena Yacht club, We have begun fixing everything we broke last season and generally doing a good fall cleaning for the boat.

The end of October also means the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show or FLIBS.  The boat show is the largest of its kind and an amazing thing to see. I spent two days at the show.  I enjoy going to the FLIBS to see new products that have come onto the market and lets face it, its cool just to see that many boats all in one place. There are thousands of boats crammed into a relativly small area. Walking through the show, it is incredible how many fellow boat crews you run into. I don't think I walked 50 yards without seeing a crew from a boat that I knew.

One of my goals at the show was to find any display or vender that would be interested in displaying one of the posters that Capt Barb Evans and I had printed for the Stop off and drop off campaign. The posters basically are a reminder to any and all boat crews that will be leaving the states over the next few months headed for the Caribbean that they should consider  stopping by Home depot or Lowes and pick up a few rebuilding supplies that they can drop off as the head south through the Bahamas. Stop Off and Drop Off is the meant to help the islanders of the central Bahamas rebuild in the coming months since the Hurricane. We are not asking for donations. We are just asking that each boat that heads through the central Bahamas grabs a few boxes of nails or a sheet or two of ply wood. If 10 boats carried one sheet of plywood to San Salvador or Rum or Long Island, That would put a roof on one house. Of course it would be nice to carry more if you can. From what I have heard, there have already been 15 boats that have Stopped off and dropped off. We all have to stop at one of those islands as we head south, and a few marinas such as Riding Rock are offering free dockage if you drop some stuff off.  Capt Barb and I walked the show handing out the posters and got a tremendous response. Thanks to all the vendors that are supporting the effort and a special thanks to Carey Chen for donating the art work for the poster and helping to push the effort.

My brother Tom Thompson is working with the newly reformed Bertram company. They had a booth at the FLIBS and had drawings of the first boat they are producing. They are getting a great response on the first new Bertram with will be a 35 foot Moppie styled boat. They have plans to go up in size from there. Seems like they are trying to return to their American roots.

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Central Bahamas Hurricane Relief


Over the years we have all reaped the bounties of the waters surrounding San Salvador, Rum cay, Crooked island and Long island. We've all had great times and adventures as we plied the waters of the central bahamas. After a days fishing around these islands we have all also come to find that the locals on these islands are some of the friendliest people around. They have invited us into their homes and businesses as though we are family.

I have been fortunate to be a small part of the relief efforts that have taken place in the weeks after hurricane Jaoquin ravaged the central bahamas for an unprecedented 72 hours. In doing so I found it incredible to see the outpouring of generosity towards these folks that lost so much during the storm.  One day after the storm I set up a go fund me account so that people could donate to the people on San Salvador. I originally set it up with a goal of $10,000. In just a week, it exceeded $30,000. These donations came from all over. Some as small as $5 and some topped $3000. Most of the donations came from boat owners and crews that have been to Riding Rock marina on San Salvador.. It was so enriching to read the comments that came in with the donations. Also on the day after the storm, my boss Steve Swindal and his two partners in their plane Randy Mcoy and Tommy Villella (also sportfishing owners) told me to have their pilot rip the seats out of their plane and fill it with relief supplies. One day later we landed on the freshly cleared Tarmac on San Salvador with cases of water, blue Tarps and essentials. We were not the only ones.  Seven planes landed that day. A few of them were also sport fish owners that wanted to send relief to our friends there.  In the following days there were numbers of sportfishing boats calling me, asking what they could do. Some like Richard People's  took it on himself to get containers donated and filled them with relief supplies. Other captains and owners just went to Home Depot and loaded their decks. They then dropped their lines and headed south. One example was Devin Silas on the "Shoe". They rolled into Long Island with a deck load of supplies. I wish I could take the time to recognize all the boats and planes from the sport fish community that were involve. I doubt any of them are concerned about the fact that they are not named here as they did not do it for recognition, but for the fact that it was just the right thing to do.  Like i said it has been a great thing to be a small part of the Bluewater brotherhood coming together.

In the months  to come, relief efforts will fade. Not that we want them to. It's just a fact.
In the next 2-6 months there will be hundreds of yachts and sport fishing boats that will be heading south. I challenge each and every boat that is heading to the Caribbean, to STOP OFF AND DROP OFF. We will all be driving directly past each of the effected islands. Please stock up on a few five pound boxes of nails or a couple sheets of plywood or anything you think one might need to rebuild a home ravaged by a hurricane. This is an inexpensive and simple jesture. But we need to continue to help out our friends down there.I would like to personally thank Carey Chen for donating the art work used in this campaign. with out his efforts this would not have been possible.
Call Capt. Barb Evans with any questions.

BY Captain Ed Thomson

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‘Amitie’ joins Galati Yacht Sales’ Westport fleet for sale

In a busy period of time handling Westports, Galati Yacht Sales has a new central agency in the form of 39.6m M/Y Amitie, one of the US-based yard’s 130’ models. The 2008-built semi-displacement motoryacht is listed for sale at $12.495 million. She is built from composite and was launched in March 2008.

Amitie was formerly known as Trading Places IV and has appeared on the re-sale market before. She was sold in December 2013 by Camper & Nicholsons after Jason Lozeau of Galati Yacht Sales, who has also been assigned as the new listing broker, introduced the buyer.

The motoryacht underwent a soft goods refit in 2015 whilst the ceilings in the salon, master stateroom and foyer were replaced with vinyl as opposed to the original suede. She can accommodate 11 guests over a five-stateroom layout, consisting of a master stateroom, two VIP staterooms and two twins, one of which has a Pullman berth.

M/Y Amitie

Amitie is the sixth Westport 130’ listing on the re-sale market in 2015 bringing the average listing price marginally down to $13.8 million. One of which is also a 2008-build and has an asking price of $12.45, showing that Amitie’s asking price is not out of line with the market.  

Galati Yacht Sales also has fellow Westport 130’ build Amarula Sun on the market, which underwent a $500,000 price reduction at the start of last week and is now listed for sale at $16.4 million. The brokerage firm also has Westport 112’ Team Galati for sale with an asking price of $4.395 million.

M/Y Amarula Sun is also for sale with Galati Yacht Sales

Amitie will be attending the impending Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.

LOA: 39.62m
Year of build: 2008
CA: Galati Yacht Sales
Asking price: $12,495,000


By Felix Sowerbutts

Oringinally Published By Super Yacht News

View Amitie's Listing

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Travel to Cuba Now Permitted By Boat


The White House Administration recently released new rules surrounding travel to Cuba. As a part of the new rules, persons traveling to Cuba will now be able to do so by vessel whether for hire for recreation. This puts boating on parity with other forms of transportation, which initially was restricted to air travel only.


Travelers must still follow all guidelines and travel purposes, however the announcement was a momentus step forward for the boating industry.


To read the full press release including additional details from the U.S. Department of Treasury, click here. Questions? Contact Nicole Vasilaros at


Originally Published by NMMA

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6 Tips For Boating With Your Dog


Our four legged friends love going out on the boat almost as much as we do. Our dogs are part of the family and we need to insure that when they are on the water that we are prepared and they are safe. Here are six tips for boating with your dog

1. Invest in a life jacket.  You may know that your dog is a good swimmer, but depending on conditions such as the current, they could face problems. Life jackets are especially recommended if you have a small dog or one that is not strong. You can purchase a dog life jacket from your local marine store, pet store, or online. Before you purchase a dog life jacket though, you should measure your dog’s length, neck, and girth to ensure that you are purchasing the correct size. Once you purchased a doggie life vest be sure to have your dog try it on before you head out on the boat to ensure it fits correctly.


2. Bring extra water. The atmosphere out on the boat can be very hot and dry which is conducive to dehydration for dogs. Dogs do not sweat, so keep an eye out for heavy panting and a rapid heart beat. It is important that you take extra fresh water along for your dog and make sure that they have ample water available at all times. Collapsible dog water bowls are a good thing to have when out on the boat with your dog.

3. Take doggie waste bags or wee-wee pads. A big challenge of boating with your dog is making provisions so that they can go to the bathroom. If you can make stops to land then you should bring waste bags as a courtesy and pick up your dogs waste. If you are unable to make stops to land then you should train your dog to use wee-wee pads.


4. Bring a leash. You never know where you could end up when going out on the boat. So, it is always good to have a leash just in case you end up going to an island that has a leash law, a marina, or a restaurant. It is recommended though that you do not tie your dog to the deck, as it is not safe.

5. Bring treats for positive reinforcements. There are times such as docking and anchoring that you really need your dog to be well behaved and out of the way. Something you can do to help them is to give treats to help them to stay put while you are doing these tasks.


6. Develop a plan incase your dog goes overboard. While we hope this never happens, if it does you need to be prepared.  You should talk to everyone on board so they will be prepared and know exactly what to do.


Photo from:

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Back to Fort Jefferson

Seventy miles west of Key West there is an island group called the Dry Tortugas. Everyone thinks that Key West is the end of the island chain, not so. The islands continue to stretch to the west and the fishing always seems to get better as you get further from Key West. This past week, we did a trip out to the Dry Tortugas. There is an old fort out there called Fort Jefferson. The fort is steeped in history. It was originally built during the Civil War. It sits on the edge of a key called Garden Key. Garden Key is not much more than a sand bar. It is a engineering feat that would be tough to build today even with modern technology.  No shots were ever fired from the fort in battle. By the time the fort was completed, the rifled canon was invented and made the fortress obsolete. After the Civil War, the fort was turned into a sort of a military prison. One of its most famous residents was DR Samuel Mudd. Dr Mudd was sentenced to incarceration there after setting the leg on John Wilks Booth. ( whom broke his leg after shooting President Lincoln). He was sentenced in a sort of a witch hunt. He had unknowingly aided a criminal. If you have ever heard the term "My name would be mud if I did that". It comes from Dr Mudd.

On day one, we left from Key West. It was a slick calm ride. We headed for a wreck abour 10 miles NE of Fort Jefferson. Soon after leaving we stopped and watched as a pod of 20 porpoise frolicked in the calm waters around the boat. Upon getting anchored up on the wreck, we started dropping live baits and small fish as bait. But small crabs turned out to be the best bait. We caught a nice mess of big Mangrove Snapper up to 7 pounds but we lost more than we caught due to the many Jewfish that have inundated these wrecks.

By mid day we headed into the park and went for a swim. The water was very clear and the reefs (protected because it is a national park) teemed with giant lobster and fish. By late afternoon, we made our way to the actual fort. Our guests explored the fort and I checked in with the park rangers.  While there you can not help but notice the number of Cuban refugee rafts and boats on Garden Key. A friend of mine was at the fort 3 weeks ago when one happened to arrive with 20+ people on it. 

We had an amazing sunset and dinner anchored up in the little harbor by the fort. It was one of those special evenings that you find yourself just sitting and starring. It could be straight out of that song by Jimmy Buffet "That one particular harbor."

The next morning we headed south and tried for some grouper but did not have mush luck, so we headed further out to the Gulf Stream to look for Mahi Mahi. On the way out I spotted something big floating just off my course line. I angled over towards it and realized quickly that it was a cuban make shift boat. I have to tell you there was a lump in my throat as we approached the ragged craft.  I saw no people and worried that they my be dead in the belly of the boat. But as we circled the boat we saw that there was a marking spray painted on the side that stated " OK US Coast Guard." This means that the Coast Guard has already checked out the boat. I can not tell you if the Coast Guard rescued the soles aboard the boat or what. But it was very sobering to see what those cubans must have endured back in Cuba to want to board such a rickedy craft. 

After leaving the raft we had some outstanding fishing. After only having our lines in the water for a short time. We had a 400 lb Blue Marlin crash one of our teasers. It just kept crashing it and crashing it. We presented bait right by its head but it only wanted the mud flap shaped black rubber fish on the end of the teaser. After what seemed like and eternity, the marlin made one last charge right past our baits and stole the fake rubber fish that it wanted so badly and disappeared.  It was frustrating but a beautiful sight. After that we trolled for a better part of the morning catching all the Mahi (dorado) that we wanted. We had a live well full of baits and found it best if we just stopped trolling and stopped when ever we found the fish.

It was really an amazing weekend with great friends. I enjoy trips like the one we did that last weekend so much. No one had cell phone service and we all just argued and laughed and fished and ate.

Originally posted by: Captain Ed
Fort Jefferson






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Old Friends and New Mates


Key West does not change much. It's kinda like the movie ground hog day. Tourist come and go and in the marina boats come and go. Its always nice to see old friends as they pass through.We are still here. We have been taking guests out fishing for Yellowtail Snapper on the reefs or trolling for dorado out on the Rip offshore or free diving for lobster in the shallows of the surrounding keys.

I do have a new deck hand on board. Dan Condron is now my mate on board. I think he will fit in just fine. He's been a pleasure to work with over the past few weeks and I look forward to fishing with him for a while. I will have to work on training him to not eat so much... The boy can pound some food. I swear he has a bag of chips in his hand all day long.

About two weeks ago, the boss was kind enough to let my kids come down to get some lobster and fish with me. We had a blast. I took them out each day and they both caught plenty of lobster. We even went out and trolled for Dolphin and caught some nice ones. My kids have always been fish when they are in the water. I wondered if they would do well on lobster free diving having not done it for a few years. NO PROBLEM. Patrick was a machine in the water and seemed to catch more than anyone. Lauren on the other hand was hilarious to watch from the boat. When she was a little girl she use to sing and make all kinds of noises thru her snorkel... some thing never change. I never could understand what she was saying when she was catching lobster this last week. I think she was talking to the lobster. 


In a couple of days We are doing a Tortugas trip. Everyone thinks that Key West is the last key or furthest west Key. But in reality the Dry Tortugas are the last islands in the Keys chain. The are 70 miles west of Key West. There is an old civil war fort out there and it is steeped with history. The fishing can be spectacular as well. I will write more about it in my next blog.

Originally Published by Captain Ed Thompson

Running offshore on a slick calm day


Blue Heaven in Key West


Madalyn and Dan and I


Lauren with a nice Dorado

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Time for Some Tail (and a lobster bisque recipe)

Lobster Mini season was this last week. Mini season or otherwise known as sportsmans season is a two day season that allows recreational divers to go out and catch lobster one week before the regular season that begins on August 6th. We had a big group of guests in town so we had to do two trips each day to get everyone out on the little boat. Our first morning was a bit slow but by afternoon we figured out where they were. I am not sure if it was the slick calm conditions or what, but I can't remember ever seeing as many boats out there as we did. So many of the people that come down for mini season get so wrapped up in the hunt for bugs that they forget how much fun it can be. Yes, it’s hard work at times but when you just relax and enjoy the fact that you are in the water and drifting around in clear water where you have a chance to catch a lobster, it can really be lots of fun.  The docks were full of boats every afternoon cleaning their catches and sharing stories of the day. The part I love the most is seeing all the families on the dock. There were quite a few smaller boats at the marina with lots of little kids. What a great way to spend summer vacation.

One of my favorite ways to prepare lobster is in a bisque. I have had about 5 requests for the recipe. So here it is. Yes Its fattening but damn its good.

Seasons first batch of Lobster Bisque

Boil 8 lobster tails. As the tails boil, there will be a foam that forms on the surface of the water, paddle this foam off and put it in a bowl on the side. Remove the meat from the shell and Chop it up. Put one stick of salted Butter in a pot. Chop up the onion part of a scallion and cook it off in the melting butter. Then add flour to the butter to make a Rue. ( just add the flour a bit at a time till the butter becomes a thick paste.) With the heat still on medium high, add one pint of heavy cream to the paste.  also whisk in the foam that you saddled off earlier. It will mix together but you have to stir constantly. Now add one small can of tomato paste. Your rue will still be a bit thick. At this point add about a half of a cup of Cooking sherry. Whisk it in. Now add salt and pepper to your taste. I add a spoon full of minced garlic to mine but it is optional.  At this point you can add milk to thin out your bisque. I add a few shakes of Cayenne pepper at this point as well. Add it slowly so you don't make the bisque to spicy. Your lobster can now be added as well as some more of the chopped scallion. ( The green part). You need to cook the bisque at medium heat for a half an hour and tend it constantly. During this time, You can add a little more milk or a touch more flour to get your bisque to the right consistency. At this point the bisque will not be at its best. You need to reduce the heat and let it simmer for at a minimum of two hours. As it simmers, the lobster will cook apart and the bisque will become more creamy.  You may need to ad a few more splashes of sherry but be careful not to over do it. You want to have a hint of the sweet taste of the sherry but to much and the entire pot is ruined.
Sorry for those of you asking for the lobster mac and cheese recipe... Miss peaches would kill me if I give that one out.

The Yellow tail snapper fishing has been outstanding. We had one day where we caught out limit of 70 in just a couple of hours. Its hard to find a better tasting snapper than yellow tail. We were fishing in about 75 feet of water, and had the snapper swarming behind the boat. Its so much fun to use light spinning tackle to catch them. The only problem that we did have is the Jewfish ( Or Goliath grouper if you want to be politically correct). If you lost sight of the snapper you hooked in the upper 30 feet of the water, the jewfish would eat them. we even had some of the jewfish come up and eat out snappers 20 feet below the boat. The State of florida and or NMFS has really got to revisit regulations on jew fish. They are overpopulating so many areas. As I always say, " how many bananas does a 500 pound gorilla eat in a day. These fish eat a lot of the fish that NMFS is trying to protect.

Originally Published by Captain Ed Thompson

Sunrise on Opening day of Mini Season


Nice Tub of crustaceans 


Thats a lot of tail and some nice lobsters as well


Bahamian style lobster Mac and cheese


Dawn on the dock at A and B marina


A live well full of Bugs

Box'em up


I wuv yewo tail snapper from the weef



Good size tails

Cleaning bugs on the dock


Proud snorkelers


Jason with the two bigs ones that I caught


Nice spread



Day two


Its more fun to catch them than to clean them

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Red, White, and Blue Angels

Feelings of patriotism and amazement struck Pensacola Beach last weekend. Coolers were packed, flags flying, and floats rafted all awaiting the annual Blue Angels Air Show. This occasion made a perfect Galati Yachts Rendezvous! Some of our boaters came for the weekend and others came just for the big show. Twelve Galati yachts anchored out in groups and had fun traveling by dingy to one another. Each boat brought their signature cocktail and favorite dish, the perfect floats, and most importantly family and friends!

Joe and Jennifer Galati with their daughter, Maria and their nephew Carmine Jr. hosted this Galati Rendezvous aboard a 50 Tiara Coupe.

The show started with a large aircraft zooming in only yards from the shoreline. The crowds began honking their horns, hooting and hollering in excitement. We rushed to the bow, excited to have the perfect view! Admiral Dur and his wife aboard their Maritimo "De Grasse III" brought a banner large enough to be displayed across the bow of three yachts... reading “Fly Navy” showing our patriotism and pride. The Blue Angels were spotted in the distance coming towards us in their impressively tight formation. We watched them with great anticipation of their next stunt!!

Galati Yacht’s Rendezvous' take place throughout the year and range from local spots to great adventures to Key West and The Bahamas! Every customer is welcome and encouraged to come make memories and create life long friendships. It gives you and your family the perfect opportunity to enjoy your beautiful yacht from Galati Yachts!

Visit our Facebook Page for more photos! 


















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Blue Marlin Grand Championship Tournament

The Blue Marlin Grand Championship Tournament has a reputation of wowing the crowds every year, and this years Tournament did not disappoint.

Galati Yacht Sales were once again platinum sponsors for this event allowing us front row seats to cheer on our customers competing.

Galati Yacht Sales is always finding ways to get more involved with the Orange Beach tournament. Galati hosted their annual party at the Toby Keith bar inviting all owners and crew participating in the fishing tournament. It was a great turnout giving each of the boats an opportunity to mingle and enjoy dinner catered by Villagio and a live band. A fighting chair competition was set up inside the Toby Keith bar. The final winner was awarded with the opportunity to judge the Ms. Billfish pageant! A gambling station including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Poker where set up as a fundraiser to raise money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. A great kick off to the tournament!

J.J Tabor and his four buddies competed aboard a 37 Freeman Boatworks catamaran. Double J was an average 20 feet smaller than the other boats competing. J.J. and his team had planned to stick to fishing smaller game but when they crossed paths with a 716.6 lb. marlin they couldn’t resist. Fighting this monster for more than five hours, an even bigger challenge arose when it got to the center console, getting the colossal fish inside of the boat. Taking 30 minutes of scheming and maneuvering, the marlin was brought aboard by the four men and immediately iced down. With 300 miles to cover, the team rushed to the weigh-ins to make the 7 p.m. deadline.

Making it back to the Wharf with time to spare, the monster was hauled onto a cart and immediately jaws were dropping, cameras flashing, and people gasping. The weigh-in staff sprinted out with the cart and the crowd ran with them to the scale. The crowd of 15,000 roared with excitement as they gazed in awe at the beast that would win the tournament. 

It was caught on 80-pound test line with a live blackfin tuna as bait. Over the long weekend, the team covered 891 miles of water in the open center console.

The larger vessels certainly made a statement as well. Caribe and owner/angler Larry Wireman outlasted a blue marlin that tipped the scales at 437.4 pounds after another five-hour battle. That fish was also caught on a live blackfin tuna.

“I just get in the chair,” Wireman says. “My crew deserves all the credit. That fight seemed like it lasted 10 years. It was the toughest fish I’ve ever caught. After we finally got it in, I had to go inside and take a nap.” Caribe’s fish was caught near the Noble Dan Croft oilrig in the central Gulf. Capt. Luke Crenshaw is the Caribe’s skipper.

Angler Jean Pierre Arceneaux on Colby Jean brought in the only other marlin weighed this year. It was caught in the Green Canyon and was landed after a three-hour fight. It weighed 335.2 pounds.

Black Tip, a 61 Buddy Davis from Key West, Florida, emerged triumphant with a 162-pound yellowfin. Sweet Beaver was a close second with a 155-pound fish, while the family team aboard Traders Hill made its mark on the leaderboard with one weighing 145.4 pounds.

Gotta Believe caught the top dolphin for 2015, a 41.8-pound gaffer. Quick Time lived up to its name with the second-place fish based on time, while You Never Know! came in third with an identical 34.2 pounds.

Only a handful of wahoo were brought in Saturday night. Blind Hog had the largest at 43.4 pounds, while the newly designated Gulf Legends awardee, Leon Edwards, fishing on his boat Lucky 2, took second and third-place with fish weighing 39 and 28.2 pounds.

A great group of boats and an even greater group of anglers called for another incredible fishing tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama.

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New Record Set with 899.6-Pound Blue Marlin

Miramar Beach, Fla. (June 23, 2015) – For the captain and crew of Cotton Patch, the 13th Annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic (ECBC) was anything but unlucky. Lance Hill from Orange Beach, Alabama labored for almost five hours on Friday afternoon before reeling in an event record 899.6-pound blue marlin. The record billfish was measured at 134.5-inches with a girth of 74-inches to earn Team Cotton Patch first place and a payout of $195,277 for a tournament that doled out more than $1.5 million in winnings. The Baytowne Marina at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is the host venue for the event which took place June 17-21.
For captain/owner Johnny Dorland, this ECBC championship win is about much more than simply dollars and cents. “I caught my first billfish, a sail, in 1968 when I was 13 years old, out of Orange Beach, Alabama,” Dorland says. “So to come out on top in a tournament of this caliber, competing all summer against guys you respect and to do it with friends and family is very gratifying. Sure the money is nice. But to catch a fish like this one is definitely rewarding. And we’re not stopping. We’re going to keep after it until we catch another one that weighs 101 pounds more. That’s our next goal, to boat a grander.”
Bragging rights aside, prize money was a consideration for the other teams fishing this thirteenth annual event. A total of $1,586,400 in cash prizes was at stake for the 78 teams entered. And in typical ECBC fashion, that money was paid out to 29 of the teams entered. The grand total was pooled from entry fees and optional cash entries for different divisions, including marlin weight, billfish catch and release, and game fish categories for tuna, dolphin and wahoo.
Owner Keith English, Capt. Matt Mauldwin and the rest of Team Click Through is not going home to Gulf Breeze, Florida, empty-handed. For boating the third-largest blue marlin, a 548-pounder, along with a 150-pound yellowfin tuna, the team won $173,002 in tournament and jackpot money.
Lady angler Laurie Jones, her husband Rocky Jones, Capt. Scooter Porto and the team aboard Reel Addiction is better off thanks to Laurie’s second-place 551.0 blue marlin. Total winnings for crew, jackpot and tourney award came out to $146,430.Reel Addiction also released one blue and weighed a 31.6-pound dolphin during the event.
In the close catch-and-release standings, Pier Pressure, a 50 Viking from Grande Isle, Louisiana, won $86,220 as the top overall release boat. It accrued 1,875 points for three blues, one white and one unidentified billfish release. Capt. Brain T. Lord of New Iberia, Louisiana, is the skipper of Pier Pressure. Capt. Danny Smith and Team Shameless was named the top crew for releasing one blue and two white marlin ($6,300). A total of 43 billfish were caught during the 2015 contest, including 28 blue marlin and 15 white marlin.
Cut-N-Run, a 64 Tribute based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with Capt. Geoff Collins on the wheel, took second-place release honors for two blues released ($105,030), followed by Pair-A-Dice, a 66 Viking from Destin, Florida, also for two blues based on time. Capt. Gary Smith and his team won $107,527. Born2Run owner Dana Foster and Capt. Myles Colley and their team also released two blue marlin to win $79,627 for jackpots and the third-place crew award.
Jeremy Branning, Capt. Gary Matherne and Team Rigged Right took the first place tuna prize for a 175.3-pound yellowfin ($37,810). The other top tuna boats wereJubilee, Southern Miss, Fransea, Quick Time and Traders Hill. Forty yellowfin tuna were weighed in, for a cumulative total of 4,192 pounds.
The dolphin leaderboard changed several times throughout Saturday night’s weigh-in. In the end CE angler Scott Cooper and Capt. Russell Craft emerged the winner with a 47-pound bull, worth $93,970. Other big dolphin cash winners included Dont Blink, Ono Ocean, Black Tip and Trust Fun. Fifty-two dolphin were caught amongst the fleet.
Only 20 wahoo were tallied this year, with Scott Harris aboard Back Down2 the top winner with a 61.3-pound speedster. Capt. Gary Jarvis guided the team to its $52,086 payout. Capt. Neal Foster and his team aboard Intense caught the second-place wahoo, followed by Sherry Polk aboard Share-E. Other wahoo jackpot winners included Wynsong, Maverick and Sea Wolff.
Pier Pressure won the Top Release Team Award sponsored by Galati Yacht Sales/Viking Yachts, as well as an invitation to fish the Offshore World Championship. In the individual angler awards, Lance Hill was named the top overall ECBC and World Billfish Series angler for his record-setting blue aboard Cotton Patch. Carrie Gerber won top release and top lady angler honors on Cut-N-Run.
In the junior angler division, Drew Marshall was named the top billfish junior angler competing aboard Traders Hill. Beau Callais, on Colby Jean, earned recognition in the junior game fish category.
“What a week! We set new records for the number of boats entered, plus the new benchmark for blue marlin,” says Tournament Director Adam Alfonso. “The weather was beautiful, the fishing was awesome and I’d like to thank all the participating teams as well as all our wonderful sponsors for another fantastic event. The only way to top this one is to hit $2 million and weigh a grander next year.”
Known as the richest big-game tournament in the Gulf of Mexico, the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is hosted by Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. ORCA Coolers was the 2015 Presenting Sponsor. Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore was the official Hotel Partner. Next year’s ECBC will be held on June 22-26, 2016.

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