It was another incredible year at the 6th Annual Viking Key West Challenge held April 10th-14th. Viking Yachts, Galati Yacht Sales, and several vendors and industry representatives were on hand to share in the weekend festivities. Galati Yachts had a fantastic turnout of customers. We had twenty-five of the forty-three total Vikings in attendance. Guests were welcomed with a cool breeze and a true Key West sunset on Wednesday night for cocktails and appetizers on the top deck of Dante’s Tiki Bar. Viking Yachts owner, Pat Healey, greeted guests as they arrived in excitement and anticipation for one of the best sportfishing weekends of the year.
Lines were in on Thursday morning, and all of the anglers were off to an excellent start. It was a beautiful calm day on the water. The bite was a little slow on day one, but anglers boasted 45 sailfish releases. Our friends on “Mr. Grinch” releasing four Sailfish, closely followed by the team aboard “Bandit” releasing two Sailfish and weighing Tuna, Grouper, and Cobia. Thursday evening guests attended the “Wild Wild (Key West)” themed dinner donned in cowboy hats, bandanas, and even a few “ponies” circling around.
Day two of the Challenge was all about FUN! With the pool party and giant floats, the “Poker Run” and the “Billfish Foundation Kid’s Dock Tournament,” there were chances to spend time with family or partake in a little fun on Duval Street. The day started with the pool party and lunch at Dante’s Tiki Bar and buzzed on to the “Poker Run” or to “Billfish Foundation Kid’s Dock Tournament.” Watching the young anglers learn from some of the most experienced in the world and sharing in their excitement is one of the best parts of this event. The Poker Run offers the adults a little on-land competition where participants visited various establishments throughout Key West collecting cards with the hopes to win the best hand. Lots of laughs and great times shared all around.
Day three was the final charge of the Vikings, lines were in early, it was a bit breezy, and the sailfish were biting! The day produced 87 Sailfish. Our friends on “Mr. Grinch” had a stellar day winning the Billfish release category with a total of ten releases in two days. “Ragin Cajun” came in 3rd place in the Billfish release category with 9 total releases, and “Fish Wish” won the daily with 8 Sailfish.
The evening held the awards ceremony at Margaritaville where guests mingled and enjoyed another gorgeous sunset, cocktails, and delicious dinner before the awards began.
Team Galati was proud to watch Natalie Rarick from “Bandit” win the overall angler and Sarah Hall from “Mr. Grinch” coming in second overall. “Bandit” took home first place in the Cobia category, “Marlin Darlin” won the Dolphin category, “Mdala” took 3rd place in the Tuna category. “Red Lion” came in 3rd for the Kingfish category.
Overall it was an auspicious five days in Key West and year after year we are reminded why this is such an incredible event; quality time with customers, families and friends alike – all in the name of fun and love for sport fishing.