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Pilar Wins 60th Ernest Hemingway Intl Billfish Fishing Tournament

At the end of May, 31 teams representing 17 countries participated in this milestone event fished out of Havana, Cuba. Destiny wanted a Spanish team on board the symbolic yacht Pilar, moored in Marina Hemingway, to win a Hemingway Tournament for the first time. (Ernest Hemingway did not have that luck on his own legendary boat Pilar, now displayed at the Hemingway Museum Vigía country estate in Havana where the author lived for more than 20 years.)

"With this victory we paid homage to that man who agreed on giving his name to this sport fishing event. Cuban anglers had a lot of influence on Hemingway," said José Luis "Pepe" Conde, member of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba and owner of Pilar.

In the Captains Meeting on Monday May 24th, at the headquarters of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich welcomed anglers, and Rob Kramer, James Meredith and Hort Schneider, presidents of the International Game Fish Association, The Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society and the European Federation of Sea Anglers, respectively. He also welcomed Ralph "Agie" Vicente, Commodore of the Club Náutico de San Juan, Puerto Rico and Representative of the Billfish Foundation for the Caribbean.

The countries that had the most participation this anniversary year were the United States of America with four teams and Italy, Russia, Cayman Islands and Cuba with three teams each. The United Kingdom had two teams. It was the first time no American team came from the US sailing their own boat.

The first fishing day ended with the event's first valid capture made by team Pilar, which tagged and released a blue marlin. On a lay day after two days of fishing, some participants visited places that Hemingway used to visit while others exchanged opinions about the different sides of the life of the American writer in a sports journalists meeting. The third fishing day took place with a white marlin and a blue marlin tagged and released by teams from Argentina and the United States, respectively.

On the fourth and final day, at 12:20 hours, the team from Ecuador on board Tag and Release reported having tagged and released a white marlin. Almost at the end of the day, Tag and Release reported to be working on a new marlin. But Werner Campoverde and the rest of the Ecuadorian team were looking desperately for the camera to take pictures of the fish – because without pictures no points were accumulated – and the camera never appeared. Releasing the marlin, they let the first place go.

For Team Pilar – Sergio González Arcis as skipper, Santiago Álvarez Trujillo as sailor, and the anglers José L. Conde Álvarez, Félix L. Álvarez Tinguillo and Boris Marcelo Bartulín – as rumor says, you could even hear their whoops of joy in Malecón ocean drive in Havana.

José Luis Conde had won the prize for the First Valid Capture of the Tournament and his team, the first place and the right to be present in the IGFA Offshore World Championship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on May 2011, and to have a picture with the Hemingway Cup that has now returned from France. The Russian team on DC-9-III won second place and the Danish team on Marlin XVIII won third place.

Commodore Escrich, Representative of IGFA in Havana, began the closing ceremony by acknowledging seven women anglers, who received flowers and a book with paintings from Guy Harvey related to "The Old Man and the Sea" and devoted to the 60th Hemingway Tournament. The youngest angler of the Tournament, the Cuban Lázaro A. Alonso Rodríguez, also received a book from Guy Harvey, as did the 15 repeating teams. Haidi Jafroudi, the only woman that tagged and released a marlin, received a painting by Cuban painter Jorge Guanche.

Anglers were invited to participate in the 61st "Ernest Hemingway" International Billfish Fishing Tournament that will take place from June 6th to 11th, 2011.

Report submitted by José Miguel Díaz Escrich, Commodore, Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba

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