Wa­ter­front

A new breed of fish­ing tour­na­ment builds com­mu­nity among Hat­teras own­ers.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - —Krista Karl­son

Hat­teras wanted to cre­ate a tour­na­ment ev­ery one of its sport­fish­ing clients could com­pete in. So they went dig­i­tal.

It’s no se­cret that Hat­teras sport­fish­ing boats are built for action. In fact, the action is global, with own­ers around the coun­try and the world catch­ing mar­lin, snap­per, tuna and more from the teak decks of their tour­na­men­tready con­vert­ibles. This year, the com­pany wanted to try some­thing new. “We wanted to build a com­mu­nity of Hat­teras own­ers, a place where they can share their sport­fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ences,” says Director of Mar­ket­ing Joe Ca­co­pardo. And they knew just how to do it: a tour­na­ment.

Hav­ing a global cus­tomer base is great for busi­ness, but it makes a tra­di­tional week-long fish­ing tour­na­ment im­prac­ti­cal. The com­pany found a sim­ple so­lu­tion. The Hat­teras Cup is an on­go­ing com­pe­ti­tion that’s hap­pen­ing in real time around the world for a six-month pe­riod. Any Hat­teras owner can en­ter, ei­ther as a tour­na­ment or non-tour­na­ment an­gler.

An­glers al­ready par­tic­i­pat­ing in sanc­tioned tour­na­ments can send Hat­teras their weigh-in slips, and ev­ery­day an­glers share photos and videos to verify their catches, all of which ap­pear on the live on­line leader­board. “We wanted it to be what­ever our Hat­teras own­ers wanted it to be,” says Avery Brooks, the as­so­ciate brand man­ager who over­sees the tour­na­ment’s daily op­er­a­tion. Some en­trants are just in it for fun, while oth­ers hope for a record-break­ing At­lantic blue mar­lin that will earn them a $1 mil­lion cash prize.

But for Hat­teras, the tour­na­ment was never re­ally about the purse. “It al­lows us to have on­go­ing ex­pe­ri­ences get­ting

to know our cus­tomers,” says Brooks, who is de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ships with many of the an­glers. They text photos of their lat­est catches and fol­low so­cial me­dia up­dates closely to mon­i­tor their po­si­tion and the ac­tiv­ity of other an­glers.

One team of recre­ational fish­er­men wants to sub­mit a fish in each of the tour­na­ment’s cat­e­gories, even though they’ll com­pete against pro­fes­sion­als in some of those cat­e­gories, like mahi and tuna. Friendly com­pe­ti­tion bol­sters a sense of com­mu­nity among own­ers, an as­pect that al­ready ex­ists in large part among the Hat­teras mo­to­ry­acht crowd. The com­pany was look­ing to fos­ter that for its sport­fish­ing clients.

At press time, 44 teams made up of 163 an­glers were reg­is­tered, and Brooks and Ca­co­pardo an­tic­i­pate reg­is­tra­tions will con­tinue through the fall. An­glers have un­til De­cem­ber 31 to en­ter the World Record Hat­teras Cup for At­lantic blue mar­lin, and Jan­uary 31 for all other prizes. Win­ners will be an­nounced at the Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Boat Show in Fe­bru­ary.

Brooks says the Hat­teras Cup is an ex­ten­sion of the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to take care of its cus­tomers. Ca­co­pardo echoes that sen­ti­ment.“We wanted to of­fer some­thing spe­cial,” he says. A first glimpse sug­gests Hat­teras has been suc­cess­ful: Dozens of smil­ing an­glers ap­pear on the com­pany’s so­cial me­dia feeds, and the con­ver­sa­tion is lively. Time will tell whether this un­con­ven­tional tour­na­ment for­mat takes hold with other man­u­fac­tur­ers, but for now, the com­pany and its clients are just en­joy­ing the com­radery.

At the time of this writ­ing, team Hot, Black and Sticky, which is rep­re­sent­ing the Mo­bile As­phalt com­pany in Mo­bile, Alabama, held the top po­si­tion for dol­phin, snap­per and grouper. Says first mate Josh Terry, “It’s been a chal­lenge for us. Ev­ery time we leave the dock, we’re com­pet­ing against every­body in the world on a Hat­teras. We can’t wait to see how the year ends and to fish it again next year.”

Forty-four teams are reg­is­tered in the Hat­teras Cup, com­pet­ing for scale-tip­ping sport­fish and a $1 mil­lion purse if they catch a record-set­ting At­lantic blue mar­lin. Teams post photos of their catches and keep a close eye on their com­peti­tors’ progress.

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