The Mikelson 50 Luxury Sportfisher "Mi Novia" wins the 2009 Bisbee Black & Blue Billfish Tournament and $436,603 in prize money... this just weeks after the Mikelson 50 Luxury Sportfisher "Cap'n Jake" won the 2009 East Cape Bisbee Billfish Tournament!
Crew & Owner of Mikelson 50 SF "Mi Novia" with their winning Marlin at the 2009 Bisbee Black & Blue
Crew & Owner of Mikelson 50 "Cap'n Jake" after their 2009 Bisbee East Cape Victory
Congratulations to both Mikelson 50 Sportfishers!!!
Just how impressive is this Mikelson Sweep of the 2009 Major Bisbee Tournaments? Consider that between the Bisbee Black & Blue and the Bisbee East Cape, there were a total of (147) sportfishers competing.... and of those (147) sportfishers, just (4) were Mikelson Yachts. That's right, just (4) Mikelsons and they beat out:
- 21 Cabo Yachts
- 19 Bertrams Yachts
- 15 Hatteras Yachts
- 11 Vikings Yachts
We've witnessed this over and over again through the years. Outnumbered Mikelsons out-fishing the competition, proving without a doubt that Mikelsons do in fact, fish better than any other sportfisher on the market! Not to mention the better ride of a Mikelson... much better economy... custom interior accommodations... massive flybridge... new pod drive technology... and the list goes on...
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By Drew Lawler
What would you say the chances were to win the Bisbee’s Black and Blue for a guy who just picked up a new captain and mate for his boat the day before the shotgun start?
“We were desperate,” admitted Bryan Miller. “I asked around, and these two guys came recommended and were available, so I hired them. We couldn’t even pre-fish the tournament with them because the port was closed because of the hurricane.” Turns out to be one of the best last-minute hires in Bisbee’s history. For Mikelson 50 owner Bryan Miller, that decision paid out $436,603 for the largest fish of the event, a 375-pound blue. But the story doesn’t end there.
Over the years, we’ve seen Vikings, Hatterases and Bertrams – to name a few – take top honors in the Bisbee’s tournaments. But this year it’s all about Mikelson. Mikelson 50s, to be more specific.
A Mikelson 50, Cap’n Jake, won the Bisbee’s East Cape earlier this season, and now another Mikelson 50, Mi Novia, takes the Bisbee’s Black and Blue. Wow. Winning the Bisbee’s has become a competition of sorts for the manufacturers as well as the teams competing, so taking top honors in two of the three Bisbee’s tournaments is like winning the Heisman and the BCS Championship game in the same year.
“I knew the way the fish hit the bait and how fast the line screamed out that it was going to be a good fish,” said owner and angler Bryan Miller on Mi Novia. “Then when he made his first jump, even though it was two hundred yards away from the boat, we knew it was a contender.”
Mi Novia was slow-trolling a 15-pound yellowfin tuna on a downrigger and free-swimming another. With the boat moving one to two knots (by bumping it in and out of gear), the fish hit the free-swimmer. At the time of the hookup, Mi Novia was near the Horseshoe, which was the decision of Captain Nico Hernandez and first mate Chino Arballo. “I let them call the shots on where to fish. Most of the fleet went to the Gordo Banks, and we took off in a different direction. They made a good team. Chino was constantly up and down the ladder, consulting with Nico on everything,” said Miller.
This is not Miller’s first time in the money at the Bisbee’s. Miller bought his Mikelson 50 in 2004 and promptly took fourth place in the Black and Blue that year. Like most Bisbee’s winners, he has it equipped with tuna tubes and a host of other fishing equipment, but it’s the intangibles, he says, that help raise fish. “I’m a big believer that some boats raise fish better than others because of the sounds they emit,” maintains Miller, whose Mi Novia is equipped with CAT 3208s. “I passed on re-powering because I know that this combination raises fish for this boat. That, and the water-maker. I always run the water-maker when fishing for marlin. I’m convinced it adds something to the sound.”
Hey, the guy just collected a check for $436,603, so if he says the water-maker makes a difference, who’s to argue?
In August, Cap’n Jake, the other Mikelson 50 sharing the spotlight, took top honors in the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore. Owned by Barrie Harnett, they pulled up to the scales at the last minute with a 341-pound blue marlin caught by Kent Andersson to squeeze out the only other qualifying marlin of the tournament by 31 pounds. The team aboard Cap’n Jake took $77,871.40 for first place and the day-three marlin jackpots.
Despite rough seas East Cape Offshore enjoyed steady fishing throughout the three days of competition, and the field posted 101 billfish, including 36 blue marlin, 1 black marlin, 37 striped marlin, and 27 sailfish – with a 95 percent release ratio. According to Miller who is a friend of Harnett, Harnett opted out of this year’s Black and Blue because of the impending hurricane, but that didn’t seem to matter for Mikelson, which scores two wins for this year’s Bisbee’s circuit. And you may remember that it was a Mikelson 43, La Dulce Vida, owned by Mark Wheeler that won the Catalina Classic in 2008.
We don’t know if Cap’n Jake and La Dulce Vida were also running their water-makers when they hooked up, but we do know that Mikelson has proven itself as a tournament competitor. Congratulations to Mikelson principals Dick Peterson and Pat Sullivan and the whole Mikelson team.
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by John Houts
We just completed the second running of FUBAR — Fleet Underway to Baja Rally — from San Diego to La Paz, Mexico, a distance of approximately 1,000 miles. Initially, 50 boats entered the rally, although the number was reduced to 43 boats by start time. In the end, 40 boats finished the rally.
The first FUBAR was sponsored by the Del Rey Yacht Club and masterminded by Bruce Kessler and his right-hand assistant Donna Wilson. This year's event, the second, was sponsored by the San Diego Yacht Club and two members who put an amazing amount of effort and time into raising the bar of FUBAR I, Val Farrell and Kemp Ruffner.
The concept was to cruise 40-plus powerboats with skippers and crew of varied experience in safety and with resources for any type of emergency. In the mix were many boaters who had never taken their boats farther than the 30 miles across the channel from Newport Beach to Catalina Island. Escort vessels supported the fleet. Also as support were Dr. John Lake of the San Diego Yacht Club as fleet surgeon and skippers with thousands of miles of open-ocean experience. Capt. Ann Kinner of Seabreeze Nautical Books & Charts in San Diego worked with the FUBAR II committee to create a route for the journey. After departing from Ensenada, the fleet had several 30-hour overnight passages with stops in Turtle Bay, Santa Maria Bay, Magdalena Bay, San Jose del Cabo, Bahia de los Muertos and La Paz.
John Houts at FUBAR II
There was no typical boat on the odyssey. The fleet ranged from Brown Eyed Girl, a 28-foot Skipjack with a special size waiver due to its successful completion of FUBAR I, to Merlin, a 110-foot Swiftship, and included a variety of sport-fishers, 50 to 57 feet (such as our Mikelson 50, Dos Abogados IV), several Nordhavns, Grand Banks and Selenes, among others. Sunshine, a 38-foot Hatteras, was remarkable because its crew included the owners' 4-year-old and 6-monthold daughters, with the maternal grandfather along for the ride. Mom is an eye surgeon and dad is an engineer who took a crash course from a seasoned Detroit Diesel mechanic on the workings of their two naturally aspirated vintage Detroits, which had been rebuilt to zero hour specifications for the rally.
Without exception, the boat owners ran the boats — men and women who have lived and dreamed the boating lifestyle. Their boats were meticulously prepared. Only three boats were unable to travel the entire distance. The powerboat skippers all demonstrated that they knew the many systems on their boats, which included navigation equipment, electrical systems, plumbing, charging systems, potable water supplies, radar, EPIRBs, dinghy launch and retrieval, anchoring, night travel and, for many, the new AIS technology.
FUBAR II was not a milk run south. It featured heavy following seas and the fleet went head-on into rougher seas once it turned the corner at Cabo and started north to the Sea of Cortez and La Paz. The leg from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas was more than 700 miles, and fuel was only available in Turtle Bay, about halfway down the rugged Baja coast. There was no Vessel Assist or BoatU.S. to hail on the VHF. This was serious boating.
The FUBAR II participants shared their love of boating, travel and adventure. En route, more than a few enjoyed fishing, while some read books when they arrived at a quiet anchorage. For many, the next six months will include cruising up into the Sea of Cortez from La Paz. Others will cruise across to Mazatlan and then to Puerto Vallarta and farther south. Several will continue to the Panama Canal with no set destination in mind and may not return to California for more than a year, if ever.
Mikelson 50 "Dos Abogados IV"
For me, the highlights of the trip were the times when we were onshore for an event and I was able to look out at the entire fleet: 40 boats at anchor in Turtle Bay, Santa Maria Bay and then again off Man of War Cove in Magdalena Bay. My only moment of concern occurred when we snagged a lobster pot coming out of Turtle Bay. Everyone in the fleet managed to miss them; we managed to collect one. We were well and truly wrapped. Fortunately, I had a mask and a sharp knife and was able to free dive down to the trap and cut it away from our shaft, propeller and rudder. I pushed a little adrenalin, but it made me glad I didn't wait until I was any older to undertake this cruising adventure to Mexico.
When we arrived in La Paz at the Marina CostaBaja, we were treated to a magnificent feast on the final night of the trip. We had been in La Paz before in the spring of 2008 and were immediately reminded of the special charm of this city. La Paz is unique. It is our favorite Mexican port. The people make the city. Absolute strangers become immediate and lasting friends.
We will soon leave La Paz and motor our way up into the Sea of Cortez as far as the islands off Loreto. After some time in San Diego, we will cruise back down to Cabo and then to Puerto Vallarta. A friend who is a delivery skipper will bring the boat back to San Diego in early May for us. Will we sign up for FUBAR III in two years? Absolutely.
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