Reef Cup Looks Different in Its 36th Year
The Reef Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament has become The Reef’s most anticipated fishing tournament of the season, and is traditionally characteristic of large social gatherings and fun, competitive sailfishing. With safety at the forefront of planning this year’s tournament, changes have been made, but the competition will be as fierce as ever kicking off Wednesday, January 27 through Saturday, January 30.
The Reef Cup tradition began in 1986 when 24 participants squared off for three days of serious sailfishing and nightly celebration. Thirty-six years later, the tournament is capped at a 60-boat fleet and has been held every year, rain or shine, since the inaugural tournament.
“The Reef Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament is amongst the oldest time-honored events we host here at the Club,” said Reef Cup Committee member Ken Reda. “While the Coronavirus threw some curveballs into its planning, the Reef Cup Committee and Member Events Team felt compelled to keep the tradition going as best we could without compromising the health and safety of everyone involved.” Adding, “The tournament is first and foremost a fishing event and thankfully, the act of sailfishing precludes itself from large crowds.”
To that end, the Reef Cup’s celebrated social events have been removed from the 2021 tournament schedule. This includes the nightly cocktail receptions, buffet dinners, and the Saturday evening banquet that usually accompanies the Awards Ceremony. Two remaining events will be held outdoors – the Captain’s Meeting, where only two representatives from each Reef Cup team will be permitted to attend, and the Awards Ceremony, which will be drive-in style by golf cart.
The Club will not host a reception at The Point this year, but Members who still wish to view the fleet return Thursday, January 28 through Saturday, January 30 at 4 p.m., are asked to do so by distancing themselves on Buccaneer Island to avoid congregating in one area. Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to and masks will be required when unable to do so.
“While this event, like others we’ve enjoyed over the past year, will look different from those of previous years,” said Kyle Landers, Director of Member Events & Services. “Ocean Reef Club, along with co-host the Rod & Gun Club, has done everything possible to ensure this will remain a fantastic, successful, and most importantly, safe tournament. The essence of the tournament – great friendship and great fishing – will remain unchanged.”
Competition in the 2021 Reef Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament begins Wednesday, January 27 with the limited Captain’s Meeting, followed by three days of fishing (one day of choice being a lay day). Live results can be followed throughout each day by visiting oceanreef.com/reefcupresults.
“Regardless of the changes and adjustments made this year, one thing is for certain,” said Reda. “At 4 p.m. Saturday, January 30th, there will be a 2021 Reef Cup winner, and they will earn bragging rights forever!”
Featured above is 2020 Reef Cup winners, Team Buckalot.