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