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World Sailfish Championship Returns to Key West

The sails will fly in the Key West event. The sails will fly in the Key West event.

By: Special to OutdoorChannel.com

KEY WEST, Fla. -- The World Sailfish Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops has always been about great fishing, world-class entertainment and raising money for charity.  The 2013 event will be no exception as this fun and exciting event returns to Key West, April 10-14.

This year’s tournament switches to an invitation-only field featuring passionate boat owners looking for a challenging and fun-filled event. This also means Christopher King, chairman and founder of the World Fishing Tour, will have the opportunity to welcome some of the top boats and offshore captains in the world.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to upgrade this year’s tournament beyond anything we've done in the past 10 years,” King said. “Everything from the venue to the menu has been redesigned to cater to the discriminating few who combine their love of fishing with the opportunity to help children in need.”

The 2012 event was a record breaking tournament with eventual winner, Team Sandman, releasing 34 sailfish and narrowly earning the title as it was the first boat to release its final fish.

The 2013 World Sailfish Championship will serve as a memorial to General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., who was the Championship’s co-founder and honorary chairman for six years before his passing on Dec. 27, 2012.

This year’s event will now feature four divisions, led by the Four-Star division, named in honor of Schwarzkopf’s standing as a four-star general. This division is considered the Open Division and will feature the professional sailfish teams competing in the tournament.

The Three-Star division is for non-professionals and only anglers who have not competed in more than three sailfish tournaments during the past 12 months or anglers who have not placed in the Top 3 in any sailfish tournaments in the past five years more than once. There will be a fun fish event added to this division, which will be open to all participants as well.

The Two-Star division will allow anglers to fish for their favorite charity and the One-Star division will recognize women and junior anglers.

“This year our focus is on the owner's experience. We want to make sure the owners and their guests have an incredible time in Key West,” King said.  “Bass Pro Shops, our presenting sponsor, along with the Westin Key West Resort and Marina, have gone over the top in supporting this event and ensuring that boat owners receive a world-class tournament experience.”

One of the hallmarks of the World Sailfish Championship is its history in giving to charities. Through its first 10 years, the Championship has donated close to $3 million for charity and has paid out $10 million in prize money.

In recognition of Schwarzkopf’s long-standing association with the tournament, the World Sailfish Championship will feature Camp Boggy Creek, Schwarzkopf’s own charity, as its main benefactor.

Camp Boggy Creek is a permanent year-round center offering young people with life-threatening illnesses a camping experience at no cost to their families. The entire cost of staffing and operating the camp, located on 232 acres of woodland in Eustis, Fla., is covered by contributions from individuals and collaborating organizations.

The tournament gets under way Wednesday, April 10 with the kickoff party at the Westin Key West Resort and Marina on the pier in front of the Bistro restaurant. Thursday and Friday will be tournament days, with Saturday serving as the lay day and featuring a Family Fun Fish event, with proceeds benefiting the Key West Rotary. The final fishing day will be Sunday, followed that night by the awards banquet and silent auction.

Any boat owner interested in receiving an invitation to fish in the World Sailfish Championship is asked to submit an inquiry to Sheri Richards at the World Fishing Tour by calling 404-787-3210 or email srichards@worldsailfish.com

For more information on the World Sailfish Championship, visit http://www.worldsailfish.com.

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