The talented team aboard the Riviera 56 Enclosed Flybridge The Battler has secured the Riviera Port Lincoln Tuna Classic’s overall Champion Boat honours for the third consecutive year.
For the second year in a row, the Champion Female angler out-fished the men to also claim the Overall Champion Angler title, with Susan Czabayski notching up 32 prized southern bluefin tuna across the two tournament days.
Tuna Classic founder Peter Teakle said a total of 22 boats entered for what was the richest-ever offshore fishing tournament in South Australian waters, with over $16,000 in trophies and a $7000 fishing adventure up for grabs.
A total of 380 eligible fish were caught and released back into the South Australian waters.
RIVIERA PORT LINCOLN TUNA CLASSIC
2016 HONOUR BOARD
Overall Champion: The Battler – 66 fish
Runner-Up: Spartacus – 50 fish
Champion Trailer Boat
Overall Champion: In The Red – 34 fish
Runner-Up: Liquid Asset – 10 fish
Champion Male Angler
Overall Champion: Tim Cook, The Battler – 27 fish
Runner-Up: Scott Cumming, The Battler – 16 fish
Champion Female Angler
Overall Champion: Susan Czabayski, Spartacus – 32 fish
Runner-Up: Gabriella Gabanna, Majessnik – 23 fish
Overall Champion Angler
Susan Czabayski, Spartacus – 32 fish
Overall Champion: Brett Wheeler, Jazz II – 15.4kg
Runner-Up: Mark Dansie, In The Red – 15.2kg
“One of the highlights of this tournament has to be the camaraderie amongst all the competitors,” said Mr Teakle. “It’s very competitive – there are some very good fishermen here in South Australia, and some very talented lady anglers too.
“It’s fantastic that all boats caught fish, despite some very challenging conditions – in fact at one stage the Southern Ocean swell was 5.5 metres … and there were some very, very big breakers.”
The Champion boat, The Battler, is a luxurious Riviera yacht powered by twin MTU 1500 v10 engines and reputedly one of the fastest Rivieras ever built – she made for an awe-inspiring sight from the traditional shotgun start and race to Memory Cove for the start of the fishing action.
“She’s certainly got soul that boat,” said Mr Teakle. “She can do up to 38 knots and the 2016 Tuna Classic is another chapter in her very interesting story.”
For the past two years, The Battler has been skippered in the Tuna Classic by legendary offshore skipper Captain Bob Jones. However, this year 2015’s Champion Male Angler Adrian Bothur was at the helm, helping 2014 winner and fellow The Battler crewman Tim Cook to register 27 fish and reclaim the keenly contested title.
Mr Bothur – who worked at Riviera in dealer relations when The Battler was built – paid credit to the entire 2016 team, which also included Champion Male runner-up Scott Cumming, Josh Greenlekle and deckhand Matt Calder, collectively reeling in 66 fish on the competition’s regulatory 10-kilogram line across the two days.
“The swell was a bit ‘gnarly’ to say the least – I just wish I had my surfboard with me,” said Mr Bothur.
“The win really was a team effort and Matt and I worked really well together – we just seem to be in sync.”
For the Czabayski family – Ralph, Susan, 20-year-old daughter Alex and sons Sam (16) and Harry (5) – the Tuna Classic is an annual institution and much-loved family get-together.
In fact family patriarch Rolf is a founding member of the Tuna Classic and his outstanding contribution over the tournament’s 10 successful years was acknowledged on Sunday night with a special southern bluefin tuna trophy.
With Rolf’s son Ralph at the helm, the 55 Viking Spartacus secured Runner-Up Champion Boat, with Susan saying she was humbled by her multiple trophies.
“There are some very famous and very experienced female anglers in South Australia who love to compete in the Tuna Classic so, for me, to win Champion Female is a major achievement, let alone the Overall Champion trophy.
“It’s especially great for us to compete as a family – we all look forward to it every year, even five-year-old Harry who I have to say is a very promising up and coming prospect. When we collected our trophies on Sunday night he was very proud to give a wink and the thumbs up.”
The Champion Trailer Boat title was taken out by In The Red, a one-of-a-kind 28-footer built and skippered by Mark Dansie. “We had a great time even in the trying conditions and it was my first time at The Cabbage Patch, which was ‘interesting’ with the big breakers – but it is was exciting … on Day Two the tuna were on and so was the jostling for prime position!”
R Marine South Australia’s dealer principal Paul Harrop said the Riviera-sponsored Tuna Classic was a terrific follow-up to the immensely popular Port Lincoln Easter Experience the previous week.
“We had a total of Riviera 34 yachts registered for the R Marine South Australia Easter Experience,” said Mr Harrop, who heads up the 2015 Riviera Dealership of the Year.
“Many owners cruised with us across to Port Lincoln with other members of our South Australian family of Riviera owners, and then stayed on for the Classic,” he said.
Riviera’s general manager Scott Cumming – who at his first competitive tournament hauled in 16 fish – said the Tuna Classic is a really fun way for both seasoned and amateur sports fishing enthusiasts to come together to learn from each other.
“Riviera is proud of its longstanding partnership with Peter Teakle and the Tuna Classic and it is gratifying to see people new to boating take up such a keen interest in fishing,” he said.
“We really must commend Peter on his great enthusiasm and passion to ensure the event is nothing but the best offshore fishing tournament in Australia.
“Riviera has a long-held philosophy of bringing families together to make memories to treasure and this is reflected in this fantastic fishing tournament, through our Experience blue-water cruising events and also through our annual Riviera Festival of Boating which will be held at the home of Riviera, at Coomera on the Gold Coast 21-24 May 2015.
“I’d like to extend an invitation to all owners of luxury motor yachts to come and see how the Festival is helping people gain the confidence and skills to use their boats to their full potential.
“This commitment is all about helping owners of luxury motor yachts to achieve what Riviera likes to call: ‘the ultimate boating experience’.”