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Skiff Challenge Kicks Off Today

Spring Tide Media photo

Spring Tide Media photo

The Florida Skiff Challenge begins today with a siren start at Flora-Bama Ole River Grill in Pensacola.

Six builders will put their 18-foot skiffs and teams through a grueling 1,300-mile circumnavigation of the Florida peninsula in near-shore waters, Captains for Clean Water said in a statement yesterday.

“What began as a head-to-head battle for bragging rights has evolved into a daring feat to help shine a spotlight on Florida’s water crisis by those who’ve been directly affected by it: boat manufacturers,” the statement said.

Each five-person team includes two skiff operators and three land-based support crew. Teams preplot their pit stops for fuel, food and repairs. The boats are powered by up to a 70-hp outboard and can carry up to 22 gallons of fuel.

Yellowfin’s Heath Daughtry, a two-time Challenge winner, was the first guy to run a flats boat around Florida “just to see if we could do it.” Spring Tide Media photo

Yellowfin’s Heath Daughtry, a two-time Challenge winner, was the first guy to run a flats boat around Florida “just to see if we could do it.” Spring Tide Media photo

In a separate statement, Suzuki Marine announced that four boats in the race are powered with Suzuki outboards.

“Suzuki is proud to be powering four of the six boats in this race, and equally proud to be associated with such an important cause,” executive vice president of sales and service Gus Blakely said in the statement. “As a Florida-based company, Suzuki Marine is working with organizations like Captains For Clean Water, who focus their energy on the many challenges our state’s aquatic resources face every day.”

At 44 hours and four minutes, Team Hell’s Bay was first to the finish line in Fernandina Beach last year, taking the win for the third time.

Click here for a feature about last year’s Skiff Challenge, which was published in Anglers Journal, a sister magazine to Soundings Trade Only.

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