The first two boats headed out of Cape Ann’s Marina Resort in the first inky moments of Friday morning, steaming out under the stars, hoping that the early-bird truism still held some juice.
By sunup, the other 43 tuna boats had joined them, making their way out with the sun in their eyes and visions of giant bluefin tuna — and the prize money it could bring — dancing in their heads.
And with that, the second Bluefin Blowout tuna fishing tournament was fully under way.
The tournament, which this year drew entries — at $1,050 a boat — from as close as the North Shore’s phalanx of seaside communities and as far away as Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine, will dominate the marina through Saturday night, when the new tuna tsar is crowned.
“It’s really gotten off to a great start,” said Drew Hall, one of the founders of the tournament along with his buddy Rob Bouley. “It will really get going (today) with our first brewfest, and we get closer to seeing who brings in what.”
Hall was administering to final details Friday just as the sun reached its zenith in the azure sky. The 25 sponsors’ banners were hung and the tournament’s merchandise apparel was being unpacked in the tournament tent. Vendors were setting up their tables.
All around him, the marina went about its usual business of selling fuel and servicing the recreational boats heading out for a day on the water. But the air around the marina carried something else beyond a hint of autumn on its way. It carried the whiff and buzz of an event. And the talk was of tuna, much like three years ago, when Hall and Bouley, sipping a couple of cold ones, first raised the possibility of resurrecting the tuna tournament that ran in Gloucester decades ago.