First-time events in the go-fast powerboating world always present the kinds of challenges that come with uncertainty and unfamiliarity and the anxiety they create among participants and organizers. That’s especially true for inaugural events in foreign countries. But none of that is dampening spirits of the owners of 30-plus powerboats heading to Bimini as part of the Chesapeake Bay Powerboat Association’s first weekend fun run to tiny Bahamian island paradise. The run is happening in conjunction with Offshore Powerboat Association’s inaugural Bimini World Resorts race on the same weekend, and several CBPA boats will serve as support vessels for the 20- to 30-raceboat fleet.
The CBPA members will be hauling their boats from Maryland, Virginia and other parts of the country to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a Thursday morning departure according to Jimmy Jernigan, who is on the club’s board of directors. They’ll run south to Miami to meet up with a few more vessels, then head to the island as a fleet. They’ll meet with the Bahamian Customs Agency after they arrive and check in at the Hilton Hotel at Bimini Resorts World. And then the fun will begin in earnest.
Starting Thursday, the Hilton Hotel at World Resorts Bimini (above) will be the weekend home for visiting members of the Chesapeake Bay Powerboat Association.
As committed to race-support duty as they are for the weekend, however, the CBPA members heading to Bimini have plenty of other plans.
“Everyone is super-excited about the event,” said Jernigan. “We will be hanging around the pool and plan to take a nice afternoon boat ride, maybe even have a raft-up, on Thursday. On Friday we plan on doing snorkel trips—feeding the stingrays—and making a lunch stop rafting up at ‘the Shipwreck.’ Then we will be heading back to the hotel to have happy hour dinner drinks by the pool and maybe play some casino slot machines.
“Saturday we will get up to help volunteer with the boat races get the races off with the pace boats,” he added. “Then we’ll raft up on the beach have some more drinks, then try to find some dolphins in the afternoon,” he added. “Also, we’re trying to get a helicopter to take some photos of the poker run boats.”
With the offshore races complete, Sunday will present more opportunities for exploration and relaxation for the CBPA crew in advance of Monday morning’s departure for Fort Lauderdale.
“Sunday, we will get up in the morning and eat breakfast, explore the island and have lunch somewhere on the boats, then raft-up again somewhere and have some cool drinks somewhere and get prepared to leave on Monday morning,” said Jernigan.
Editor’s Note: Look for coverage of CBPA Bimini Run/OPA World Resorts Bimini Race to start Thursday with images from speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden. Race coverage from speedonthewater.com contributing writer and veteran offshore racer Johnny Saris will begin Friday.