Gone from the Florida Powerboat Club event roster for more than a decade, the organization’s Spring Key West Poker Run (March 19-22) is still moving forward despite widespread event cancelations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Stu Jones, the head of the Pompano Beach, Fla.-based poker-run outfit, said that 20 boats currently are registered for this weekend’s trek to the city at the end of the road.
Barring any changes mandated this week, the Florida Powerboat Club fleet, including this DCB M33R catamaran owned by Scott and Monica James, is heading to Key West on Thursday. Photo by Tom Leigh/Tommy Gun Images.
“The coronavirus travel ban on European countries forced one cancellation for Karsten Melcher of Team Germany with its 38 Donzi to withdraw, while three other United States teams have cancelled due to travel concerns,” Jones said. ”Meanwhile, three other teams have just registered in recent days, to offset the cancellations, keeping the roster at about 18 teams and 75 participants.
“While these numbers pale in comparison to our popular November event, they suit our objectives,” he continued. “We have planned various outings that can only be conducted with a smaller group, including a 150-mile day-trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park for a tour of historic Fort Jefferson.”
The Florida Powerboat Club will “remain prudent and exercise cautionary steps with event procedures that follow Center for Disease Control guidelines,” according to Jones. The FPC founder said his organization also is working closely with event hotel management and restaurant service providers to “ensure that the highest standards are maintained.”
The fleet will include a DCB Performance Boats M33R, a Mystic Powerboats M3800 catamaran, the FJ Propeller-dubbed Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console, a Sunsation Boats 40 CCX and a Deep Impact Custom Boats 399 Sport center console. All will be displayed at the Conch Republic Seafood company docks in Key West.
“There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there about the Coronavirus scare, and we cannot deny the harsh reality of this pandemic and the new measures we must all take to deal with the threat of its potential spread,” Jones said. “That said, those of us who choose to keep on with their lives, can do so with limited threat as long as we are cautious and follow the CDC guidelines. Florida Powerboat Club will continue to operate as long as government officials do not initiate further travel bans.”