This time of year in Southwest Florida, air temperatures in the low 60s qualify as “brisk.” But those chilly conditions didn’t stop 53 hardy Fort Myers Offshore members and their guests from heading into the Gulf of Mexico—at least for one short leg of the trip from the Sanibel Island Bridge to Punta Gorda for last Saturday’s Turkey Run.
Though sporty conditions in the Gulf of Mexico didn’t detract from the success of the event, they were enough to convince captains in the fleet to head for the Intracoastal Waterway. Photo courtesy/copyright Fort Myers Offshore.
The post-holiday happening was the third event of the outfit’s 2021/2022 season. Saturday’s turnout upped the attendance record for the post-Thanksgiving happening, which saw 43 boats participate in 2020. The weekend started with an informal lunch run, which attracted 18 boats and approximately 75 people, on Friday to the calm waters of the Caloosahatchee River.
Conditions for the following day’s official lunch run were far more sporty, according to Fort Myers Offshore president Tim Hill, who was joined by his wife—and fellow Fort Myers Offshore board member—Cyndee.
“We had made this same trip on Thanksgiving day and the Gulf was as flat as an inland lake in Michigan—to the point that we looked at each other and said, ‘Key West?’” said Hill. “But while the winds had not increased considerably since Thanksgiving, the seas had changed and there were two-foot rollers that greeted us once we made the northerly turn around Sanibel Island.
Enjoy more images from last Saturday’s Fort Myers Offshore event in the slideshow above. Photos courtesy/copyright Duane C. Adams.
“That made it tricky if you were in the front of the pack, not knowing if you were going to clear the next roller or pancake on the face of it,” he continued. “And for the mid-pack runners, the rollers combined with the washboard from 30 boats ahead of them made conditions almost miserable.”
At the first pass, the fleet headed for the Intracoastal Waterway and finished the run to Punta Gorda in calm water for lunch at the Brewhouse Restaurant in Fishermen’s Village.
“As I told our members at lunch, ‘Everyone wants to run offshore until it’s time to run offshore,’” said Hill. “And they all agreed and laughed.”
The Brewhouse closed its dining room to all but Fort Myers Offshore members and their guests, which turned out to be a wise move as the restaurant had more than 275 people to feed. As the third designated fundraiser of the club’s 2021/2022 season, the event raised $15,000 for the Fort Myers Offshore scholarship fund through donations, a fifty-fifty raffle and apparel sales.
Said Hill, “Our members never cease to amaze me with their generosity and enthusiasm for powerboating in Southwest Florida.”
The 53-boat turnout broke the record for the annual post-Thanksgiving event. Photo courtesy/copyright Fort Myers Offshore.