The seventh event of the 2020/2021 Fort Myers Offshore season, today’s Burnt Store Lunch Run was supposed to happen yesterday. But with the Saturday forecast looking bleak throughout the week, club president Tim Hill put a one-day postponement up to a vote among the 43 members who had registered for the event. And in a nearly unanimous decision, they voted to move the event to today.
That provided some breathing room not just for Hill, his wife, Cyndee, and their fellow board members, but to the Cass Cay Restaurant, the event’s lunch venue. The restaurant’s management was rightly concerned about ordering food for a mostly outdoor event that could easily be scrubbed without notice by bad weather, which was predicted to be on the way.
For the organizers, the primary concern surrounded club members from the Northeast and Midwest who had booked flights for the week or who were already in town for the run. Pushing back the event a week or so was not a viable option.
As the weekend approached, Saturday’s forecast began—almost predictably—to improve. But wet weather eventually arrived.
“It didn’t rain till 2 p.m on Saturday, but then it poured till 7 p.m.,” said Hill. “That would have made for a miserable ride home.
“Several members told me, ‘Thank you for making the right call,” he added.
When the weather cleared, however, the Northeastern breeze freshened. By mid-morning today, the winds were blowing a steady 15 to 20 mph. That didn’t matter for the Intracoastal Waterway leg of the run, which began at the Sanibel Island Bridge, but it made for sporty two- to four-footers for approximately 20 miles of unprotected water on the final leg to Burnt Store Marina.
“That was 20 miles of waves in their faces,” said Hill. “And we heard everything from two feet to eight feet.”
Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images from today’s Fort Myers Offshore event.
Though 43 boats were registered for the run, 23 actually made it to the Burnt Store docks. At least eight members came by motorcycle and an even larger group arrived via five automobiles. That translated to 160 club members for lunch, which Hill said wasn’t much different than it would had everyone come by boat.
Today’s event was the first of the 2020/2021 Fort Myers Offshore season that didn’t set an attendance record. Though the organizers would have preferred to extend the streak, they were grateful to have been able to pull it off.
That was particularly true for Hill, who woke up this morning frozen with back pain.
“I told Cyndee, ‘You’ve got to take over for me’ and she stepped right up with no problem,” he said. “She told me I wasn’t getting out of the house. I had to beg her to drive me to the lunch venue.
“She ran the show today,” he added.
With the Hills and their Sunsation 32 CCX center console out of the question as a paceboat for the helicopter photo shoot with speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden, club member Nick Amelio stepped up to tackle the roll in Bad Company, his Nor-Tech 40 Roadster catamaran.
The event was not a designated fundraiser for club, though like all Fort Myers Offshore happenings the Burnt Store luncheon included a 50-50 raffle. Longtime club member and all-around bon vivant Lori Lemanske took home $710 of the proceeds—the other $710 went to the club scholarship fund.
The final currently scheduled event on the Fort Myers Offshore 2020/2021 roster, the Cayo Costa Beach Raft-Up and Barbecue is set for April 3.
Conditions during the final leg of today’s lunch led to more than a few boats leaving the water.