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Fort Myers Offshore Saves The Best For Last With Season Finale

For Fort Myers Offshore president Tim Hill, the 2022/2023 event season was not necessarily one he’d care to repeat. The nonprofit, scholarship-fundraising powerboat club faced challenges just securing enough dock space for its fall 2022 happenings, a pandemic-fueled by-product of the ongoing migration to Southwest Florida and the boating boom that came with it. And then came Hurricane Ian in late September, which devastated coastal areas in the area.

Though stern-drive V-bottom sportboats are fewer and farther between at Fort Myers Offshore events than they once were, several remain the mix. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

All of which made for an event organizer’s nightmare.

“This season was a challenge,” said Hill. “After having to cancel our first two runs following Hurricane Ian because of unsafe waterways and damage to our hosts destinations, we were able to get the season kicked off with our New Year’s Holiday run To Village Brew House at Fisherman’s village in Punta Gorda.

The Fisherman’s Village venue was particularly essential for Fort Myers Offshore this season.

“It was only fitting that we ended our season yesterday at Fisherman’s Village and LaVista Tacos and Tequila, the soon-open-to-the public sister restaurant to the Village Brewhouse, which is very popular with our club members,” he added.  

Not coincidentally, the 46-boat Fort Myers Offshore season-ending run from Sanibel Island to Charlotte Harbour coincided with the annual Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats dealer meeting this week at the Westin Cape Coral Hotel and Resort. Yesterday’s run was driven in part by Henrik Margård, the chief operating officer of the Fort Myers-based company, who reached out to Hill asked if the club could plan a run to coincide with the end of the meeting.

Not all Fort Myers Offshore members run new outboard-engine-powered center consoles and catamarans.

Hill and company were more than happy oblige, especially given that Nor-Tech kicked off the run with a $5,000 donation for the Fort Myers Offshore scholarship program.

“My wife, Cyndee, who’s also a board member, told Henrik, ‘Don’t tempt us with a good time’ and we were off to planning.”

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The event attracted more than 200 delighted participants.

That was music was music to the ears to the Nor-Tech people, who knew most of their dealers would still be in town after the formal meeting was finished. Following Nor-Tech’s formal meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, the group enjoyed a Friday trek to Cabbage Key with 20-something Nor-Tech models in the mix.

Nor-Tech, in turn, stepped up to be the. presenting sponsor for yesterday’s outing. Plus, having Nor-Tech dealers participate in yesterday’s run proved to be a fundraising boon during the lunch stop.

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With flat water, mostly blue skies and temperatures in the mid-80s, conditions were ideal for the final Fort Myers Offshore event until next fall.

“Peter Robert’s from Double R Performance challenged all the other Nor-Tech  dealers to match the $5,000 donation we made and everyone stepped up to the plate and agreed to participate,” said Trond Schou, the company’s founder and chief executive officer. “So Fort Myers Offshore will receive another $5,000 from the Nor-Tech family, making the total for yesterday $10,000 from Nor-Tech.

“We are honored to be included and we were delighted when they offered us the presenting sponsorship title for their season finale,” he continued. “We stand behind FMO’s mission and plan on continuing to support the program for years to come—it’s a wonderful partnership and we look forward to many more events together.”

The event was a true win-win for Fort Myers Offshore and Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats.

Between those donations as well as donations from Fort Myers Offshore and proceeds from the 50/50 raffle, club raised $15,000 yesterday for its scholarship initiatives.

“Cyndee, all of the other members of the Fort Myers Offshore board are happy to have been able to pull of this season despite significant challenges,” said Hill. “We’re looking forward to getting back to some normalcy next year.”

Like the other Fort Myers Offshore members who enjoyed yesterday’s lunch, Alfreda and Glenn Vandegrift ended the 2022/2023 event season on a high note.

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