The fifth happening of the 2019/2020 Fort Myers Offshore season, yesterday’s Naples Hyatt Fun attracted an event record-setting 34 boats and 150 members. Though at just 30 miles each way the run was relatively short, Tim Hill, the president of the Southwest Florida, nonprofit scholarship fundraising outfit, said the day dished out a variety of conditions for the group.
Yesterday’s Fort Myers Offshore event drew a healthy mix of V-bottom sportboats such as this Nor-Tech 360 Monte Carlo Flyer, high-performance catamarans and center consoles (click image to enlarge). Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“The day started out a little chilly and overcast, but the clouds parted to give us full sunshine on what some would consider a cool Florida day of 75 degrees,” said Hill, who tacked the run in his Sunsation 32 CCX center console with his wife, Cyndee. “Former FMO president Eric Belisle’s nephew, Logan, joined his uncle aboard a newly delivered 42-foot MTI center console and was our honorary starter for the event with John pacing the field as we headed south.”
Though there wasn’t enough dockage at the Naples Hyatt for all the boats, the FMO members “made the best of it,” according to Hill, and rafted off efficiently. And then the party started in earnest.
The group even had its own poolside D.J.
“Once the party moved from the docks to the poolside patio the group was entertained by FMO board member and Naples Hyatt event organizer Troy Schirk, who took on D.J. duties,” said Hill. “Members enjoyed lunch poolside with some of our Northern members taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine to try to get their summer tans back.
“We had several new members join us on the run including Dale and Yvonne Spahr in their 34-foot Nor-Tech just purchased through club member Joe Sabo, as well as Mark and Dana St John in their new 39-foot Nor-Tech,” he added. “Board member Cyndee Hill was busy as usual selling Fort Myers Offshore apparel with many new ‘blingy’ women’s items. Our 50/50 raffle raised $940, and the winning ticket was drawn by our honorary starter Logan Belisle, who won $470 prize.”
Fort Myers Offshore members experienced variable sea conditions during yesterday’s event.
The return trip plan involved sending Speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden to the Naples Pier to shoot individual boats in the fleet as they passed. But the seas had kicked up from three to five feet, Hill said, and they were particularly steep closer to the shore.
“Most captains looked for the cleanest, smoothest line back,” said Hill. “And that didn’t necessarily mean hugging the pier for a photo opp.”