Tim Hill, the president of Fort Myers Offshore in Southwest Florida, had a pretty good hunch that yesterday’s Turkey Run from the Sanibel Island Bridge to Punta Gorda for lunch would be a hit. That’s because Friday’s casual, impromptu lunch run to Deep Lagoon in Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River pulled 31 boats and 120 guests.
“I was expecting eight to 10 boats and maybe 40 people,” said Hill. “Even the FMO attendees were shocked by the turnout.
Running a 42-foot Cigarette, Will, Bill and Patience Forenski were part of yesterday’s record-setting Fort Myers Offshore group. Photo courtesy Bill Forenski copyright speedonthewater.com.
“The restaurant staff was blown away by the impressive amount of hardware, rafted from one side of the basin to the other two rows deep,” he continued. “The restaurant staff didn’t skip a beat and would like us to put on this show every month.”
But while Hill and company weren’t surprised that the 14th annual FMO Turkey Run attracted an event-record-setting 44 boats and raised $14,000 for the club’s college and technical/trade school scholarship fund, they were grateful to see it. The well-mixed fleet included high-performance catamarans, center consoles and V-bottom sportboats. There was even a raceboat—Mark Robins’ Class 4 MSR Motorsports Phantom V-bottom—in the mix.
Attrition caused by mechanical issues, not uncommon in the go-fast boating world, wasn’t light during the event. It was nonexistent.
Friday’s spontaneous lunch run to Deep Lagoon on the Caloosahatchee River foreshadowed the success of yesterday’s Fort Myers Offshore event. Photo courtesy Bill Forenski copyright speedonthewater.com.
“I walked the docks and counted 44 boats that made it to lunch,” said Hill. “The lack of attrition could have been in part to the absolutely perfect weather conditions which provide us waters as good as it gets.”
With an entry fee of $100 per boat, the Turkey Run was one of two designated fundraising events for the 2020/2021 FMO season. The organization raised additional monies through a 50/50 raffle, apparel sales led by board member Cyndee Hill and though additional captain and club member donations.
An impressive mix of catamarans, V-bottom sportboats and center consoles comprised the 44-boat fleet. Photos by Cindi Hill copyright Fort Myers Offshore.
“Knowing that we had a record amount of boats for this run several members wanted to also make sure it was a record fundraiser for a single-day FMO event—and that they did,” said Tim Hill. “Every single dime that we raise through FMO goes to our scholarship fund. I had just received the thank-you letters from our 2020 scholarship recipients and read some of the excerpts from them to our members at lunch. The thank-you letters from the 2020 scholarship recipients will be going out to all of our paid members and sponsors along with the club financials next week.”
“The FMO board of directors challenged the participants yesterday to match the charitable donations that the captains had paid for the run, and it was a tremendous success for the scholarship fund,” he continued. “It also helped having board member Amanda Gardner and club member Lori Lemanske soliciting donations from the full house of FMO attendees, including 14-year-old John Teleska who opened his wallet and donated $20.”
Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images from the 2020 Fort Myers Offshore Turkey Run. Photos courtesy Bill Forenski.
Next up on the Fort Myers Offshore schedule is its January 2 lunch run to C.J.’s On The Bay on Marco Island. The event is the second and final designated fundraiser of the club’s 2020/2021 season.