For those of you sitting at home envious of your friends who decided they weren’t going to let weather threats or COVID-19 precautions prevent them from attending the 28th annual Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run, all we can do is say sorry.
Nor-Tech’s beautiful new 460 Flyer powered by quad Mercury Racing 450R engines is one of the most unique boats in this year’s Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Well we can also share four boat-type-specific galleries that speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden captured on Thursday afternoon while flying the course in the club’s official media helicopter. Why boat-type galleries? Because there was an incredible mix of new and old catamarans, V-bottoms and center consoles in a variety of styles, sizes and colors with sterndrive and outboard power packages.
From our observations, in fact, the 150-plus boats registered for the run comprised one of the most diverse groups we’ve ever seen at the event. There were outboard-powered catamarans from MTI, Mystic Powerboats, Skater Powerboats, Wright Performance Powerboats and more, and there were offshore catamarans with sterndrive power from DCB Performance Boats, MTI, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats and Skater Powerboats.
Most of the outboard-powered catamarans in the Key West Poker Run were powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R engines, including models from MTI, Mystic Powerboats and Wright Performance Powerboats that were delivered just in time for the event.
As has been the case over the past several years, the performance center console fleet continues to grow. So does the size of the boats and the number of engines mounted on the back. The category leaders, including Cigarette Racing Team, Deep Impact, MTI, Mystic, Nor-Tech, Statement Marine, were extremely well represented and the team at Renegade Powerboats had a solid showing with a couple of newly delivered boats.
Several high-performance catamarans made the trip from Miami to Key West on Thursday.
Not to be outdone, the offshore V-bottom participants were aplenty, including the Project 1080 Cigarette 38 Top Gun owned by FPC president Stu Jones. There were a dozen other Cigarette V-bottoms registered, which was the most in the performance V-bottom class. Add in models from Apache Powerboats, Black Thunder Offshore, Donzi Marine, Fountain Powerboats, Nor-Tech, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats and Statement Marine, and the V-bottom participation was as strong as ever.
Besides all of the incredible boats—some of which included Alex Pratt’s Good Boy Vodka MTI, David and Leann Branton’s six-engine Cigarette 59 Tirranna AMG Edition, the all-new Nor-Tech 460 Flyer and Mark and Eileen Fischer’s 118-foot Ocean Alexander motor yacht dubbed Eileen’s Way—the most positive part of the Key West Poker Run is that the event is happening as close to normal as possible.
The offshore V-bottoms on hand for the poker run were very impressive.
Yes the poker run village was nixed this year and yes there were some venue limitations to overcome, but the participants who made the trek from Miami to Key West on either Wednesday or Thursday have had a blast. Of course those who opted for day two of the run enjoyed better weather, which made the entire 170-mile run doable, whereas a majority of the participants who left Wednesday ended top staying in Marathon at Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club because the conditions for the final 50 miles of the trip were less than favorable.
The center console fleet at the Key West Poker Run continues to grow each year.
There is more on tap today and tomorrow as the club has fun runs and video shoots scheduled for both Friday and Saturday. And, as usual, the evening shows are taking place at the sponsor docks in front of the Conch Republic Seafood Company. On Saturday night, Jones plans to hand out prizes to the top three poker hands and the top three manufacturing sponsors as well as more than 25 President’s Choice Awards.
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