There are days I could live on the west coast of Florida. Of course, none of them are between late May and early October when it’s hot, sticky and, frankly, disgusting to my native Californian sensibilities. Still, for a diehard California guy, that’s a big admission.
If I lived in Sarasota, Fla., for example, I know exactly what I’d be doing on New Year’s Day in 2010—heading out with offshore racer Ryan Beckley, founder of a graphics company called Kinetic Animation, and 75 or so of his closest friends for a 20-something-mile “fun run” from the Sarasota Hyatt basin to the Casey Key Fish House for a barbecue. About 25 vessels, from dedicated race boats to high-performance pleasure boats, will make the run this year.
“There’s not really much organization to it,” said Beckley, who is running his race boat in the event, during a telephone interview this afternoon. “I think it started about five or six years ago. Somebody said,‘What are you doing New Year’s Day?’ Someone else said, “I’m going boating,’ and someone else said, “Let’s go.”
The fleet, said Beckley, consists of race and pleasure boats primarily from the Tampa-St. Pete, Sarasota and Fort Myers areas. Participating boats will include the former Pier 57 and Muscle racers, as well as several go-fast pleasure boats.
“We get everything from a 50-foot Hustler to a 20-foot Talon,” said Beckley.
But not all the boats and their owners are local. Two boats from Michigan, a 24 Pantera and 30 Scarab are participating.
“It depends on the weather if we’ll run inside (on the IntraCoastal Waterway) or outside (in the Gulf of Mexico), but good weather, crappy weather, everybody comes,” said Beckley. “We get boats in all shapes and sizes. It’s pretty cool—and it’s really fun.”
If only it were closer. Guess I’m stuck watching bowl games. It could be worse. It could be snowing.