Last Friday’s Atlantic City Poker Run hosted by the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club (NJPPC) was—by all accounts—a hit with the folks on the 37 boats that participated in the event. Included in the “hits,” however, were bolts of lightning striking the water and hail pounding the balance of the fleet before it reached the docks at the new Golden Nugget Resort and Casino, the run’s final destination and host venue.
“I have been boating my entire life, and it was the worst storm I have ever seen—40-plus-mph gusts, hail, lightning everywhere,” said Dave Patnaude, the president of the NJPPC. “But we were all stuck in it, so all we could do was slow down and keep going.”
“We saw the storm coming at the second card stop and decided to bail out and head straight for the resort,” said Bob Christie, the owner and throttleman for the 44-foot Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran Speed Racer. “People who were out in it told me they could actually feel the electricity through their throttles and steering wheels.”
Leading the fleet that ended up in the thick of the wild weather was Dr. Gabe Jasper in his new 43-foot Frisini catamaran, Pain Killer.
“We started coming out of the storm and picked up a heading, then took it up to 105 mph and cruised all the way to docks at that speed,” Jasper said. “We were completely clear of the storm and into the sunlight in about a mile and a half after we ran it up to 105, and except for Speed Racer, which left early to get there, we were the first boat back to docks.
“The boat ran great, all the way,” he added.
Despite a rain delay, the traditional post-run dock party still happened between squalls, though thanks to the weather-abbreviated schedule, there was enough food and drink remaining for the party to reconvene after the fun run the following afternoon.