Featuring easily its most impressive gathering of powerboats to date with a record-setting 51 boats registered, the sixth annual Catalina Fun Run went off almost perfectly last Saturday. Boats of all ages, shapes and sizes made the 30-mile trek across the Pacific Ocean from Newport Beach, Calif., to Catalina’s Avalon Harbor and roughly two-thirds of the boats stayed overnight on the scenic island.
A wide assortment of performance boats made the run from Newport Beach to Catalina Island on Saturday during the sixth annual Catalina Fun Run. Photo courtesy Daren Van Ryte/OC Photographics
The only blemish on what was a fun, communal event with pretty boating-friendly weather for the mighty Pacific was relatively minor. On the morning of the start with boats gathered in the harbor to make the run, the event’s primary photographers, Erick Bryner of Fast Loud Photography and Daren Van Ryte of OC Photographics, were unable to get up in the air as the helicopter was grounded due to low-visibility from a heavy marine layer. Gone were the “money shots” they were expecting, but the veteran cameramen hustled back to the harbor in time to catch a ride in primary event organizer Corey Vodvarka’s Eliminator Boats Eagle V-bottom. And, as you’ll see from the slideshow below, they made the best of the situation.
“Daren and I scrambled from the airport to get to the peninsula and hopped on Corey’s boat at the last second,” said Bryner, who helps Vodvarka organize the event. “Thankfully Corey and most of the fleet were willing to wait for us so we were able to get some running shots. Luckily that didn’t dampen the mood, at least that we could tell.
“Once we got across, the vibe on the island was amazing,” he continued. “Descanso Beach Club had a DJ pumping some good club tunes and the sun eventually pierced through the marine layer for beautiful sunny day. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. The next day, a large group of us ran back to Newport where we took over the docks at Woody’s Wharf for brunch and cocktails. It was a really fun end to an amazing weekend.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the fun run to Catalina Island and back. Photos courtesy Erick Bryner, Tony Chiaramonte, Scott Shanklin and Daren Van Ryte
Tony Chiaramonte of DCB Performance Boats, the event’s platinum sponsor, had a great time doing the run in Kris and Shelby Hansen’s M37R Widebody powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R engines—the El Cajon, Calif., company’s very first 37-foot true-tunnel catamaran. Chiaramonte said he ran the 37-footer to Catalina with Kai and Kenna Hansen—Kris and Shelby opted to come over to the island later in a helicopter and run back with Chiaramonte and their kids on Sunday morning—and that the boat was a lot of fun to drive in the ocean.
“Tony definitely had a good time, and damn did that M37R run amazing out there,” said Vodvarka said. “It’s a legit ocean boat. Once we got to the island, the weather was perfect and we had boats make some hot laps in front of Avalon Harbor. Overall, it was an incredible event.”
Nevada’s Shawn Moe, who owns an MTI 390X with twin Mercury Racing 450R engines and has never run any of his boats in the Pacific Ocean, agreed with Vodvarka.
“That was a really fun trip,” said Moe, who was joined by his wife, Sieglinde, daughter, Saylor, and friends, Brett and Sharon Spraggins, Taylor Scism, and Brent and Lacy Rothweiler and their daughter, Teagan. “That was the first I’ve been over there. I’d absolutely go again. We already have a few friends who said they are coming with us next time.”
Moe, who said he stayed at the Glenmore Plaza Hotel, wasn’t the only boater with an MTI in the fleet. Chris Sticha, who owns Moe’s former 340X cat, did the event along with Austin Carver in his new MTI-V 42 with five Mercury Racing 450R engines and Bryan Houtchens, who ran his 42 MTI with twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines with his friend, John Teague, on the throttles.
Joining the fun in their own outboard-powered cat, Rick and Melissa Dickerson did the run in their 28-footer from Nordic Boats with twin Mercury Racing 400R engines. Along with a bright red Commander cat and a bright orange Statement center console, there also were several cool offshore V-bottoms from the likes of Fountain Powerboats, Nordic, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats and Scarab n the mix.