Like most people who got to know him, I always looked up—literally and figuratively—to Dave Patnaude, the president and one of the founders of the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club. Patnaude is 6’6” tall. I’m just a puny six-footer.
With the NJPPC, Dave Patnaude made life a whole lot more fun for go-fast powerboat owners in the Northeast. Photos by Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.
What would a piece on a character like Patnaude be without an opening tall-guy joke? For the vertically challenged, his height placed his substantial derrière at eye level, which prompted one of his petite female friends to dub him “High Ass.” The nickname stuck—and nobody got a bigger kick out of it than he did.
Yesterday, Patnaude announced he was stepping down as president of the 21-year-old club, which produced the once-epic Atlantic City Poker Run, and closing the organization.
Truth be told, it was time. Interest in the club and participation in its events had been fading for the past several years. Patnaude saw the seismic shift in the high-performance marine world to center consoles, sport catamarans and other product segments outside traditional go-fast boats and he tried to adapt his outfit to it—even going so far as to rename the organization the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club in a move toward inclusion—but it didn’t work. For whatever reason, the club’s time had passed.
Greater truth be told? Patnaude was burned out on organizing.
Dave Patnaude (shown here with his father, Ray) led the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club for more than 20 years.