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Longboat Key Run Delivers Fun Minus Much Sun

By Southwest Florida standards, today’s weather for the casual fun run around Longboat Key was nothing special. The sun stayed mostly hidden in the overcast sky and the temperatures barely scraped the mid 70s.

Ohio’s Justin and Johanna Beischel came all the way to Southwest Florida to catch some air on the final day of the year in their 36-foot Skater catamaran. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Then again, it was a whole lot warmer than what Justin and Johanna Beischel and their three teenage children left behind in Ohio.

“When we left Cincinnati, it was zero degrees in the garage,” said Justin Beischel, who hauled Short Circuit, his Skater Powerboats 368 catamaran, to the Sunshine State for the week. “When I hooked up the truck to the trailer, I told the kids, ‘We might not make it up the driveway.’ But we made it and went straight to Disneyworld for a couple of days.

“We parked the whole rig in the middle of the Disneyworld parking lot while we there,” he added, then chuckled.

For the Beischels, this is their second trip visiting the Sunshine State during the week leading up to New Year’s Eve and tomorrow’s Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run. Yesterday, the Beischels and company joined the fleet for a lunch run to St. Petersburg, Today, they joined 35 to 40 boats in their 36-footer for the traditional New Year’s Eve fun run and photo session around Longboat Key.

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Enjoy more images from today’s Around Longboat Key Fun Run in the slideshow above.

“When we went outside, it was a little sporty but the Skater 36 is a solid boat for sure,” Justin Beischel said. “It was great—we caught a little air and went cruising.”

Tomorrow, the family will tackle the relatively short, less-than-30-mile Gratton run from Sarasota to Bradenton to lunch at Caddy’s. So, too, will Gratton event organizer Ryan Beckley, who missed yesterday’s group trip to St. Petersburg with work obligations but joined his friend Greg DiRenzo on his DiRenzo’s restored Manta V-bottom raceboat for today’s run around Longboat Key.

According to Beckley, today’s trip around Longboat Key was the 28-footer’s maiden run since DiRenzo completed its restoration.

“It was a good time, a little bumpy and a little cloudy, but fun,” said Beckley, who along with DiRenzo and others stopped to grab lunch at the Bridge Tender Inn at Bradenton Beach.

Thanks to his friend Greg DiRenzo, Gratton run organizer Ryan Beckley enjoyed a classic ride in today’s outing.

Next up is tomorrow’s Gratton event. But before then, there is New Year’s Eve to get through. Like many of the folks in town for this week of boating, the Beischels will head to downtown Sarasota after grabbing dinner. Beckley and his family will stay a bit closer to home.

“We are having a get-together at our shop (Kinetic Animation in Bradenton),” he said. “Everyone is welcome, nothing crazy, just cocktails and boat talk.”

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