Rebounding from its reduced turnout in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, last weekend’s ninth annual Arendal Poker Run in Norway featured a fantastic, almost-COVID-19 restriction-free event for the 71 participating boats and 400 people in attendance. According to Nicolay Rylander, one of the helpful volunteers behind the popular event that takes place at Arendal Harbour and is organized by the Neptun PowerBoatClub, which is led by club president Rune Høgevoll, the weather was great and the enthusiasm from those involved was as strong as ever.
A rather large and enthusiastic crew in a recently updated Nor-Tech 5000V had a blast during the Arendal Poker Run. Photos courtesy Bjørn Øyvind Hoff/Arendal Poker Run
Rylander said the weekend started as usual on Friday evening with the boats and participants gathering for a much-needed powerboat “come together” again at Arendal Harbour, which is located in what’s known as the Pollen area.
“The special, high-octane, event-labeled beer was flowing around in the afternoon hours with music, smiles and great atmosphere at the docks,” Rylander said. “Even though there were boats from Cigarette, Nor-Tech, Predator, Formula, Fountain and more, this year the eye-catcher was a “brand new” 1967 Magnum (below) with four original 1967 Kiekhaefer Mercury 125-hp out-of-the-box new engines. Named Honey Bare with a big Kiekhaefer Mercury sticker on the side, the boat had people wondering whether it was too nice to be in the water. Of course not—the owner was running it around at 70 mph all day long.”
Rylander explained that the Magnum was built in Sweden by powerboating enthusiast, Jørgen Lunden, who sold it to well-known Norwegian powerboater Dag Rudstrømm a couple of months ago. He said the Sweed used countless hours to get the boat as perfect and authentic as possible and that the new owner describes it as “the perfect combo of authentic Mercury engines from 1967 and a stunning brand new Magnum boat.” Rudstrømm, who is otherwise known as “Mr. Mercury” in Norway, has an impressive amount of new and vintage Mercury engines. So much so that Rylander thinks he could create a museum if we felt like it.
But back to the poker run. Rylander said that there was a lot of excitement at the dock on Saturday morning.
“The Pollen area was packed with boats for the largest event so far organized by Neptun Powerboatclub,” he said. “The sun was shining and the boats were driving out of the harbour heading for the ocean. The event route had a mixture of inshore and offshore conditions that provided a great mix of high speed and cruising around the stunning archipelago. The lunch was enjoyed this year at the Risør harbour, which is around 50 nautical miles from Arendal, with live music in great surroundings. After a couple of hours it was back on the water again for the last leg back to the Pollen area for the party. With some large swells, the boats enjoyed a little airtime, giving the film crew wonderful pictures of the flying boats.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the 2021 Arendal Poker Run.
“Safely back in the Pollen area, the party finally kicked off with a live DJ at the docks and a drummer and a saxophonist running around on the boats in the afternoon sun playing and creating a fantastic atmosphere,” he continued. “The harbor was electric for the best Arendal Poker Run so far.”
Rylander didn’t miss a chance to plug the event and its upcoming anniversary either.
“Does the Arendal Poker Run sound like something you’d want to participate in?” he asked. “Next year the organizers have promised something special for the 10-year anniversary of the run, so come join us!”