Spartan Powerboat Club organizer Del Flores expected 15 to 20 entries for yesterday’s fun/lunch/poker run—the newly formed organization’s first event—in Barnegat Bay, N.J., But to his pleasant surprise, the happening attracted an impressive 35 boats.
Mark Munro and company joined their fellow Garden State high-performance powerboat enthusiasts in the run with his Wright Performance 360 sport catamaran. Photos courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.
“Everything went perfect,” he said. “All of our captains were very respectful of the waterway and the other boats around them. I told everyone, ‘Look, we’re a new club. We have once chance for everyone to act like gentlemen. We can screw it up or do the right thing.’ And everyone did the right thing. I had a bunch of ladies and gentlemen on this run.”
The event was based out of Barnegat Bay Marina, which has been rebuilt since it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The fleet started at the marina and traveled approximately 20 miles to Joey Harrison’s River House restaurant for lunch before returning to its starting point.
The $50 entry fee per person enabled Flores to pay $1,000, $500 and $250 three for the top poker hands, as well as provide $200 gasoline gift for several participants. Flores also created award trophies in seven categories including “Best Engine Compartment” and “Best Old School Boat.”
“Everyone loved the trophies,” he said. “I also held back some money to donate to the Sloan Cancer Center, and the owner of the marina said he would match whatever we donate.”
A 46-year-old mechanical engineer who serves as the chief operating officer of his family’s manufacturing business, Flores started the club to create events for his Garden State go-fast boating community friends. (Flores said he tends to be the planner in his group.)
“I boat with a bunch of guys who are always looking to do events, but they always turn to me,” said Flores, who owns a Velocity 390 V-bottom called Leonidas and lives in Brick, N.J. “I promoted a lot of motorcycle shows—I did that for 10 years—with a lot of success, so I started the club.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from yesterday’s first Spartan Powerboat Club event.
“I call it the Spartan Powerboat Club because all my friends are these big, beefy muscle guys with big beefy boats,” he continued, then laughed. “What’s more beefy or badass than a Spartan?”
There is no cost to join the club, which soon will be launching a website. Flores, who said he tentatively plans to organize three holiday weekend events—Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day—in 2019, emphasized that he is not trying to compete with the New Jersey Powerboat Club, which has been focusing more on recreational powerboats and less on the high-performance segment for several years.
Barnegat Bay Marina has been fully restored since it was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“I don’t want to be of any consequence to (NJPBC president) Dave Patnaude or (Poker Runs America owner) Bill Taylor,” Flores said. “I’m a member of NJPBC—I try to do all of their events—and I’m not doing this to compete with them. I don’t think they should care or be threatened at all.”