Back for the second consecutive year after a four-year hiatus, yesterday’s New York City Poker Run attracted 17 high-performance catamarans and V-bottoms according to organizer Billy Frenz of the National Power Boat Association. While the boat count was down substantially from the 34-foot boat fleet the event enjoyed in 2013—and a completely different run from the 190-plus boat happening it was during its heyday in 1998—Frenz remained upbeat and plans to bring it back again next year.
“The weather killed us—it rained and stormed all week long,” said Frenz, then laughed. “But the strong and mighty played, and nobody got hurt.”
The 75-mile run on the Hudson River attracted participants from as far away as Cape Cod, Mass., but also brought in entrants from Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. It began at the Statue of Liberty and went as far north as Peeskill, N.Y., before heading back and stopping for lunch in nearby Haverstraw and then returning to Liberty Landing.
“The Coast Guard boat and the New Jersey State Police boat jumped in, but they did not fill out the proper paperwork or pay so I threw them out of the running when I dropped the green flag,” said Frenz. “The Coast Guard and State Police boats did pretty well to about 45 mph, but then they couldn’t hang. My Marlago 35-foot center console paceboat with twin 250-hp Mercury outboards does 55 mph, so I was happy to wave good-bye to them—but I had to trim her out to get there. We all had a good laugh.
“The next chuckle came because we’d had to notify the construction manager and Homeland Security, which guards the Tappan Zee Bridge Project, just prior to the start,” he continued. “They gave us four pages of rules to abide by and they told us they were going to halt production as we went under the bridge. They confessed that they really wanted to see the speedboats close up. A little later when we were going by the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant just south of Peekskill, I was pleased to see that all of our guys navigated properly and stayed out of the ‘Shoot first, ask later’ zone—no one had to fire at Vinny Rifice and Dr. Sam Singer as they went by at 140 mph in the Skater 388.
“You can’t make these stories up,” Frenz concluded. “It’s a changing climate in New York City and all of the neighborhoods around her, but we still manage to still have thrill-seeking fun.”
Next up on the NPBA schedule is the Old Saybrook (Conn.) Poker Run on July 19