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Nonstop New Year’s Fun


An inside look at performance-boat owner Matt Rice’s 300-mile weekend. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

A well-known performance-boat owner and former offshore racer, Matt Rice can say he entered the New Year in much the same way he left the old one—with a fun run followed by lunch with friends. On New Year’s Eve day, Rice, who lives in Pennsylvania but owns a second home on Siesta Key, in Sarasota, Fla., and his wife, Toni, ran their Skater 32 catamaran with twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard engines in the Fort Myers Offshore club’s annual jaunt from the Sanibel Island Bridge to Marco Island.

The following day, they loaded up the 32-footer with a few family members and took off for the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run in Sarasota.

“The weekend was fantastic,” said Rice, who has a 36-foot Skater cat with Verado 400 ROS (Race Offshore) outboards in the works. “We had signed up for the Fort Myers Offshore event on Friday, but they had to move it to Saturday because of the weather. My wife and I decided to go for it. We left at 9 a.m., boated 80-plus miles and got to Sanibel with five minutes to spare before they left (for Marco Island).”

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