For sterndrive-power purists, the seismic shift to outboard engines—and the continually growing number of go-fast catamarans and center consoles equipped with them—has been a source of endless chagrin. But while the decline in sterndrive engines as power sources is undeniable, it is not absolute.
Sterndrive-engine-powered V-bottom sportboats account for half the fleet in the upcoming Florida Powerboat Club Poker Run Orange Beach Powerboat Week Poker Run. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Take, for example, the Florida Powerboat Club Orange Beach Powerboat Week Poker Run set for May 11-14, which is the fifth event of the outfit’s 2023 season. Of the 50 boats representing 20 states registered for the Alabama event, roughly half are traditional V-bottom sportboats.
“It’s a complete reversal of our Tampa Bay run a few weeks ago,” said Stu Jones, the president and founder of the club. “A strong presence of V-bottoms has taken the lead.
“At first glance, the 50-boat roster is taking a big lead by attendees coming from Texas, due partly to the loyalty and support from the TOPPS Powerboat Club from Clear Lake,” he added. “They are an enthusiastic group of powerboaters that have made an annual pilgrimage, many three years in a row, to the Orange Beach event.”
The Gulf Coast of Alabama can be one of high-performance powerboating’s prettier playgrounds.
As it has for several years, The Wharf will be Orange Beach Powerboat Week headquarters. The event also has retained its two-day activity agenda. The Friday run will take participants eastbound toward Pensacola, Fla., in the Gulf of Mexico. On Saturday, the run heads west and travels on the Intracoastal Waterway to Mobile Bay before reversing directions via Perdido Pass and the Gulf of Mexico.
“This is our fourth annual Orange Beach Powerboat Week,” Jones said. “It remains one of our most comfortable events with excellent accommodations, attractions and diversions, and it usually sees about 50 poker run teams, plus or minus a few.”
The Friday and Saturday poker runs will cover plenty of open water.
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