What started as a conversation over the course of a few days during the fun runs in Sarasota, Fla., around the New Year, grew to become the first Outboard Skater Fun Run in the same town, a two-day invitation-only event that was organized by Skater Powerboats afficionado Ron Muller of Electronics Unlimited in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A dozen Skater Powerboats catamarans were on hand for the first Outboard Skater Fun Run in Sarasota, Fla. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Muller, who owns a gorgeous Skater 308 named Over Kill that he recently repowered with Mercury Racing 400R engines after overhauling its interior two years prior, reached out to some of his “closest” friends to see if they’d be interesting in getting together for a low-key outing. In turn, the pre-Spring gathering that took place on Friday and Saturday included a dozen Skater enthusiasts and their crews from as far away as Arkansas, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York.
“At these New Year’s runs there are always so many different kinds of boats and we got to thinking it would be fun to just to get a bunch of outboard-powered Skaters together,” Muller said. “Of course there’s the amazing Skaterfest up in Michigan, but there’s never been an outboards-only Skater event. So we said let’s try it and keep it small at first, mainly because the Hyatt only has room for so many boats. We picked a date and went from there.”
Muller said they kept the list short and invited 15 owners and wound up with 12, including a raceboat—Ryan Beckley’s Super Stock-class Skater adorned with a new eye-catching Skater bug graphic designed and applied by Beckley’s Kinetic Animation in Bradenton, Fla. He added that a dozen boats was a perfect number, especially when it came to choosing lunch locations that would accommodate that many boats rather than double or triple that amount.
Check out the slideshow above for more of Boden’s images from the two-day fun run.
With an assist from New Jersey’s Chris LaMorte, who lined up room blocks and boat slips at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, Muller had his graphics department design a logo for the first annual—meaning they plan to do it again—Outboard Skater Fun Run and went ahead a printed a gray and a white long-sleeve dri-fit shirt for each participant. He tapped Electronics Unlimited and Garmin to sponsor the shirts so no one had to pay for them.
“We didn’t mean to leave anyone out, we just didn’t know how this was going to go,” Muller added. “It was pretty much all done via text message; there wasn’t registration or anything like that. It was a good time for sure. The weather was great and the people were great—we couldn’t have asked for anything more. We’re hopeful we’ll do it again next year.”
Participants in the first Outboard Skater Fun Run gathered for a picture at Tiki Docks Skyway Bar and Grill in St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy Chris LaMorte.
Muller and LaMorte gave a shout-out to Grant Bruggemann of Grant’s Signature Racing and Brian Jackson of Offshore Outdrives for their willingness to provide their services to a couple of owners who ran into problems with their boats.
“Maybe there’s been more outboard-powered Skaters together somewhere else, but I’ve never seen that many in one location before,” said LaMorte, who did the run with his wife, Quinn, in their 28-footer with twin 250-hp Mercury Racing engines. “There were five 28s, three 308s, two 318s, one 32 and Ryan’s raceboat. It was a great mix of boats. We had good water conditions and gorgeous weather so that helped make the runs each day even better.”
LaMorte said there were some cool Skater “history lessons” uncovered during the fun run, including the fact that longtime Skater devotee Sam Jirik, who showed off his new-to-him Skater 318 with twin Mercury Racing ROS engines in Sarasota, was the original owner of LaMorte’s 28.
“Sam confirmed that my boat, which has had three owners that I know of since he had it built in 1994, was his to begin with,” said LaMorte, who also owns a 36-foot Skater with twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines. “And he didn’t stop there. He pulled out a picture on his phone of him and Pete (Skater Powerboats founder Peter Hleldin) the day he picked up the boat. I thought that was so cool. He also confirmed that the interior is, in fact, original.”
Sam Jirik pulled up a picture on his phone of Chris LaMorte’s 28-foot Skater from when he took delivery of the boat almost 30 years ago.
That wasn’t the only former and past owners’ connection either. Jim and Patty Kirkland got to see their 28 that is now owned by Troy and Chasity Curry, and Muller reconnected with his former 28-footer owned Marc Halpern.
“It would be cool if Ron makes this an annual thing,” LaMorte said, adding that it could be tough keeping it as small and personal as it was moving forward. “I know everyone who was there was pumped to be part of it. We didn’t make a big deal out of any of it, really. It was just a bunch of friends boating together and hanging out at the docks eating pizza. And admiring each other’s boats.”
What else would you expect a bunch of outboard-powered Skater owners to do?
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