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Photo Essay: Key West Out

For watching offshore raceboats as they hurtle into the infamous Mallory Square turn in Key West, Fla., it’s tough to beat a third-story corner suite at the Pier House Resort. And thanks to the exceptional hospitality of Rick and Kathryn Romano of Cocoa Beach, Fla., that’s exactly where Jason Johnson, Pete Boden and I have been to cover the Friday races—we go elsewhere for the Wednesday and Friday contests—for the past few years.

Turning heads in Key West Harbor, Michael Tandoi of Rochester, N.Y., ran Out of Control, his 2008-built 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 860 engines, in the Florida Powerboat Club event. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

As we all know far too well, the races didn’t happen this year. But that didn’t stop Boden from heading to our traditional Friday perch as the Pier House this week and capturing images of Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run boats coming and going in the channel between the city at the end of the road and Sunset Key.

By all accounts, not having the three-day Race World Offshore Key West Championships to watch this week was strange and more than a little sad.

“If I were still a kid I would have had tears in my eyes the whole week,” said Daniel Garcia, III, the 33-year-old founder of Keys Island Runners, who grew up in Key West and works there as a power utility lineman. “At least the FPC came down so we are all thankful for that.”

Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images from Speedonthewater chief photographer Pete Boden’s annual Friday photo shoot at the Pier House.

“I personally had to work the whole week,” he continued. “It was busy with all the weather that came through, so I wasn’t able to see the boats at all this year. Still hearing, those engines roaring in the distance made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Hopefully, next year we can get back to our normally scheduled events.”

Fellow Key West local Todd Swofford, who is the host of a local sports radio show and has covered the sport for decades, echoed Garcia’s feelings.

“It’s the first time there were no races here since 1980,” he said. “Sad to say, it feels commonplace with all the other events scratched in an event-rich community—the ‘new abnormal.’ I hope this gets moving to a proper place by summer.”

As do we all, if not sooner.

Until next year, farewell Key West.

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