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Powerboat Rally Kicks Off Atlantic City Offshore Grand Prix

Yesterday’s New Jersey-based powerboat rally featured some fine hardware. Photo courtesy Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images (click image to enlarge).

When your weekend-long boating event is being threatened with rain, you look for silver linings in every cloud. Fortunately for the organizers of and participants in yesterday’s Atlantic City Powerboat Rally, no one had to look that hard. The weather cleared long enough for the 70-mile rally—renamed this year from its former Atlantic City Poker Run handle—to happen under cloud-dotted skies.

New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club president Dave Patnaude explained the thinking behind the event’s name change.

“The words ‘poker run’ have a connotation of big boats,” Patnaude said. “Calling it a rally and changing the format opens the event to more boaters.”

Instead of the traditional card stops of a poker run, the New Jersey event had predetermined rally points where the fleet would regroup and re-launch. The event attracted 30 boats, from a 27-foot Baja to a 52-foot Outerlimits.

For some of the action from yesterday’s rally, check out the slideshow above. Photos courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey.

“The rally format also allows boaters to join the fleet at any point along the route,” Patnaude said. “There are even a couple of boats meeting us in Atlantic City. It’s more inclusive.”

The Golden Nugget Atlantic City Casino Marina is the host hotel for the city-wide celebration of speed that includes a car and motorcycle show to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project, along with 150 warriors and their families taking boat rides today, and attending a reception in their honor hosted by The Golden Nugget. The weekend culminates with the Atlantic City Veterans Offshore Grand Prix, part of the Offshore Powerboat Association’s race schedule for the past three years.

Dave and Marianne Kramer of Washington Township, N.J., are the proud owners of the aforementioned 27-foot Baja, a 2000 model-year V-bottom that they’ve owned for about eight years. Originally powered by a Mercury 502 engine and Bravo drive, the boat has been repowered with a Mercury Racing 525 EFI and Bravo XR package, as well as some upgrade and repair to the interior. The couple has towed the boat to Florida and other local places for different events, and boat with their three children every other weekend. NJPPC members for five years, this is the first Atlantic City event the Kramer’s have made.


Despite that their 27-foot Baja was the smallest boat in the fleet, Dave and Marianne Kramer felt right at home during yesterday’s Atlantic City Poker Run Rallly. Photo by Tony Esposito

“We’re definitely at the back of the pack,” Dave Kramer said, “But the rally points allow everyone to catch up and it’s always a lot of fun seeing the big boats take off. Yeah, we’re the people with the ‘dinky’ Baja, but the ribbing is all good natured and no different than the big boats give each other.”

The Kramer’s said they’ve talked about getting a bigger, twin-engine boat that would allow them to take on bigger runs like Miami to Key West. But they’re content with what they have—for now at least. Still, there’s some fine-tuning left to be done on their current ride.

“Once we get this propped right, we’ll be a lot happier,” Marianne Kramer added.

Look for continuing coverage of this weekend’s Atlantic City Festival of Speed on speedonthewater.com.