If there’s a better place in the world for a high-performance powerboat lover to be today—make that for the past four or five days—than Southwest Florida, I don’t know where it is. As you read this, more than 50 go-fast catamarans, V-bottoms and center consoles are taking to the waters of Sarasota Bay for the eighth annual Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Run organized by veteran offshore racer Ryan Beckley. And just three days ago, Fort Myers Offshore held its traditional New Year’s Lunch Run from the Sanibel Island Bridge to Marco Island.
Ending one year and starting the next, celebratory happenings are a staple of the Southwest Florida go-fast boating community. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Between those organized events, speedonthewater.com chief photographer and Sarasota local Pete Boden put together a couple of photo shoots. And per Gratton fun run tradition, Beckley held his casual New Year’s Eve bash, welcome to locals, out-of-towners and more than a few random strangers last night at his Kinetic Animation shop in Bradenton.
In short, since last Saturday there has been something awesome to do—by day at least under mostly blue skies with midday temperatures in the mid 80s—for local go-fast boaters, as well as those in town from all over the country for the FMO and Gratton happenings.