With afternoon temperatures in the mid-90s and a heat index approaching 110 degrees, the only comfortable place to be outside yesterday in Sarasota, Fla., was on the water—and preferably moving as there wasn’t much breeze. And thanks to the organizers of the inaugural Sarasota Blast On The Bay Fun, 120 powerboat owners and their guests did exactly that.
“It was a little hot,” said Chris LaMorte, who came all the way from New Jersey with his wife, Quinn, to run their 28-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran in the event. “But we had fun and we were glad to be on the water.”
Frequent visitors to Sarasota in the winter, Chris and Quinn LaMorte of New Jersey tackled the event in their 28-foot Skater catamaran. (The couple also has a 36-foot Skater cat.) Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
Organized by Lucy Nicandri, the director of Suncoast Charities for Children, and Simon Williams, the owner of locally based Shore Things Storage—the event’s title sponsor—the run originally was “sold out” last Tuesday at 100 boats. But with fundraising for nonprofit organization at stake with the COVID-19 forced cancellation of the weeklong Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival, Nicandri and company took in another 20 entries later in the week.
The event’s fundraising goal was $30,000. Marine industry sponsors included Mystic Powerboats dealer Suncoast Powerboat and Yacht Brokerage, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Poweboats dealer Erickson Marine, Nor-Tech, Sara Bay Marina and Core Powerboats.
Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images from yesterday’s fun run on Sarasota Bay.
“I don’t have the final total yet—I will on Monday when I get back in the office—but it was an incredible turnout,” said Nicandri. “It was beyond anything I could have imagined.”
“I think the charity did well,” said Billy Glueck, a veteran offshore racer who lives in the area and ran his Twisted Metal Fountain raceboat in the event. “It was a great event and we had a great time—and there were lots boats out there.”
Among those who traveled to participate yesterday was Daniel Garcia, III, the Key West-based founder of the Key Island Runners group, which was one of the event’s media partners. Formed through Instagram a little more than two years ago, Keys Island Runners has more than 20,000 members.
Sarasota-based Billy Glueck ran the event with friends in his Twisted Metal raceboat.
Garcia rode with fellow Key West resident Troy Curry in Curry’s 28-foot Skater. In town for the weekend, they made all five card stops yesterday and enjoyed the event.
“It was definitely worth the trip,” he said. “As far as how many people came from my group, I only saw six boats I was familiar with. But a lot of people here are familiar with Keys Island Runners page, so it’s been a good feeling.”
Well-known offshore racers Mark Niemann (left) and Chuck Broaddus were on hand to support the event.