Cold, windy clear—those will be the words most closely associated with the 2015 Miami Boat Show Poker Run, which began today. With temperatures in the low- to mid-50-degree range, approximately 70 performance-boats left Miami’s Sea Isle Marina this morning. (Another 20 or so boats, including noted poker runner Bill Pyburn’s new Pure Platinum Skater 388, will head out tomorrow.) By South Florida standards, that isn’t just cold—it’s an Arctic blast. So participants in open-cockpit catamarans and V-bottoms, meaning the majority of the fleet, had to bundle up or freeze for the first day of Florida Powerboat Club‘s annual post-show event.
Dressed for the elements and comfortable on his Card Sound Bridge perch just before the lunch stop at Gilbert’s in Key Largo was photographer Pete Boden. Between covering the Miami International Boat Show, which ended Monday afternoon, and shooting today’s wave of the poker run, Boden has traversed the state three times in the past seven days from his home in Bradenton on Florida’s western coast.
“At least 20-knot winds are blowing across Card Sound—there are white caps,” said Boden this morning as he set up and waited for the boats to arrive. “I’m glad I’m not in my boat today.
For a look at some of today’s action from the Miami Boat Show Poker Run, check out the slideshow above.
“Today will separate the ‘boaters from the boys,'” he added.
The fierce wind kicked up the normally calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway between Miami and Islamorada, the poker run’s final destination.
“That’s the biggest water I’ve ever run on in Biscayne Bay,” said Bob Christie, a Miami Boat Show Poker run veteran, who piloted his recently renovated 42-foot Cigarette V-bottom in the event, after safely arrived for lunch at Gilbert’s with his wife, Madeline, and their friends. “One of our friends turned back and is driving down. But we were troopers. We’ll be de-salting the boat tonight.”
After the lunch stop, the fleet headed for its final destination of Holiday Isle/Islamorada, where it arrived without incident.
“We have a great fleet of new boats like Bill Pyburn’s Pure Platinum Skater, the new Mystic catamaran, Mark and Eileen Fischer’s Nor-Tech, Buddy Thomas’ Outerlimits cat and a couple of other new V-bottoms from Outerlimits,” said Florida Powerboat Club president Stu Jones, who made the run in a new 41′ GTR performance center console—the new outboard engine-powered relative of the 41′ 1040 Stern Drive—from Cigarette Racing Team with company owner Skip Braver, “We have three cats from DCB, a 41 and two 35s, and a big fleet from MTI. As usual, we have a great turnout.”
Editor’s Note: Look for a post-event photo essay showcasing the social side and weekend events of the Miami Boat Show Poker Run early next week.