Not so very long ago, a 40-foot powerboat was “big” by Florida Powerboat Club standards. Now, it’s about average. But while the boats have grown significantly in the past 10 years, and much of the increase has been driven by larger and larger center consoles, dock space hasn’t kept up.
With 11 boats registered, Nor-Tech is by brand the largest participant of the 2023 Tampa Bay Poker Run. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Just ask Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club, which has its Tampa Bay Poker Run happening this weekend. Finding enough dock space for a fleet of big go-fast center consoles, catamarans and V-bottom sportboats is a constant challenge for the longtime event organizer. Still, Jones managed to secure enough dockage in downtown Tampa to accommodate 62 boats for the event.
“We are full and registration is closed,” Jones said. “There is no dock space or hotel rooms left.
“We don’t even have an extra T-shirt or seat for our Saturday awards celebration,” he added, then laughed.
Of the 62 boats in the mix, 45 are center consoles,11 are catamarans and six are V-bottom sportboats, mostly of the Cigarette Racing Team variety. Jones described manufacturing-sponsor participation as the best it’s even been for the Tampa event.
“The big dogs came in like a pack of wolves—Midnight Express with a total of seven 43 Open and Solstice models, Nor-Tech with 11 registered boats, including the poker run debut of the new 560 Flyer, Lady Lisa,” he said. “To round out the performance, local manufacturer Statement Marine will field a fleet of eight center consoles and a 36-foot catamaran, not to mention a pontoon shuttle/courtesy boat powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R outboards. Now that’s a fast commute.”
As it always does in Florida Powerboat Club events, Midnight Express will have strong representation this weekend in Tampa.
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