Event Coverage: By Any Means Necessary—Florida Powerboat Club Fleet Tucked Safely Into Key West
With subtropical storm Nicole threatening to spoil the Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run’s 30th birthday, participants had to get creative if they wanted to be there. Wednesday’s departure was a no-go and Thursday’s waters were sloppy to rough, depending on who you asked and what boat he or she happened to be on for the 200-plus-mile trip.
Danny DeSantis said the 2022 Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run was a breeze in his Skater 426 catamaran. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.
For Skater Powerboats 426 catamaran owner Danny DeSantis who headed down Thursday, most of the run was a breeze—with a fun little kicker at the end.
“It was perfect, two- to three-footers on the inside,” he said. “The outside was a solid five to six feet, but I loved it.”
For Ron Szolack and Todd Fountain, the key to success was leaving early in the week and setting up a base camp in Marathon. Photo courtesy/copyright Ron Szolack
The weather picture began looking bleak on Monday, which lead Ron Szolack and Todd Fountain—a couple of Michigan natives who spend a lot of time in Florida—to take a different tack with their 42- and 41-foot Cigarette Racing Team center consoles. They left early that day.
“We stopped at Hawks Cay Resort on Monday and stayed there till Wednesday morning,” Szolack explained. “Then we ran down from there. It wasn’t rough at all, just two-footers.”
Still others opted to trailer their boats to Key West. “Out of the 290 boats we had registered, I bet we probably ended up with 150 that came down on their own bottom.”
Among the folks who trailered their boats down were Stephen Miles of Stephen Miles Design in Owensboro, Ky. Miles and his wife, Heather, towed their MTI 340X catamaran to Key West. But more than the rough-water forecast, a potential mechanical issue motivated him to tow his ride.
Size mattered more than usual during this week’s Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run.
And by sheer coincidence it provide to be an excellent choice.
“I had a message on my Mercury monitor and I just wanted to have Lee Murray at Murray Marine in Key West take care of it along with a shift actuator,” Miles said. “It turned out I had a blown engine.
“But I’m still the luckiest dude alive,” he continued. “Lee Murray had a Verado 350 outboard with 90 hours on it for sale. So I bought the engine, snatched off the powerhead and swapped it with my mine, put on my ECU and—boom.”
It’s better to be lucky than good sometimes. Just ask Stephen Miles.
Of course, the traditional Key West Poker Run show did go on. According to Jones, approximately 120 boats went down Thursday and 30 more came in the Friday wave, which was added to help compensate for Wednesday departure cancelation.
“The weather was much better Friday,” Jones said. “It was still a little breezy, but the conditions were beautiful.”
Enjoy more action the 2022 Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run.
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