Records Fall In Fort Myers Offshore Naples Hyatt House Run
The president of Fort Myers Offshore in Southwest Florida, Tim Hill knows yesterday’s 55-boat turnout was a record for the nonprofit scholarship fundraising club’s lunch run to the Naples Hyatt House. The numbers are the numbers.
But he suspects that the 200-plus participants experienced the best conditions in the history of the event.
Offshore racing world champion Julian Maldonado (left) enjoyed his first Fort Myers Offshore event with a friend in his 30-foot Spectre catamaran. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“The weather was absolutely perfect with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s—I can’t remember any better weather for a run to Naples,” he explained. “Seas were less than a foot and it was so smooth.
“My wife, Cyndee, and I were on the paceboat, and I said to her, ‘It’s Key West water. Think the fleet would follow up if we turned and headed Southwest?’” he added, then laughed.
Fort Myers Offshore president Tim Hill (pointing) compared the conditions to “Key West water.”
So calm was the water that the Fort Myers Offshore group ran in the Gulf of Mexico for just the second time during the 2023/2024 season. The open-water course proved delightful.
“The only way to get to the Hyatt House Naples is out in the Gulf of Mexico, so I checked the forecasted-season wind-finder for over a week, knowing the only change I can make is to postpone the run if seas were not safe or comfortable,” Hill explained. “We all do this for fun. No one wants to be out in the Gulf of Mexico with four- to six-footers.
Don and Amanda Gardener joined the Fort Myers Offshore fleet for the first time in a while.
“But it was absolutely picture perfect,” he added.
Julian Maldonado, the throttleman of the 2023 Super Stock Class World Champion Jackhammer team, joined the run in his 30-foot Spectre catamaran. (He left the team’s 34-foot canopied Victory raceboat at the shop.) It was his first Fort Myers Offshore event.
“It was a great run—first time for me and it definitely won’t be the last,” said Maldonado, who owns Manatee Marine Unlimited with the Jackhammer team’s Sara Langheim in Palmetto, Fla. “They’re a safe and professional group to run with.
Enjoy more images for yesterday’s Fort Myers Offshore lunch run to the Naples Hyatt House.
“But I still think they’re 10 times crazier than us racers,” he added, then laughed.
The next Fort Myers Offshore event is a lunch run to Cass Cay at Burnt Store Marina on Punta Gorda. Hill said that he and Cyndee will debut their own “new” Skater catamaran in the March 9 run, though he wouldn’t offer specifics.
“It’s one with a ton of history that we are giving a new life to,” he said.
Conditions for yesterday’s lunch run were flawless.
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