Monday, July 11, 2011

Boyne Thunder: The Great Northern Poker Run

Everybody knows about big powerboat poker runs like Desert Storm and Key West, but switch out the sand and palm trees for the clean, cool waters of Northwest Michigan and the rich smell of pine trees, and you've got the great Northern poker run...Boyne Thunder. We headed up there after work on Friday night and jumped off I-75 at Gaylord for a solid night's sleep before heading over to Boyne City bright and early Saturday to watch the 40+ boats head out across Lake Charlevoix.

The municipal marina at Boyne City is a great venue for this event; there's plenty of room for even the largest boats, and the point on the western end is a great spot for spectators to gather. This year's event has been described by many as the best ever - and the collection of boats found at the docks backed that up, with a great selection of Skaters, Nor-Techs, Outerlimits, Apaches, Fountains, Formulas and Cigarettes on hand. It was an incredible scene -- especially when they all started the engines and headed out onto the lake.

As a tradition, the boats (in two groups) circle around the lake on a high-speed parade lap before heading west toward Charlevoix -- and the hundreds of spectators gathered on the point roared their approval as each boat gunned its engines on the pass-by.

The boats then head down the lake, through Round Lake at Charelvoix, then out the channel to Lake Michigan and the other card stops. The weather was just about perfect; warm and sunny, with little wind--which made the big lake manageable for some high speed runs and lots of fun. We drove up to Charlevoix for a few beers, caught a few more nice boats heading up the channel, then gradually worked our way back toward Boyne City right after noon. We even had a chance to grab a bite at the Horton Bay General Store, which any Ernest Hemingway fan would recognize from his Nick Adams stories.

The final card stop was at the marina at Somerset Pointe, featuring a very nice reception which offered visitors a chance to catch the boat crews coming in for some snacks and ice cold refreshments. We weren't sure how they were going to fit everyone in, but they managed to get the crews off the boats and into the bar with a high level of organization. Clearly, this run benefits greatly from a wonderful team of volunteers, who managed it all superbly. Hats off to them.

We wanted to stay longer for the Thunder Feast that evening, but the wife and I had another stop to make on that day's itinerary, and over a 100 miles to travel before nightfall. Suffice to say that as before, we had a short but albeit wonderful time at Boyne Thunder, and look forward to coming back again. If you're an offshore powerboater who loves great poker runs and is looking for something a little different, this is one run you will want to add to your calendar next year.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

[B3] Will Be at Boyne Thunder This Weekend

Northwest Michigan is one of our favorite places in the world and also home to one of the best poker runs anywhere...Boyne Thunder. Kicking off in Boyne City, MI - at the eastern end of beautiful Lake Charlevoix, this is one of the best organized runs anywhere, attracting dozens of the Midwest's very best boats, and many from well beyond.

Created to benefit Camp Quality for Children, the run heads out of Lake Charlevoix and into Lake Michigan, where stops are set up at several great venues. Conditions can be unpredictable once you are out on the big lake, so participants have to be ready for anything.

There's a big street party in Boyne City Friday night, with lots of boats and hot cars on display, as well as a fun "pub crawl." The run starts Saturday morning, and concludes in the late afternoon. Saturday night, everyone sits down to enjoy an awesome "Thunder Feast" by the side of the lake. The location is superb, the weather looks to be great this weekend, and we're sure to see lots of top-shelf boats on hand, which is why organizers are expecting this to be the best BT ever. We'll be there to bring you some pictures and more!

Monday, July 4, 2011

That's Gonna Leave a Mark: 1981 Harbour Towne Race

Came across this recently posted YouTube video, courtesy of the Duke Video Archives, which shows the spectacular crash of Michael Meynard and teamate Bob Idoni's Cougar cat, Fayva Shoes. The 36' super-light cat, powered by a pair of big Mercruisers and the then-new Arneson surface drives, was clearly capable of speeds up to 125mph or more.  The boat was probably too light, which is why--returning from the first checkpoint--the port sponson dug into a wave and disintegrated.

Luckily, both Meynard and Idoni survived the wreck. Meynard--who was already receiving treatment for Hodgkins Disease--escaped unscathed, and Idoni had some leg injuries that would keep him in the hospital for  week. The race came at a pivotal time for offshore racing; it was clear that speed and power were outpacing safety considerations, and changes would soon come to the sport....along with the big American superboats, which would soon be making their appearance.

You can check out more of Duke's offshore-related DVD offerings HERE. They are in the European PAL format, so they would not be viewable on North American NTSC format players, but could probably be converted with the right software.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

P1 Superstock Series Featured at 2011 Madison Regatta

P1 SuperStock has launched their new head-to-head Match Race this weekend at the 2011 Madison Regatta. While primarily known as a venue for H1 hydroplane racing, Madison-area fans have eagerly embraced the new P1 Superstock racing formula, adding a new dimension to powerboat racing here.

Madison, Indiana, is located on the Ohio River; the earliest documented power boat regatta here took place in 1911. The steamship PRINCESS from Coney Island tied up in the middle of the river as power launches ran an oval track roughly around the boat. This was also one of the earliest examples of competition as it is currently characterized around a closed course.

Team Oregon Custom Marine of the number 15 Panther made history by becoming the first Match Racing Champion of all time. Oregon Custom Marine ran the course extremely well, hitting every turn tightly with ease and quickly crossing the finish line.

With a first place finish in Saturday’s Match Race, Team Oregon Custom Marine earns the pole position of their choice for Sunday’s endurance race. Team JD Byrider of the number 14 boat finished second, receiving the second option for preferred pole position. Typhoon Racing and Pirate Racing were back and forth throughout the entire race and had fans on the edge of their seat until the final lap. Typhoon Racing finished just a few feet in front of Pirate Racing earning them a victory in the first of their three heats.

Be sure to check out for results from the inaugural P1 USA Series event.

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