Three passionate powerboaters David Landsman, Jimmy Jernigan of the Chesapeake Bay Powerboat Association, and Victor DiMarco of the Thunder in the City Poker Run pulled it off, putting the spotlight back on Baltimore and the Bay -- and selling out their first-ever Rockin’ The Harbor Poker Run in just 11 days.
A sizzling time was had by all, with temps nearing the 100-degree mark as a wave of summer heat steamily worked its way through the seaport city making it hotter than Havasu. Physical logistics between home-base (or boat-base) at the Harbor East Marina, the gorgeous Four Seasons hotel and the venue for the night-time festivities made commuting as hassle-free as could be, all three were less than 100 yards apart. Due to size constraints at Roy's of Baltimore, the establishment hosting the Saturday evening awards party, boat entries were capped at around 60, and carried more than 300 smiling and sun-tanned invitees along for the ride.
When word first got out about a poker run returning back to the revitalized and booming Baltimore Inner Harbor, not only did local patrons jump on the bandwagon in support; South Florida high-end center console manufacturers -- Deep Impact Custom Boats, Mystic Powerboats, Midnight Express, Concept Boats and HCB Yachts -- stepped up to the plate. The outpouring of outboards lining the marina quay tucked in between the Vee-bottoms was not only impressive, it accounted for roughly half the registrants.
And as an extra special surprise, event organizers welcomed Mark and Eileen Fischer, the owners of Deep Impact Custom Boats to join in. The couple's freshly-splashed Ocean Alexander megayacht Where's Eileen moored at the edge of the landing was designated to be the initial card stop at the 10:00 a.m. take-off.
Once the grandiose 112-foot megayacht gradually faded into the horizon and the no-wake warning signs were to our rear, the first stretch coming on plane was intoxicating. An aquatic motorcade was let loose... all gunning for air and water supremacy.
Roaring past pieces of American history, we were face-to-face with super-sized battleships and Fort McHenry on our starboard and the "Star-Spangled" Francis Scott Key memorial buoy to our port side. (Thank you to Ashley Eisenbeis for pointing out this floating monument as we zoomed past it.) Wakes of white-washed graffiti grew as an endless flow of Vee-bottoms and center consolers were hunting and chasing to gain ground, all the while, each offshore rocket kept its line in the formation, because... it's not a race, right!
The charming, picture-perfect and capital city of Annapolis was the destination for card stop two. Poker runners were welcomed with bells and whistles, flying flags and a whole-lot-a pride. Literally. The inner wharf was jam-packed with gay pride, rainbow-wrapped watercrafts, full of festive folks cheering on the stampede of head-turning machines vigilantly idling around the narrow corner turn.
Back on wide-open water and throttles, the powerboat parade of 63 high-tailed it to the third card pick-up and chosen lunch spot, a.k.a. The Jetty Dock Bar. Bordered by bay waters on three sides, the pastel-painted set-up echoed emotions of a "Key West cheeseburger in paradise" (in this case "Maryland crab cakes in paradise") vibe, and was so much fun it will be profiled on RDP's upcoming step-sistership website Luxurycenterconsoles.com, as a Chesapeake Bay waterfront lifestyle feature.
PLEASE READ PART TWO OF THE FEATURE TO SEE HOW THE REST OF THE RUN AND BIKINI CONTEST TURNED OUT!
First-Ever Rockin' The Harbor Poker Run Brings Boating Bling Back to Baltimore - Part Two