• Boyne Thunder 2012, One of the Better Reasons Offshore Performance Boats Exist – Part 1 of 2

    by SeriousOffshore

    Although picking up in popularity over the past few years, the Boyne Thunder Poker Run had been one of the undiscovered gems among the big boy poker run crowd. The traditional Boyne Thunder run has included a trip out around Beaver Island, a distance of over 30 miles each way across what can be a rough stretch of water in the open part of Lake Michigan. This year the course changed to stay a bit closer to the west coast of Michigan’s Traverse, Charlevoix, and Harbor Springs areas. The organizers have found some of the most beautiful scenery to be viewed from any waterway in the country, all stunning as you wind around the lakes and bays of this portion of western Michigan.

    The course starts in Boyne City, foreground in the following picture with Lake Charlevoix closest to the camera, and Lake Michigan in the far distance, and it is the focal point of many of the events scheduled throughout Boyne Thunder.

    A run down Lake Charlevoix, (at 55mph maximum, enforced), then continue through Round Lake and the Pine River Channel, and then enter Lake Michigan on the way to North Port for the first card. With vistas of the surrounding bluffs overlooking Lake Charlevoix from both shores, the homes, boat houses, and yachts of Round Lake, and the stunning waters and shorelines of Lake Michigan, the course has much to offer. The new route is designed to give owners of both large and smaller performance boats an opportunity to get their rigs out on the water and drive them like their creators intended. And, the water cooperated this year with nothing too large for outright high performance fun. (Although I’m sure some of the bigger vee’s would have loved some more action).

    A view of the Pine River, Round Lake, and Lake Charlevoix from above Lake Michigan.

    The overall entry was way up this year, attributed partly to running the new course, and partly to the interest the event has generated as well run with the two main purposes to have fun and help cancer patients. Last year the poker run had just over 40 entries. This year, even though the event was capped at a maximum of 62 entries due to the availability of slips and lodging, they actually had 68 entries when all was said and done. Big congratulations to the organizers and sponsors for working with the past participants and coming up with improvements year after year. Sitting around making no improvements to an already outstanding event doesn’t seem to be their main focus.

    Early on Friday afternoon, several of the boaters gave some of the patients, and their families, rides out on the lake in their boats. For some, it may be one of the only chances they will ever get to be in a piece of equipment as nice as what they were in. As those who took the time to give these special people rides said, the smiles make it all worthwhile.

    Evening festivities are always a big hit, and Friday evenings downtown gathering of performance cars and boats was no exception. Neither were the first annual stereo wars back at the Boyne City docks. The choice of songs for the wars went with the personalities of the boat owners, (or builders), and for quite some time the poker runners socialized on the docks, boats, and the downtown streets. Admiring the views as the sun sets over Lake Charlevoix, people enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of Lake Charlevoix until it was time to crash for the night.

    Saturday’s first leg was fairly easy, with the 55mph run down Lake Charlevoix, then the no wake zone through Round Lake and the Channel, followed by taking a southwest heading to the first card stop. We had decided to get a head start on the run by skipping the parade lap in Lake Charlevoix, and heading straight out. The master plan was that all of the extremely fast boats would catch us in the open water before Northport’s card boat, and we would have the opportunity to get some incredible shots. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans….. Not only did they not catch up to us before the first card stop, (I guess a half-hour head start is just a bit too much), making us the official first boat to the first card stop (you see, now it is a race! – just kidding). But, while we ran slow waiting for them to get there, they made a wrong turn in the bay and stopped on the opposite side of where the card boat was. After a bit of looking around, they came back up on plane to run the final ½ mile or so to the card boat. No big deal, because it’s not a race, but it certainly ruined a good opportunity to get some great shots. So, here’s a toast to blown up, zoomed in, blurry Kodak opportunities like this coming into the bay for the first card!!! (I think I need a bigger lens).

    Then on to the next leg for the Elk Rapids card stop. Watching the boats come in on the wrong side of the Bay for good photography opportunities, made us decide to get a bit of a jump on the boats and head towards the next stop, giving them a bit of room to get up to speed and fly on by. Well, they almost all decided to take the long way around the island that looked like a nuclear submarine, (what is on that island anyway?), and once again no great photo opportunities. But, Triple B Offshore hammered it to get us as close to them as possible, and we were able to get a few decent shots close to the card boat before we lost contact with all of the big cats and vee’s.

    Then the run back to the lunch stop in Charlevoix. Included in the entry fee was a lunch coupon at one of several restaurants in the Charlevoix Downtown area. You choose, make a reservation, present your coupons, and enjoy your lunch. I know we certainly enjoyed ours at the Weathervane, although it seemed as if the town just wasn’t quite ready for such a great turnout as the Boyne Thunder produced this year.

    Stay tuned for Part 2 which will start where this left off and follow the rest of the event. Here are a couple links with more pics, vids, and places for comments.