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Rochester Offshore Seneca Lake Battleship Run - July 17, 2021

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Rochester Offshore Seneca Lake Battleship Run - July 17, 2021

Old 06-30-2021, 07:41 AM
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I love how that boat of yours runs!

See you soon,

Padraig
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Too Stroked (06-30-2021)
Old 07-21-2021, 08:39 AM
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For the 31st consecutive year, I get to report that the Rochester Offshore Powerboat Association has successfully completed their annual Seneca Lake Battleship Run. This year’s run was a little different though, and that made it even more special. But I digress.

ROPA has held their flagship run on the 3rd weekend in July for many, many years. They settled on this weekend after experimenting with other dates that just didn’t work out quite as well from a weather standpoint. And for 30 years it worked like a charm – until this year. Apparently, Mother Nature wanted to re-assert who really runs the show. So, just over 60 registered boats showed up on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning knowing that there was almost certainly going to be some rain. The operative word here is “some.” How much, when and where were still up in the air – literally.

The tight knit (and very experienced) ROPA team put plans in place to address various possible scenarios. At the Driver’s Meeting at 10:00 AM on Saturday, I briefed the crews on the safety rules for the run and described a window of opportunity on the weather radar that we wanted to try to take advantage of. The window wasn’t big enough to run the regular route with four stops, but we’d planned a shortened course that was more of a “parade lap” so as not to disappoint the many people who had showed up to see more fast boats in one place than they usually get to see. To take advantage of the window though, everyone would have to get out of the docks on very short notice and come back and tie up on equally short notice. Next, we waited.

Just before noon, we announced that the window was about to open and we needed a fast, but safe exit. Showing just how professional the attendees were, we got all 60+ boats out on the lake in 20 minutes flat. I’m not sure if that’s an official world record, but I was beyond pleased.

Once out on the lake, the main fleet broke up into three pre-arranged pace fleets - 55, 65 and “much more than 65” MPH. These fleets then left in order so the largest fleet (55 MPH) would lead for most of the lap of the lake. If anyone thought the sound of 10,000+ horsepower sounded good at the docks when everybody fired up at once, they were even more impressed when everybody hammered the sticks to leave.

A little over an hour later, the first rooster tails appeared on the horizon as the fast group – now in the lead – came barreling back past run headquarters, the Showboat Hotel. They were quickly followed by the other two fleets – and the rain in hot pursuit. Just as they had when they left the docks, the experienced captains and crews very professionally managed to get either back to their docks or back on their trailers before the rain amounted to much of anything. As one person watching from the hotel said, “Well, you guys got every last available minute out of that break in the weather.” Yes, we did.

After a fine dinner put on by the Showboat, it was time for the awards to be given out. A Prize Table overflowing with great prizes was quickly distributed to lots of happy crew members. Along the way, Jeremy Starr (Club Treasurer) managed to hand out the “big” prizes to various happy boat captains. The big deal however was the club presenting what eventually amounted to $5,000 to the Mercy Flight Central emergency helicopter service. I use the word “eventually” because donations continued to flow in well after the run was over. That’s a record for the club and it couldn’t go to nicer people.

Although the run was now over, Mother Nature was just warming up. As the DJ was cranking the tunes later that evening, all hell broke loose. The rain that had been coming down at a pretty good clip swelled the nearby streams than drain the land above the hotel into the lake. At about 10 PM, the two streams nearest to the Showboat went over their banks and into the street, and the parking lot, and the hotel, and … At one point, the water flowing across the street at the Showboat was over a foot deep and ripping pretty good. Some fast thinking by the hotel staff and many club members pulling together with local cottage owners prevented any injuries, but damage to the hotel will take weeks (or more) to repair.

To show you what kind of people belong to ROPA, consider this. The very next day, The ROPA Director of Public Relations Rodney Olson had set up a GoFundMe account to help the hotel recover. As I write this, there is over $3,000 pledged and much more coming. That’s class!

As if the rain and flash flooding wasn’t enough, there were still over 20 boats tied up at the Showboat docks and some pretty biblical stuff floating around the lake in 2-3 footers. As the captains carefully idled back to the launch ramp, a group of ROPA volunteers helped them as well as a number of local cottage owners safely pluck their boats from the lake using a ramp with 2 footers rolling across the entrance. More class!

As “interesting” (for lack of a better term) as this year’s run was, I just want to say how proud I was of the whole ROPA team as well as the participants for not only putting on a great show, but doing it safely and helping complete strangers in need when they needed it most. It’s this kind of stuff that keeps the club going and goes a long way to prove what kind of people high-performance boaters really are. Nice work everyone and we’ll see you next year!

Tom Warda
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:48 AM
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Thanks, Tom....The ROPA did a great job and we had a grand time! Still can't believe how fast everyone got off the docks and out in the lake! LOL

As a side note, We left very early Sunday. My brother who was watching my hounds sent a pic of our docks on Chautauqua Lake. It had been raining for two plus days and the lake was up about two feet! We went to bed worried about the wind coming up and taking my dock down lake. Woke up about 3:00AM, couldn't sleep. By 4:00AM we were on the road and 7:30 we were home. Pulled the dock out (17 sections) and now waiting for it to go down!

As I said...We had fun. We also won a free entry for next year so we will definitely see you all next year.

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Old 07-21-2021, 07:04 PM
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Photos and video needed please
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