Billy Frenz’s reinvigorated New York City Powerboat Rally showcases the city.
Photos by National Powerboat Association
The New York City Powerboat Rally takes place the same August weekend as powerboating’s Super Bowl equivalent, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.
Billy Frenz, executive director of the National Powerboat Association, figured a New York summer weekend can be a draw too. He credits his daughter, Allison Frenz, who graduated in marketing, for growing the August 26 event using social media
“We turned the corner, we had 35 boats,” Frenz said. “I had 70 percent new blood that we’ve never had before. Folks came from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Buffalo, New York, Jersey, Rhode Island. The next generation, maybe two generations after me.”
The views of New York City from a boat are magical, and the single-day poker run showcases the skyline. It started near the Stepping Stones Lighthouse, built in 1876, on the Long Island Sound. A pace boat led the start with the boats traveling the East River to arrive at the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty.
The boats, which included several Hustlers, older Fountains and a Skater Powerboat, stopped in front of the Statue of Liberty for photos.
“We had a good run around New York City, everybody was safe,” Frenz said. “It had all the ingredients that make a good run.”
From there, the boats went under the George Washington Bridge and headed towards “Hell’s Gate” where the Harlem and East rivers meet the Long Island Sound. On the return trip, the poker runners passed Yankee Stadium and Gracie Mansion, home to current New York City Mayor Eric Adams
The poker run afterparty took place at the Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar. Frenz returned to the Cove, N.Y., restaurant after a two-year hiatus, Jason Saris of Team Saris Performance Marine was inducted into the National Powerboat Association Hall of Fame. Saris ran the 37 Scarab KAAMA once owned by the late offshore legend Betty Cook.
“The (restaurant) had open arms and it worked out so well,” Frenz said. “I’m going to stick with them and go back there again next year.”
Frenz likes to dish out the awards at the afterparty and this year was no exception. The biggest prize is drawing the top poker hand and the $5,000 grand prize. That went to Tucker MacIntosh of Buffalo, N.Y., who pulled a four-of-a-kind by drawing four 10s. That should help put gas in his Fountain 35’ Lightning, which he ran in the National Powerboat Association event.
Nico Rispoli of Toms River, N.J., and his team won the “Best Looking Crew” award running his 357 Formula FAS3Tech. The “Best Looking Boat” trophy went to Joe Marino of Seaford, N.Y., and his family running a beautiful Cigarette Racing 42 Top Gun.
Gordon Stockwood earned the “The Furthest Traveled” award hauling his 37 Hustler Talon. Collecting the Mark Lavin Trophy was John Salerno of Fairfield, Conn., who ran a 357 Formula FAS3Tech. Other award recipients include New Yorker Billy Carrol receiving the Joe Sgro Trophy and Joey Castellana and his 388 Skater earning the Guy LaMotta Trophy. Chris Palma of Oceanside, N.Y., and his crew running a 38 Hustler V-bottom received the Stuart Hayim Trophy.
Frenz was happy with the overall event and praised his 25-year-old daughter, Allison, for bringing a new group of boaters to the New York event. The 2024 New York City Powerboat Rally will be August 24.
“We’re back on the map as a major event,” Frenz said.