Stu Jones wants you to have a great time on your performance boat, and the mission of the Florida Powerboat Club is to facilitate that experience. The FPC was founded by Jones in 1993 as a membership-driven organization to promote safe, responsible powerboating in a group setting. The original idea was to explore Florida venues with other boaters who have a passion for the performance-boat lifestyle, and with the support of sponsors that include Mercury Racing, that has not changed over the years. Today the FPC hosts poker runs and fun runs, and rendezvous at major boat shows and other events throughout Florida, the Keys and the Caribbean. The FPC welcomes novice and veteran boat owners at its events, and emphasizes an inclusive atmosphere that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds and cultures that share a passion for Wide Open pleasure boating.
The Florida Powerboat Club promotes community among performance-boat owners. Its other mission is to take the hassle out of the weekend. The FPC provides a structured event and organizes the docks, the hotels, the fuel, the course, the food and the party. At most events a photographer is on hand to capture images of participating boats in action on the water. Events range from one-day to seven-day excursions. Most trips favor fair-weather, calm-water conditions. Events are cancelled and/or re-routed in cases of foul weather. Some participants are looking for fun competition and want to show off their boat and their skills. Others are there just to be around the scene; they may not have a jaw-dropping boat, but the FPC puts people from different social and economic levels in the same playground, with just a few rigid rules regarding safety.
Boats in the Florida Powerboat Club include offshore sport, center console and performance style vee-bottoms and catamarans, in single to quad engine configurations. Top speeds range from 50 mph to 180 mph. Average cruising speeds are 50 to 60 mph. New classes have been introduced for boats with cruising speeds close to 100 mph. The FPC recognizes that safety is an element of fun, and utilizes limited but rigid rules – and peer pressure – to keep participants secure.
Mercury Racing recently teamed up with Florida Powerboat Club’s Stu Jones in the transformation of the model-year 2000 Cigarette 38 Top Gun into a modern pace boat for use at FPC events. Project 1080 repowered the boat with Mercury Racing 540 sterndrives , Mercury Racing Digital Zero Effort Controls and Bravo One XR sterndrives spinning Mercury Racing Lab Finished Bravo I propellers. Integrated Transom Systems (ITS) featuring integral steering rams provide a clean installation of the XR drives. K-Plane trim tabs assist in getting the classic vee-bottom up on plane as well as adjusting hull attitude while underway. Vital engine and hull data is provided via a touchscreen Mercury 703 VesselView monitor. The point of the project was to create a boat with classic lines and modern power and controls.