Best known in go-fast boating circles for his outrageous Skater Powerboat catamaran builds—most recently a molten-hot 438—New Jersey’s Michael Ciasulli has joined the ranks of outboard engine-powered catamaran owners. On Thursday, Ciasulli and his wife, Elena, their twin 13-year-old girls, Ashley and Brianna, another couple and their two children will head to Key West, Fla., in a new eight-seat MTI 390X catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines as part of the Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run fleet.
Michael and Elena Ciasulli’s twin 13-year-old daughters will experience their first poker run next week in the family’s new MTI 390X catamaran.
“I wanted something with eight real seats and the MTI was the only boat in its class that checked that box,” said Ciasulli, who took a demo ride in a 390X with his wife, as well as MTI company owner Randy Scism, during the Super Cat Fest West and Desert Storm Poker Run events this spring. “It’s very nimble and I think it’s going to be a very fun boat. And my wife loved it. After the demo, she said, ‘You’ve got to do this.’
“Don’t me wrong, I loved my 438—it was very cool and very fast—and I would definitely build another Skater 368 or 388 if I could get it with eight seats,” he added. “I love Skaters. But the 438 is very big and it felt like you needed a crew to really operate it. It became too much for where I am now in my boating life. I don’t think this boat will require a lot of attention—MTI nailed it with this one.”
On Tuesday, the 39-footer went from Mark Morris’ Visual Imagination paint shop in Peculiar, Mo., to MTI headquarters a little more than three hours east in Wentzville. The MTI crew completed the cat’s rigging and interior installation and it will arrive at Haulover Marine Center in North Miami early next week.
Ciasulli, who has a history of ordering vibrant-red boats, had a good idea of what he wanted for graphics on his new 39-footer. But to finalize its fiery color scheme, Ciasulli worked closely with his longtime friend Jimmy McIntyre (the throttleman for the Supercat-class Chariots of Fire offshore racing team), MTI’s Tom Stuart and Wes Jones, and—of course—Mark Morris, who handled the paintjob. In turn, the upholstery crew at MTI carried those colors flawlessly into the catamaran’s interior.
Seating for eight played a major role in Ciasulli’s decision to purchase the 39-foot outboard engine-powered cat.
“The paintjob turned out ridiculous—it’s at another level,” Ciasulli said. “It is so deep with fades and stripes and metal flake, and Mark Morris is such a nice person to work with. I think he is the best painter in the industry.
“It’s probably the most extreme 390X the company has ever built,” he added.
Thursday’s trek to Key West in an MTI 390X won’t be the only “first” for Ciasulli. It will be the first time he and his wife have taken their daughters on a poker run.
“We’re going to take it easy and enjoy a nice run to Key West,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
And to Ciasulli’s unending delight, everyone in the boat will have a great seat.