Watching 50 high-performance powerboats descend on Gilbert’s Resort and TIki bar for lunch in Key Largo, Fla., never fails to impress. The waterside establishment doesn’t have nearly enough dock space to accommodate 50 boats in their own slips, so that means the catamarans, V-bottom sportboats and center consoles have to raft up—side by side—to one another. And sometimes those raft-ups can be 10 boats deep.
The first day of the 2019 MTI Fun Run to the Florida Key attracted what could be the largest gathering of MTI catamarans and center consoles in one place in the Wentzille, Mo., company’s history (click image to enlarge). Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The scene becomes particularly impressive when the boats are all the same brand, and such was the case this afternoon during the first day of the fourth annual MTI Owners Fun Run to the Florida Keys. Stopping at Gilbert’s for a lunch break on its way to its weekend headquarters at the Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club in Marathon, the fleet featured the most popular models, from the 340X sport catamaran to the V-57 catamaran, the Wentzville, Mo., custom high-performance boat builder offers .
The roster of participants this weekend is pretty much a who’s who of longtime and well-known MTI clients including Gino Gargiulo of New York, who joined Wisconsin’s Don Verkuylen, who bought Gargiulo’s Lamborghini-themed 52-foot MTI catamaran last year, and friends in the run. Oklahoma’s Derek Wachob brought his Black Diamond-themed 52- and 34-foot catamarans. Todd Campbell, who serves as a board member for the Hartwell Lake Poker Run in South Carolina, and his wife, Debby, brought their V-57 center console and a gaggle of friends for the run.
For a closer look at today’s action, check out the slideshow above.
Other MTI client notables included Bob and Debbie Bull in their former 52-foot CMS offshore world championship-winning canopied catamaran, which has been converted to an open cockpit boat for pleasure use. Coming all the way from the West Coast, Mark and Jennifer Schouten and friends ran El Gato Patron, the Schouten’s 43-foot MTI cat, in the opening day of the event, which started at Haulover Marine Center in North Miami this morning. And the list of well-known MTI clients, including John O’Neil of Atlanta, who also participated today coming, goes on and on.
Tomorrow, the fleet divides into two groups—one will head north for lunch in Islamorada, the other will take off for lunch in Key West. (Speedonthewater.com chief photographer will shoot the Islamorada group from a helicopter tomorrow.) Come Saturday, the group destinations will be reversed, but Boden will once again capture the Islamorada-bound group.
The author (front left in cockpit) was all smiles with Bob and Madelyn Christie and their friends in the Christie’s 340X catamaran.
Look for a recap of day No. 2 of the MTI Owners Fun Run to the Florida Keys on Speedonthewater.com tomorrow.