On any given day, you’ll find at least one go-fast boat at the docks of Gilbert’s Resort and Tiki Bar in Key Largo, Fla. It’s a popular haunt in the Upper Keys, made even more so as a favorite lunch stop for Florida Powerboat Club poker runs.
But if you happen to be there today, you’ll find the place swarming with high-performance center consoles, V-bottoms and catamarans thanks to the club’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run and Exhibit, which has made Gilbert’s its home-base for the weekend. Though most of the boats arrived Thursday, the show portion really kicked off yesterday, albeit slowly.
Said Florida Powerboat Club head Stu Jones, “Gilbert’s has proven to be the ideal venue.” Photos by Pete Boden/copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“It’s a cool boutique boat show,” said Randy Scism, the owner and founder of MTI in Wentzville, Mo. “For the first year, it is a good show and it should grow.”
By all accounts, it’s busy today. And getting busier.
“Today is the busiest day so far, but it’s not overcrowded by means,” said Ryan Johnson, speedonthewater.com’s national advertising sales manager, who is on hand to meet with clients and report on the inaugural event.
“We will see if the general public shows up today, but with over 100 boats registered for the poker run we have a lot of potential buyers there,” said Henrik Margård, the vice-president of production for Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats in Fort Myers, Fla., which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is the event’s presenting sponsor. “Overall, the traffic is good. We just took a deposit for hull No. 10 of our new 50-foot center console.
“The boat just debuted on Thursday and hull No. 10 is already on the books,” he added. “And nine of the buyers are Nor-Tech 450 Sport center console owners.”
Enjoy more images of the second day of the Florida Powerboat Club Miami Boat Show Poker Run and Exhibit in the slideshow above.
The display-and-demo fleet at the Gilbert’s docks is expansive and varied. Getting from the docks—all of which are limited to exhibitors this weekend—to Blackwater Sound for demos and coming back takes a bit of patience. Stu Jones, the president of the Florida Powerboat Club, is working hard to keep it all flowing as smoothly as possible.
“I feel like a parking lot attendant at times, protecting the docks for sponsors and trying to keep things from getting congested,” he said, then laughed. “Overall I’m very happy and Gilbert’s has proven to be the ideal venue. The vibe is casual and there’s live entertainment all day, and that keeps it very friendly and festive. The weather cooled off today. I think everyone is happy about that—there’s no rain in the forecast and a cold front pushed through. So it’s going to be in the low 70s today, which is fantastic.
“I hear that there are deals going on so I’m happy that most of the exhibitors have had good results,” he continued. “There also are a lot of newcomers to the club. It seems that the new blood is continuing to build our membership base and they are coming from all over the country.”
Demos will continue throughout the day, as well as tomorrow.