High-quality hardware in a top-notch setting—that was the bottom line on last weekend’s Florida Powerboat Club Tampa Bay Poker Run. With a final boat count of 40 go-fast catamarans and V-bottoms, the fleet included a pair of well-known 48-foot MTI, catamarans— Gino Gargiulo’s Lamborghini and Kenny Armstrong’s Phantom—as well as a variety of Skater Powerboats cats including Bill Pyburn’s new Pure Platinum, and high-end sportboats and center consoles from Cigarette Racing Team, Nor-Tech, Statement Marine and other noted builders. Friday’s Fun Run to the Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar was a big hit for the folks in the 25 boats that participated and set a great tone, according to FPC founder and president Stu Jones, for Saturday’s poker run.
While securing dock space traditionally has been the biggest challenge of planning the annual event, said Jones, that wasn’t’ an issue this year. “We really had no limitations thanks to the City Marina, and we only had to dock a couple of boats there,” he explained. “A week before the event, the dock master for the space in front of the Vinoy Hotel showed us that we could dock 30 boats there.”
For a look at some of the action from last weekend’s FPC Tampa Bay Poker Run event, check out the slideshow above. Photos courtesy/copyright Jerry Wyszatycki/Florida Powerboat Club
Jones said his biggest hurdle came in properly photographing and securing video of the poker run on Saturday. That’s because a number of boats jumped the start and didn’t wait for the photo helicopter.
“A couple of our members who tend to be ‘hammer down’ guys took off at the start before the helicopter got there,” he said. “They messed up our helicopter photo and video program, because by the time helicopter arrived to catch the start they were gone and a bunch of boats followed them. Fortunately, we were able to put the helicopter in the air again in the afternoon. I kept the helicopter in the air a little more than I should have, but thanks to Jay Pilini, who provided safety boats, we had some money left over to cover it. But we missed a great opportunity to capture the start.
“We still have a problem with people who are not paying attention during the captain’s meetings or missing them,” he added. “Not everyone is on the same page, and everyone needs to be on the same page during a poker run. So that threw us a little curveball in the beginning, but we worked it out and we had a great day. And we had some really beautiful boats.”