The Florida Powerboat Club’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run fleet powered right on past its longtime Post Card Inn/Holiday Isle destination in Islamorada to the Hyatt Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club in Marathon, Fla., for the first time this year. And while the famed Tiki Bar there always will hold a special place, albeit blurry at times, in the memories of longtime participants, the new venue was a big hit.
The 2017 Florida Powerboat Club Miami Boat Show Poker Run attracted a diverse fleet of catamarans, sportboats and center consoles. Photos courtesy/copyright Florida Powerboat Club
“I love the Faro Blanco, other than that it brings back memories of our Super Boat International Race last summer when I had a fire on board my raceboat,” said FB Marine Group’s Randy Sweers, who made the run in a 38-foot Statement Marine center console powered by triple Mercury Verado 300 outboard engines. "The quote of the weekend was 'slow and steady,’ as we cruised down at 50 to 55 mph. I had a great time with some old friends, and made some new ones.”
Running his brand-new Cigarette 39 GTS center console with four Mercury Marine Verado 350 engines, Miami Boat Show Poker Run veteran Bob Christie said the venue could not have been better. He also praised the staff members for their service.
“Hyatt did a great job with the hotel and the marina is first class,” he said. “The large staff at the dock was always looking to help out all the boaters. There were lots of great destinations for lunch runs. And Key West was only an hour away.”
According to Florida Powerboat Club president and founder Stu Jones, 65 boats registered for the event. Of those, 40 boats departed from various points on Biscayne Bay on Thursday. The remainder of the fleet departed for Marathon on Friday. The venue, Jones said, enabled him and his crew to create and maintain an intimate, yet casual good-time atmosphere throughout the weekend.
“Faro Blanco was set up with special attention to keeping our group together with a 40-by-60-foot event tent erected on the event lawn and another event tent under the lighthouse for the perfect ‘dockside bar’ that become the hangout for everyone near the boats,” he said. “Friday night was our dinner party, where we dined inside-and-out, then presented awards at 9:30 p.m. in several categories before awarding the top three hands. The party culminated with a fast and furious ‘night club’ vibe featuring acclaimed club DJ Stash from California.”
Saturday’s action included a fun run—complete with a photographer in a helicopter—to Bahia Honda State Park, under the Seven Mile Bridge and then returning to Marathon for lunch at the Island Fish Company. According to Jones, approximately 20 captains and their crews made even more of a day out of it and “took advantage of the calm seas and blasted to Key West for lunch.”
The 2017 Miami Boat Show Poker Run fleet included (some captured in the slideshow above) a 43-foot Blackwater center console (the event’s paceboat), a Cigarette Racing Team 39 GTS center console, three Deep Impact center consoles, a Nor-Tech 450 Sport CC, a 39-foot Midnight Express center console, a Predator 447 V-bottom and an Outerlimits SL 44.
Among the participants who day-tripped from Marathon to the nation’s southernmost city was Greg Weber of Mystic Powerboat sales, who was delivering a new M4200 luxury center console to its delighted owner. “It was the first poker run for the boat's owner,” Weber said. “We ventured out on Friday and went to Key West and back on Saturday.
“The owner was extremely impressed with the performance, handling and looks of the boat,” he added. “He’s looking forward to his next chance to show it off.”
A number of boats grouped up on Saturday afternoon to enjoy what Jones described as "perfect" conditions.
“By 2:30 p.m., there was an amazing raft-up party with about two dozen boats settled in the bay waters near Faro Blanco, thanks to Bob Berg and his 100-foot motoryacht, The Program,” Jones said. “Of course, the yacht had plenty of music thanks to DJ Stash.
“With a wedding on the outdoor lawn at Faro Blanco that evening, FPC had vowed to the resort staff that all the boats would be in the harbor and shut off so the bride and groom could enjoy their special day,” he continued. “Like clockwork and right on cue, the group broke up the raft up party at 4:30 and all the boats were in the harbor—with moments to spare—as the ceremony kicked off and went flawlessly, After all, who would want to deal with the wrath of a disgruntled bride? After the ceremony, the entire wedding party scrambled to the docks for photo sessions in front of the boats. When all was said and done, FPC members still steal the show everywhere they go.”