As is normally the case, the Florida Powerboat Club’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run, which takes place February 20-23, is expected to feature many of the boats showcased at the Miami International Boat Show just days after it ends. From exotic Marine Technology Inc. (MTI) catamarans to smoking-hot center consoles from Nor-Tech, Statement, Sunsation and more, there will be plenty of impressive new equipment to gawk at.
You can be sure performance boat enthusiast and well-known FPC member George Argyros will be checking out the latest and greatest at the lunch stop and the run’s final destination—Islamorada—while taking part in the event in his own “new” toy—a 2013 44 MTI with a pair of Mercury Racing 1100 engines.
Argyros, who hails from Southern California and has been participating in FPC events with his wife, Shannon, for several years in their Donzi 43 ZR, Donzilla, purchased the 44-foot catamaran with roughly 50 hours on it last December through MTI and was able to enjoy it just a few times before retreating to Utah for a couple of months this winter.
Back at his Florida residence on Useppa Island as of last week, Argyros said he is looking forward to his first poker run in the boat that was owned by FPC members Zane and Amanda Mead before they ordered another MTI. Argyros has no plans to get rid of his Donzi, which is powered by twin Mercury Racing 700SCi engines, in fact he’s planning on hauling the boat to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and keeping it at his home out there for spring and summertime use on Havasu and Lake Powell.
“We really only bought the cat to run it in poker runs,” said Argyros, who has a four-year-old son he lovingly refers to as “G3” since he’s G2 or George Jr. “It’s nicely appointed with a good amenities package, but it has no cabin and only six seats. We’re used to squeezing a bunch of people into the Donzi and running all day at 90 mph.
“My goal was to get a boat that had a little something extra yet was still manageable for Shannon and myself,” added Argyros, who also owns a more family friendly 35-foot Donzi center console with twin Mercury Verado 275 engines. “We looked at boats up to 48 and 52 feet, but for just her and I, and a few friends, the 44 is perfect. I know it’s not a boat that will be out there leading the pack—that’s not why we do this anyway. But we’ll be able to run a good pace—I’m sure we’ll keep it at 120 or 125 mph—and still have a lot left in it. That way if someone sneaks up alongside me I can let them know I’m not running that slow because I have to, it’s because I want to.”
Despite years of V-bottom experience, Argyros felt it was a good idea to complete the Tres Martin Performance Boat School so he took the course with his new catamaran in Sarasota, Fla., in December. He also took the boat out a couple of times with Tim Gallagher, MTI’s director of sales and marketing, to get some seat time and pointers.
There’s no doubt he’s excited about the poker run in two weeks. Having a new boat will do that to you. Having a new boat also makes you want to show off said boat to friends—and that’s exactly why Argyros is planning to bring the 44-footer out to Lake Havasu for the Desert Storm Poker Run in April.
“I think I have to bring it to Havasu just once to show all of my West Coast friends,” Argyros said with a grin.
For anyone who knows Argyros, it’s easy to picture his unforgettable grin. I can only imagine how big it’ll be when he pulls his 44 MTI The Mayhem into the docks at Gilberts in Key Largo for lunch. Will someone please send me a picture since I won’t be there to see it in person like I was in Key West just before he bought the MTI? (Check out the above photo with Teague Custom Marine’s Bob Teague.)
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com, and writes for Sportboat and Powerboating in Paradise magazines.