Friday, August 14, 2009

Whatever Happened to Offshore Powerboat Racing? Matt Trulio Post Strikes a Chord with Offshore Boaters

When I first read Powerboat Magazine Editor Matt Trulio's post about offshore powerboat racing on Boats.com - Whatever Happened to Offshore Powerboat Racing? - I had to say there were a lot of things I was forced to agree with. You can't argue that the sport isn't struggling somewhat in the current world economy - but what is troubling is that a lot of the troubles are political and inherent to the sport: Team rivalries (Class 1), money and support (OSS) are just a couple of examples of the problems we are seeing now. Like any sport where strong personalities, significant amounts of money and complex rules may come into play, the results can often be less than desirable.

A lot of expectations have been set for this fall's CBS telecasts of Super Boat International races, and everyone is wondering how the product will look to television audiences. As Trulio points out in his article, those who have followed the sport through its ups-and-downs over the years are adopting a wait-and-see attitude; many just don't see the sport appealing to a mainstream audience - at least not the way it is currently constituted.

When I first started this thread about this story on the Serious Offshore forum, I thought it might provoke some comment from the die-hard racing enthusiasts there on the board. [to actually read the thread, you'll have to register, but it is FREE] Well, I was right. Current racers, fans and some of the most respected people in the sport (Rich Luhrs, Brownie and Trulio himself) have logged on to offer their thoughts on the subject, as have many others.

Surprisingly, this thread has also been one of the most civil and well-thought out conversations about powerboat racing we've seen in a while...many similar "discussions" about the racing scene have quickly dissolved into personal attacks and bitter recollections of the past. So far, we've seen some positive ideas brought out, a general consensus that some type of consolidation is critical, agreement that strong central leadership is a must, and a realization that some fresh ideas are badly needed.

PHOTO CREDITS: (above) woodenboat.com (Trulio) boats.com.

I would recommend that you register at SOS, read through the posts and see what you think. If nothing else, it will give you a valuable look at the landscape of offshore powerboat racing - especially in the U.S., and some insights to how we got to where we are now. More thoughtful discourse like this won't solve the problem by itself, but it may help point us to some solutions that will benefit powerboat racing worldwide. Anything we can do to make it better will help - let us know what you think!

2 comments:

Ted said...

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Matt Trulio said...

Many thanks for the support. I don't think problem-solving can be effective unless you assess the problem at hand as honestly and objectively as you can.

I used to have a skydiving coach who'd tell our team, every morning before we got started, "Let's not make the same old mistakes today. Let's make some new mistakes."

That's been a big problem for offshore racing: The sport keeps making the same mistakes.

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