I've been reading all of this with keen interest. I must admit, I agree with most of it. Especially what MrOffshore said about not having just one answer.
Both MrOffshore and Chuck made a great point about speed. While it's true that most teams don't want to go any slower, I think most teams would agree that we would rather slow down as opposed to running a canopy. Everybody screams about how much we have to weigh, but a heavier boat can be a stronger boat.
While a bit off topic, Chuck also makes a great point about the GM Vortec 496 as opposed to the Merc 500HP. I'm all for better factory support from the engine manufacturer. Look at what GM is doing for the new SVL classes. Then consider that most of us racers pay the same price that the average buyer does for our 500HP, we advertise the chit out of Mercurys product, but we get no warranty. As for speed, consider that the 496 is about 60 crankshaft horse less than the Merc HP and you have a slower boat. Let's say we lose 5mph. I'm thinking 5mph can make quite a difference here.
I do agree with Mark in that a new SVL boat is not a whole lot more money than a comperable new Factory 1 boat, but it is more money. On the other hand, as Randy stated, the resale value sucks. And, for those of us that are on the bottom of the barrel when it comes to budget, At least I can take my Factory 1 boat to the lake and tan fat, test, have some fun. Tough to do in a canopy boat unless you have a crew with you and spotters around you to watch all the other lake traffic.
Now look at the post by Audacity. Great points here. Ask yourself this, Factory class racing has become possibly the fan favorite of all the classes, (yes, even including Supercat). Why? because their boat looks just like that Formula or Fountain on the race course. I know owners of both of these boat models and others that have expressed that exact sentiment.
I realize there is "nothin stock about a stock car", but they look like the same car that sits in their driveway. They know that underneath it's a whole different animal, but look at how many Monte Carlos have #3 and #24 in the rear glass, or how many Ford Taurus have a tag frame that says, "My other vehicle is the big brown truck".
Like Audacity said,
"Don't change the class that's bringing offshore racing more into the mainstream and into more households with increased exposure".
I will not disagree that there are safety issues, but there are other alternatives. And after all, This is RACING.
[ 01-29-2002: Message edited by: Gordo ]