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Commentary: Ripples from Key West

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Old 11-21-2011, 11:45 AM
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The key west races left us very sad and simply put, shocked.
Whilst reading the article and the comments, I agree and disagree with your thoughts. I have both driven and throttled Key west and I can tell you this year was different in many ways. The water looked calm, but it wasnt. It was very difficult to read, it was hard to get the boat set as you normally can around the course. You had to be on your very , and I mean very best game to get it right every lap.
When you come to Key west, it brings something out in you. You push harder than you have all year, the competition level goes up off the charts..... The crowds are lined up down the wall..... the banter from the night before with fellow racers...
It all gives you a dangerous sense of invincibility!!!
What we need to remember is only 1 of the 7 accidents in Key west was at full high speed ( and probably only 135-140 mph).
5 of them were in a turning situation, and the other was a low speed stuff.
One thing you all were correct on: the safety systems of the race boats needs to be elevated. Some teams are already 90% there. EVERYBODY needs to be there!!

I have seen engine data on some of the Big boy Poker runners and whilst they have that 3-4 mile high speed run, most of it is spent at or below 1/2 throttle. So although they will run 180 its not very often.
We will never stop pushing the boundary in anything we do in life, whether it be speed, technology, heck even our cell phones. Its how we function!!
We can ask ourselves never ending questions like:
is it safe to run over 150 in an open boat?
Some will say yes, some no. the argument will never end.

Last night I was at Homestead watching Nascar. I was watching Tony Stewart put on the most amazing show of driving I think we will see in a longtime. However some of the moves he did at 180-190 mph were darn right dangerous!! 6" off the wall at 170 mph in a turn , four wide, in an aluminum shell. Now thats dangerous....... right??

I was driving home with a full car of people, on the turnpike, with 10,000 cars running 75 mph and everyone of them thought they could drive like Tony. I realized how dangerous that was once I got home!!!! phew!

I have been in a cab in NY city sat in the back with no seatbelt at 35 mph....... Ive never felt so endangered in all my life.

Ive been chased down a mountain by an avalanche where i thought was the most calm, relaxing and pristine spot on the planet. That was off the chart dangerous.

I have been thrown out of a race boat in turn one at key west at 75 mph whilst in the lead and listend to 20 other boats fly by me. Way too dangerous.

I have lost friends and family to illness and accidents that should have never happened.

No matter what we do in life its dangerous. Is running 200 mph in an open boat anymore dangerous than crossing the street in any major city?? If you look at the stats, probably not.


But.....If we stop doing what we love and what we thrive for. Life will get boring!!!

For some of you key west will forever change your lives and thoughts on speed. For most of us it will open our eyes, make us respect the water more, love our families a little more, create a safer boating enviroment and then make us want to push the boudary even further!!!
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcmarine View Post
The key west races left us very sad and simply put, shocked.
Whilst reading the article and the comments, I agree and disagree with your thoughts. I have both driven and throttled Key west and I can tell you this year was different in many ways. The water looked calm, but it wasnt. It was very difficult to read, it was hard to get the boat set as you normally can around the course. You had to be on your very , and I mean very best game to get it right every lap.
When you come to Key west, it brings something out in you. You push harder than you have all year, the competition level goes up off the charts..... The crowds are lined up down the wall..... the banter from the night before with fellow racers...
It all gives you a dangerous sense of invincibility!!!
What we need to remember is only 1 of the 7 accidents in Key west was at full high speed ( and probably only 135-140 mph).
5 of them were in a turning situation, and the other was a low speed stuff.
One thing you all were correct on: the safety systems of the race boats needs to be elevated. Some teams are already 90% there. EVERYBODY needs to be there!!

I have seen engine data on some of the Big boy Poker runners and whilst they have that 3-4 mile high speed run, most of it is spent at or below 1/2 throttle. So although they will run 180 its not very often.
We will never stop pushing the boundary in anything we do in life, whether it be speed, technology, heck even our cell phones. Its how we function!!
We can ask ourselves never ending questions like:
is it safe to run over 150 in an open boat?
Some will say yes, some no. the argument will never end.

Last night I was at Homestead watching Nascar. I was watching Tony Stewart put on the most amazing show of driving I think we will see in a longtime. However some of the moves he did at 180-190 mph were darn right dangerous!! 6" off the wall at 170 mph in a turn , four wide, in an aluminum shell. Now thats dangerous....... right??

I was driving home with a full car of people, on the turnpike, with 10,000 cars running 75 mph and everyone of them thought they could drive like Tony. I realized how dangerous that was once I got home!!!! phew!

I have been in a cab in NY city sat in the back with no seatbelt at 35 mph....... Ive never felt so endangered in all my life.

Ive been chased down a mountain by an avalanche where i thought was the most calm, relaxing and pristine spot on the planet. That was off the chart dangerous.

I have been thrown out of a race boat in turn one at key west at 75 mph whilst in the lead and listend to 20 other boats fly by me. Way too dangerous.

I have lost friends and family to illness and accidents that should have never happened.

No matter what we do in life its dangerous. Is running 200 mph in an open boat anymore dangerous than crossing the street in any major city?? If you look at the stats, probably not.


But.....If we stop doing what we love and what we thrive for. Life will get boring!!!

For some of you key west will forever change your lives and thoughts on speed. For most of us it will open our eyes, make us respect the water more, love our families a little more, create a safer boating enviroment and then make us want to push the boudary even further!!!
Couldn't have said it better! great post, and Matt i think old age is setting in!!!! maybe you should consider changing the name of your website, maybe cruisingspeedonthewater.com or something like that!
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:26 PM
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maybe you should consider changing the name of your website, maybe cruisingspeedonthewater.com or something like that!
LOL!
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by wcmarine View Post
The key west races left us very sad and simply put, shocked.
Whilst reading the article and the comments, I agree and disagree with your thoughts. I have both driven and throttled Key west and I can tell you this year was different in many ways. The water looked calm, but it wasnt. It was very difficult to read, it was hard to get the boat set as you normally can around the course. You had to be on your very , and I mean very best game to get it right every lap.
When you come to Key west, it brings something out in you. You push harder than you have all year, the competition level goes up off the charts..... The crowds are lined up down the wall..... the banter from the night before with fellow racers...
It all gives you a dangerous sense of invincibility!!!
What we need to remember is only 1 of the 7 accidents in Key west was at full high speed ( and probably only 135-140 mph).
5 of them were in a turning situation, and the other was a low speed stuff.
One thing you all were correct on: the safety systems of the race boats needs to be elevated. Some teams are already 90% there. EVERYBODY needs to be there!!

I have seen engine data on some of the Big boy Poker runners and whilst they have that 3-4 mile high speed run, most of it is spent at or below 1/2 throttle. So although they will run 180 its not very often.
We will never stop pushing the boundary in anything we do in life, whether it be speed, technology, heck even our cell phones. Its how we function!!
We can ask ourselves never ending questions like:
is it safe to run over 150 in an open boat?
Some will say yes, some no. the argument will never end.

Last night I was at Homestead watching Nascar. I was watching Tony Stewart put on the most amazing show of driving I think we will see in a longtime. However some of the moves he did at 180-190 mph were darn right dangerous!! 6" off the wall at 170 mph in a turn , four wide, in an aluminum shell. Now thats dangerous....... right??

I was driving home with a full car of people, on the turnpike, with 10,000 cars running 75 mph and everyone of them thought they could drive like Tony. I realized how dangerous that was once I got home!!!! phew!

I have been in a cab in NY city sat in the back with no seatbelt at 35 mph....... Ive never felt so endangered in all my life.

Ive been chased down a mountain by an avalanche where i thought was the most calm, relaxing and pristine spot on the planet. That was off the chart dangerous.

I have been thrown out of a race boat in turn one at key west at 75 mph whilst in the lead and listend to 20 other boats fly by me. Way too dangerous.

I have lost friends and family to illness and accidents that should have never happened.

No matter what we do in life its dangerous. Is running 200 mph in an open boat anymore dangerous than crossing the street in any major city?? If you look at the stats, probably not.


But.....If we stop doing what we love and what we thrive for. Life will get boring!!!

For some of you key west will forever change your lives and thoughts on speed. For most of us it will open our eyes, make us respect the water more, love our families a little more, create a safer boating enviroment and then make us want to push the boudary even further!!!
With all due respect, you need to go back and read what I actually wrote. As I said, I am not telling anyone else to be done. I'm saying I'm done being in boats at extreme speeds. What those speeds are depends on the boat and driver, and to my great good fortune I get to ride with some of the best, but trust me when I tell you that I will err on the conservative side.

At 150 mph, which is a very common speed hit during poker runs, you cover 440 feet in two seconds. Give or take 30 feet, that's a football field and a half. Yes, more often than not, nothing goes wrong. But that's rationalized skydiving logic as in, "Look how many jumps we do without incident compared to those we do without incident." And just as in skydiving, when things go bad in a boat high speed they go really bad."

Car accident statistics make zero sense in comparison. The numbers are too overwhelming. Yes, you have a greater chance dying in automobile at city speeds in a car than you do at high speeds in a boat. And the amount of time you spend in a car at city speeds in exponentially greater.

Your comparison using Tony Stewart doesn't hold for a number of reasons. First, how long do you think it took him to get to that level? How many years of racing, coming up through the ranks, do you think he put in? And while money isn't everything, how much do you think he's getting paid to put those skills—and his life—on the line every time he gets behind the wheel?

But I intentionally pulled the entire discussion out of the offshore racing world with this basic premise: If racers die at poker run speeds with "protective" canopies over their heads, what chance do passengers in open canopy boats have in the same horrible circumstances?

There is no reasonable argument about whether or not running 150 mph in an open canopy boat is dangerous. It is, and if you believe otherwise you're living in denial. I'm not denying anyone the right to make a dangerous choices, but I am suggesting, strongly, that those choices be informed.

Why do you think most (I won't say all because I don't know that) insurance companies won't insure really fast boats? With all due respect what do you know that they don't?

I understand your passion for pushing the limits, wc, I really do. I'm a former extreme sports guys, albeit an aging one (and thank you so much for pointing that out, pstorti). And I don't know you personally so I won't suggest you change whatever your approach is to risk. But risk management, as insurance agents and NASCAR drivers will tell you, is about making informed choices based on the hard and unromantic facts.

As for speedonthewater.com, it will do just fine with its name as is. As I said, I'll still cover big speed. I just won't do it first person.

Last edited by Matt Trulio; 11-21-2011 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:15 PM
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Matt, I was not attacking you. I was simply stating that there are dangers in everything we do in life.
As for insurance comapanies... Im not an expert!!!
Racers died at poker run speeds, but not in a poker run scenario!!! Trust me on this one. Comparing a race to a poker run doesnt hold either!
Please dont be offended or upset. I just wanted to add my .02 cents as a fellow racer who has raced at "poker run" speeds in Key west many times.
By the way...... I think you are nuts for skydiving!! Now thats crazier than running at any high speed in any boat!!!!!
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:01 PM
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I too feel this has been an awfull last couple of weeks, it hit way too close to home, period.

Out of all this sadness and inner thought contemplating, I keep coming back to three main thoughts:

A) What would the participants that were lost, think and how would they want people to feel and react to what happened.

B) What changes can we make that will help the sport move forward and make the boats and occupant more safe,

C) How do we keep the sport itself alive from outside sources that may not understand what is involved. In addition to that, how do we keep our own motivated to move forward and save what we all love best.

The risks we all take, can only be measured against what we are comfortable with. Some are willing to put it all out on the line, others don't. I feel it is up to each person to figure out that line, and no matter what the choice is, we must all respect it. That is as long as it does not effect the people around them adversly. (safety)

I will be the first to admit, I have not figured out all the answers, but the little voices in my head, I hope send me in the right direction...
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by wcmarine View Post
Matt, I was not attacking you. I was simply stating that there are dangers in everything we do in life.
As for insurance comapanies... Im not an expert!!!
Racers died at poker run speeds, but not in a poker run scenario!!! Trust me on this one. Comparing a race to a poker run doesnt hold either!
Please dont be offended or upset. I just wanted to add my .02 cents as a fellow racer who has raced at "poker run" speeds in Key west many times.
By the way...... I think you are nuts for skydiving!! Now thats crazier than running at any high speed in any boat!!!!!
Hey WC,

Didn't feel at all attacked. I do know where you are coming from. I just wanted to be clear about the point I was trying to make, which, oddly enough, had very little to do with racing, in which guys like you presumably know the risks, and more about high-performance pleasure boating, where we've gotten awfully casual about some serious speeds.

As for skydiving I quit 13 years ago about a month after my daughter was born. (Funny, my son, who was born four years before her, didn't have that affect on me.) I have some great memories from those days and, as you'd expect, some not-so-great ones.
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:22 PM
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Since it was brought up... isn't skydiving statistically a pretty safe sport? Now, hang-gliding... that's another story.
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:16 PM
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...There is no reasonable argument about whether or not running 150 mph in an open canopy boat is dangerous. It is, and if you believe otherwise you're living in denial....
First strictly speaking on the "Pleasure Boat" side of this equation, not the Racing Side.

Most who have the resource to be able to go those speed will not argue with you, and make their decision and bed and sleep in it.

But a lot of people make very broad statements of unenforceable phantom "they shouldn't build..." or "the manufacturers shouldn't..." nature. What they fail to recognize is that demand and the free market makes the realization of these boats possible. If someone wants one they will figure out a way to get one, sorta of like Don Aronow did pushing the envelope building his own.

Most in favor of "criminalizing" these boats made the choice of not getting in that club, what gives them the right to restrict the freedom of another individual to do so?

Also I suspect a lot of them do not really have a choice to be in that club or not... Sort of like saying I would not bang Carol Alt cause she's too tall... Sure but did she ask you to bang her...

This guy is a lot smarter and explains that concept much better than I can...

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCBbosq9-RI&[/YOUTUBE]
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:19 PM
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The "Racing Side" is another story all together, regulating racing to the level experts talk about here will kill Offshore Boat Racing in the US and simply make it disappear.

My guess is not even three boats in Key West fill the requirements people talk about here. Who would go to Key West for that. Look at how much biatching there is about the Gieco Cat running by itself all year for all the "experts".
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