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  1. #1
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    Driver and throttle man. Why?

    Went to the offshore powerboat races today in key west. I'm still scratching my head as to why they all run a driver and a throttle man. I can see it in the older open boats where both operators are in standing position, but just don't get it for the canopy boats where there seated. Is it just nostalgia? Are there any other motorsports with more than one operator?
    Can some racers or others in the know chime in and inform me please?

  2. #2
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    Throttle also navigates

  3. #3
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    Offshore racing involves a lot more attention to steering, throttle and trim than anything you’ve ever experienced in recreational use. The throttleman controls the attitude and speed allowing the driver to focus on direction. Remember, they are running 100 mph + on a road with moving potholes, speed bumps and frost heaves, the driver need to be able to respond in milliseconds to ever changing conditions so there’s no time to be working the throttle and tweaking the trim. IMHO, to go fast safely is a 2 person job. Some have insisted on doing both but historically they have rarely been successful. I suppose there have been exceptions but they very few and far between.
    Mark

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw930 View Post
    Some have insisted on doing both but historically they have rarely been successful.
    Bob Nordskog and Reggie Fountain, handled both driving duties


    is gone


  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BUZZIN' DOZEN View Post
    Bob Nordskog and Reggie Fountain, handled both driving duties
    And a few more that I know of but you can count them on one hand. These men are legends because they possessed a level of skill that set them apart.

    The reality is most who compete do not possess these legendary skill but if they hire a professional driver or throttleman the combination is competitive and the guy writing the check gets to experience the thrill of a lifetime.
    Mark

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw930 View Post
    Offshore racing involves a lot more attention to steering, throttle and trim than anything you’ve ever experienced in recreational use. The throttleman controls the attitude and speed allowing the driver to focus on direction. Remember, they are running 100 mph + on a road with moving potholes, speed bumps and frost heaves, the driver need to be able to respond in milliseconds to ever changing conditions so there’s no time to be working the throttle and tweaking the trim. IMHO, to go fast safely is a 2 person job. Some have insisted on doing both but historically they have rarely been successful. I suppose there have been exceptions but they very few and far between.
    I sort of understand that, but can't imagine a scenario where two unconnected brains can react faster than one at the controls.
    Rally racing and air racing come to mind, especially air racing with an extra axis in play. Both only require one operator. Rally having the extra person only as a navigator.
    Then those same boats achieving the same speed can be had in "pleasure" form I would imagine all of those are set up for a single operator.
    I still can't wrap my head around the concept.

  8. #7
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    There is no way that 1 person can accurately monitor gauges, trim, throttle and drive on these new mini courses that make up todays offshore. The old days of racing allowed the boats to spread out but that is no longer the case when you have two and three classes on a short course at once. Two sets of eyes are way better then one when you have boats on both sides of you going into sharp turns as well.

    You need to go for a few laps and it would become clear.

    Joe

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  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPEROG View Post
    There is no way that 1 person can accurately monitor gauges, trim, throttle and drive on these new mini courses that make up todays offshore. The old days of racing allowed the boats to spread out but that is no longer the case when you have two and three classes on a short course at once. Two sets of eyes are way better then one when you have boats on both sides of you going into sharp turns as well.

    You need to go for a few laps and it would become clear.

    Joe
    If this is true then there is huge flaw in basic design. Have you ever seen inside the cockpit of a fighter jet? Or just the helmet, with the heads up display?
    Your right I need a couple laps in one but I doubt it would change my opinion. Maybe it's just me, my mind is stuck. One vehicle, one operator.

  11. #9
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    A lot is about how the controls have evolved. Both aircraft and cars are optimized for single operator control. Boat controls have come a long way and with the advent of drive by wire I think you will see more being rigged for single operator control.

    The split brain issue is one that has always been a challenge but with enough practice, experience and communication a team can act as one. Each person knows exactly what the other will do based on the conditions.

    As I said above, it’s highly likely technology will change the sport over time.
    Mark

  12. #10
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    Way too much racket going on for 1 guy. It takes some skill and experience to compete with 2 nevermind win..
    Quartershot T-3R 15" 3.5L E-Tec 1.62 Sportmaster


  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whaaaaat View Post
    If this is true then there is huge flaw in basic design. Have you ever seen inside the cockpit of a fighter jet? Or just the helmet, with the heads up display?
    Your right I need a couple laps in one but I doubt it would change my opinion. Maybe it's just me, my mind is stuck. One vehicle, one operator.
    Planes have ejector seats, heads up display and can hold a coffee in their hand while flying

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPEROG View Post

    You need to go for a few laps and it would become clear.

    Joe
    +1. The sensory overload in a race environment, especially on these new short inshore courses, is intense.
    Mark

  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPEROG View Post
    There is no way that 1 person can accurately monitor gauges, trim, throttle and drive on these new mini courses that make up todays offshore. The old days of racing allowed the boats to spread out but that is no longer the case when you have two and three classes on a short course at once. Two sets of eyes are way better then one when you have boats on both sides of you going into sharp turns as well.

    You need to go for a few laps and it would become clear.

    Joe
    I've seen 6 people in one boat, at idle speed, that couldn't park a vessel to save their lives if needed be, let alone 2 that drive a race course at speed with wind, waves, competing boats, buoys, etc. Much respect to these men!

  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whaaaaat View Post
    If this is true then there is huge flaw in basic design.
    Then write the check and prove them all wrong! Don’t get on the internet and bash guys who are at the forefront of their sport...

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  18. #15
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    I think he’s just looking at it from the outside and asking an honest question. The same question I asked 20 years ago when I was introduced to the sport. All it took was some testing laps with a top tier team to realize the system is there for a reason and for the most part it works.
    Mark

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