Several years ago, as I became more involved in the administration of Hydro-Prop and then H1, somehow my vantage point for watching boat races transitioned from being in the grandstands in Detroit, the lakeshore in Seattle, the beach in San Diego and the along the straightaways in Madison and Tri-Cities to the pit area. One thing that I have come to realize is that, after virtually every heat of racing where more than one boat was on the water, our teams tend to disagree upon who did what to whom, and how our officials called or didn’t call penalties.
Having observed this phenomenon time and again, I came to the conclusion that officiating isn’t quite as easy as those of us who have never driven a hydroplane or officiated a race seem to think. Simply put, a penalty is in the eye of the beholder.
In an effort to give our H1 officials more tools to better assist them, we used drones in Detroit, and hope to use them much, much more in the future. In addition to using drones to assist in officiating, we intend to use them as a teaching tool, both for the officials and for the drivers and crews, so everyone might be able to have a better idea what is and what isn’t a penalty.
I’m the first to admit that the process is not perfect, and will not make excuses. However, despite all the technology available to the National Football League, which has many more resources available to it than does H1 (especially money), every week, there is some controversy over officiating, despite the existence of several camera angles covering the same play.
The purpose of this message is to convey the fact that we are trying to improve our product whenever and wherever possible. As long as there is a human element involved, we’re likely to get some disagreement. Being a lawyer, I like a good argument as much as the next person, but I don’t like arguing when I’m not able to bill for it. Thus, we will keep plugging away, and hopefully make progress sooner rather than later.