H1 Unlimited strives to be more transparent about what it is doing. Toward that end, the sport has introduced a new feature for hydro fans who sometimes question the calls that are made by the sport’s referees.
Whenever a referee calls a penalty—such as an encroachment call, a starting infraction, or a minimum-speed violation—the details of that ruling and evidence of the infraction are now posted on the H1 website. For a jump-the-gun call, for instance, you’ll see a photo of the boat crossing the start line and for a minimum-speed call you’ll see the chart from the data recorder that shows when and for how long the boat was below 80 mph.
Being more transparent also means admitting when a call is missed. For example, during Heat 2A of the Gold Cup in Guntersville this past weekend, there was an incident as the U-3 and the U-8 were heading into the first turn of the final lap. The drone image caught what looked like an encroachment violation by the U-3, but when the referees looked at it more closely during the final seconds as the race was ending, it was hard to determine with certainty whether the U-3 had cut off the U-8. As a result, a call was not made. But later, when officials looked at the video from the GoPro on the U-8’s wing, it was clear that the U-3 cut to the inside and didn’t leave a lane for U-8 as the boats were entering the turn. Here’s the video so you can see for yourself: https://youtu.be/6OvOQP6nEKM
Officiating the world’s fastest race boats can be a challenging task, especially when things are happening all over the racecourse at the same time. With drones watching overhead, we are much better than we were years ago, but sometimes things can still slip past. Still, the H1 referees prefer to get it right. We regret the error and can only promise to work harder in the future to get the races called correctly.
To see the details about penalty calls, go to the “Results” section of this website.