Offshore powerboat racing legend Bobby Moore died at the age of 80 on Sunday morning at his home in North Carolina. Moore is best known as the man who invented the throttleman’s position, which revolutionized the sport. In addition to racing boats he rigged, he built boats for nearly all of the top teams in the sport at his company Bobby Moore’s Custom Marine, which was based on the famous NE 188th Street in Miami.
In 1964, Moore was the chief mechanic for Dick Bertram at Bertram Yacht Company and the company’s offshore racing team earned some victories. Then Moore was recruited by Holman-Moody before eventually riding alongside the late Don Aronow and maintaining his raceboats.
In 1966, Moore was drafted and did a stint in Vietnam operating and maintaining boats during the war. When he returned to the U.S. and to racing, he was racing with Bill Wishnick in 1970. Even though the boats had power steering, it was difficult to drive, throttle and trim, so Moore convinced Wishnick to let him work the throttles and trim while Wishnick drove. The team won the national championship. The following year, the pair went to Europe with a new 32’ (9.75 m) Cigarette and won the first five races of the season.
He continued building his resume, winning races and championships until he stepped away from racing for about 10 years to build his custom rigging and service business.
Moore returned to racing and up through the late 1990s, he became one of the most successful throttlemen in the sport’s history, winning 12 national and world championships. He earned those accolades in 10 different boats and their owners/drivers.
Moore developed a reputation for building and throttling boats for the sport’s biggest class, Superboat. In 1989, he built, maintained and throttled a 48’ (14.63 m) Cougar catamaran, Eric’s Reality, which was owned and driven by Charlie Marks. The team took checkered flags in Fort Myers, Fla., and Grand Haven and Traverse City, Mich.
Two years later, Moore throttled another 48’ (14.63 m) Cougar cat, Spirit of the Amazon, which was owned and driven by Eike Batista. The pair took the boat victories in Chicago and Cocoa Beach, Fla., and was one the podium frequently during the season.
In 1996, Moore ran the 46’ (14.02 m) Skater, Nuff Respect, which was powered by four Mercury Racing 1,000-hp supercharged engines. He and owner Jim Robinson won the world championships in Key West, Fla., and at times, Bobby’s son Billy would fill in for Robinson in the cockpit. Billy Moore worked at his father’s company and today is a successful throttleman and rigger. Bobby Moore is also survived by his wife Joanne.