In the words of veteran boat racer Ruch Luhrs—a longtime friend of one of the greatest offshore racers in history, Bobby Moore, who died Sunday morning from recent health complications at his home in North Carolina—”Bobby Moore truly worked with and inspired the great ones.”
Legendary offshore racer Bobby Moore was proud of his accomplishment on the racecourse, but even more proud of his two sons, Bobby, Jr., and Billy (click to enlarge). Photo courtesy Billy Moore
Arguably one of the most influential and successful boat racers ever with at least a dozen national and world championships, Moore, 80, is survived by both his wife, Joanne, and his sons, Bobby, Jr., and Billy, who still races offshore—he currently throttles the CJ Grant/Graydel Supercat-class MTI—and works for Fountain Powerboats.
“A man of many accomplishments, Bobby is best known as the very first throttleman in offshore racing and the guy, along with Jack Stuteville, who raised the bar in raceboat rigging to an art form,” Luhrs wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend. “He had so many wins with so many owner drivers—that the list is long and iconic—but equally important is many of the techniques used in putting together today’s hulls came from his brilliant yet unassuming mind. He also was the master of the huge four-engine Superboat class and supported that in the face of strong headwinds. Even more notably, he made sure that his owner drivers were always safe and in a craft that stayed well within its limits, even as they walked away from the competition.
“His unique touch made champions out of folks like Stu Hayim, the Seahawks, Spirit of the Amazon, Charlie Marks, Bob Morgan, Bill Wishnick and so many others,” he continued. “He also was a mentor to champions like Joey Imprescia, Johnny Tomlinson and more. We worked on a couple of projects together and never have I met a more collaborative yet convincing partner.”
Billy Moore, who grew up on South Florida’s unforgettable 188th Street watching his dad rig, service, set up and test boats at his shop, Bobby Moore Custom Marine, told speedonthewater.com on Monday that he always knew his dad touched a lot of people, had a strong influence in the powerboat industry and was a successful racer, but to him Bobby Moore was just dad.
“I realized at an early age that my dad was talented; you know everyone has something they’re good at and his talent was definitely fixing, rigging, testing and racing boats,” said Moore, who was able to spend the last two weeks in North Carolina with his family after self-quarantining for a few weeks prior to the Easter weekend to make sure he didn’t have the coronavirus before going to stay with them. “It was definitely fun growing up on 188th Street—I always tell people it was a like being on a different planet. In a weird way it was normal though because that’s all we knew running around there as kids.
“I learned so much from my dad just sitting back and watching how he dealt with people and how hard he worked,” he continued. “He always tried to help people, it didn’t matter if they were competitors or not. He was very open and loved to share information if he felt like he could help. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that over the past few days. They all said ‘Your old man was always so helpful.’ No matter what, he tried to make time for people. And that was something he stressed to me growing up. First of all, he told me, ‘Son, if you can’t do something right, step back and figure out how to do it or ask for help.’ He stressed that I should provide assistance whenever possible because the time would come when I’d need help from someone else. At the end of the day, he pushed me to try my best. Whether it was rigging boats, racing or anything else, he’d tell me to always try my best and that if something is not right, make it right.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of Bobby Moore throughout the years. Photos courtesy Billy Moore, Andy Newman and Rich Luhrs
Moore said that losing his dad, who began his marine career as a mechanic for Dick Bertram and Bertram Yachts in 1964, is sad in a lot of many ways, but that there’s also some relief knowing that he didn’t have to suffer or endure a long painful process. He also said his mother, a strong woman, is doing great considering the circumstances.
“We’ve had some time to prepare for this mentally,” Moore said. “As close as he and I were, this is definitely a tough loss, but I feel like he’s in a better place. He molded me into the man I am today—he expected a lot from me and my brother—and I will continue to be the best person possible in his honor.”
Former Statement Marine co-owner Todd Werner, a friend of the Moore family, expressed his condolences on Facebook earlier today, writing, “Sorry Billy, your dad was everyone’s idol in the offshore world. But, to a son, he shaped your life. He was very proud of you. And that’s all that a dad wants is to be proud of his son. Enjoy your memories of him. He’s in a good place.”