2. Speed Control
Since the late ’90s, speed control has been a staple of competition skiing. Top-level skiers and riders can tell when the boat speed is a quarter of a mile too fast or too slow. Getting the speed exactly right is essential for optimal performances. The feature gradually has migrated to all specialized inboard tow boats.
Being exact with the speed doesn’t only matter with competition types. Precise speed matters for all levels, even those water skiers and riders getting up for the first time. Removing the speed variable gives the driver the ability to concentrate on getting the skier up effortlessly and driving a straight, accurate path, without jerking or yanking the skier or giving slack line.
Today, competitive water skiing and wakeboarding have gone to GPS-based speed control like Zero Off ($1,290, zerogps.com). The progress on the high end is great for everyone since speed control, either in GPS version or rpm-based, is a common feature in inboard boats. The option is increasingly prevalent among sterndrive boat manufacturers. PerfectPass, the original speed control, is still a major player with its StarGazer series. MerCruiser and Volvo Penta offer speed control for their V-8s’ sterndrives. On its SmartCraft engines, MerCruiser offers GPS-based Smart Tow. Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) is an option on 2011 and newer V-8 Volvo Penta engines.