Letters to the Editor

Sterling's response to a letter appearing in the July/August issue

I would like to apologize to anyone who has been offended by the recent TR7 shallow water ad.

The driving force behind the year-long TR7 design project was very simply to create a flats boat capable of running safely in unpredictably shallow water, without causing damage to the environment.

I had the opportunity years ago to ride through the Mosquito Lagoon in a homemade aluminum tunnel boat designed and fabricated by a very talented shallow water angler.  We were able to run almost anywhere in the lagoon.

We observed endless numbers of prop troughs in the grass beds and in the sand bottom throughout the lagoon.

It was obvious that from the extensive damage done to the lagoon, that more and more of the lagoon would become off limits to outboard powerboats.

The boat we were in was causing no damage to the bottom and I decided that day to create an environmentally friendly tunnel boat.

The TR7 research and development project first appeared to be a relatively simple process of refining my friend's aluminum tunnel boat.  Our design team unfortunately or fortunately became obsessed with solving all of the inherent bad characteristics of the current state-of-the-art tunnel design.  The design team created tunnels of every size and configuration possible.  The project continued nonstop for a year with endless hours of fabrication and water testing.  We were on the verge of giving up, when someone in our organization came up with the concept that finally gave us the breakthrough in every aspect of performance we had been determined to find.

We are very proud of our design and what it means to the sport of shallow water angling.  We deserve the right to display the capabilities of the TR7.  We had an ex-marine patrol person actually take us to the location in our ad.  We wanted to be in an out-of-the-way area where we would not intrude on anyone.  We wanted a shallow sand bottom to accurately demonstrate the depth of the water.  We originally set out crab traps and ran between the crab traps to provide a reference for the depth of the water.

The fisherman in the ad drove up to our location to see what we were doing.  We asked if he would like to be in a magazine ad, and his reply was "Look out Clint Eastwood!  This is my big chance!"  We asked him to run his boat onto the sand bank and run it aground, then get out, and stand next to it.  He did what we requested and then asked what we were going to do.  We told him we were going to run a boat between him and the island.  He laughed and said, "Ain't no boat made that can run between me and that island, but go ahead and make a fool of yourself if you want to."  When the TR7 easily ran by him, our friendly fisherman hollered and laughed and asked, "What the heck kind of a boat is that??"  He then said, "Everyone is going to want one of those".

We all enjoyed the process of filming the ad.  Throughout the process we never felt we were doing anything unsafe to the people involved or the environment.  The current trend in automobile, motorcycle, truck, atv, 4-wheel drives, etc. is to have the vehicles performing unusual activities to emphasize the performance attributes of the vehicle.  We naively assumed that it would be obvious that the photo was a staged event, designed to display the extraordinary performance of the TR7.

We are very disappointed that the safety and environmental advantages clearly displayed in the ad have been ignored.  We hope that the TR7 can contribute to the preservation of shallow water fishing areas and make the sport of shallow water angling safer, more productive, and more exciting in the future.

Sincerely,

Bob Ackerbloom
President, American Marine Sports