1903 Season Summary [From The Rudder]

The Racing of Power Boats

by E. W. Graef

The season just closing has been very interesting in its Power-boat racing features, there having been so many new racing machines built, although but few of them came together at the different racing events, owing to the fact that each had a local reputation as being the fastest boat on record, and none of them wished to lose that reputation. It is singular thing that in almost every case they are very much overrated locally, and when they get into an actual race they do not make anything like the mileage claimed for them at their very best speed.

It is really laughable to read the newspaper reports of some of these wonderful boats going thirty or forty miles an hour. In the same issue you may read where they have raced, their time over the course is given, and the length of it is also given, and if you figure it out, possibly you cannot make one-half that speed out of it. it is a burning shame how many of the fifteen, eighteen and twenty-mile boats are easily beaten by honest 12-mile boats, and the bad reputation its honest owner gets for lying and underrating his speed as the other owners will claim. I think it is not fair towards the public and the sport of power-boating to allow this speed-lying to go unnoticed, so I cannot but help in giving the speed liar a shot, and I sincerely hope it will strike home and stop this exaggeration.

It was only a few days ago that a yachtsman came into this office and said to me that he thought it strange that THE RUDDER Did not give reports of the many fast speed launches he constantly read about in the daily papers, and he cited a case where he had read of a thirty-foot boat containing a 12 h.p. engine which had made a great run at the rate of 22 miles an hour, and how they expected to get 25 miles out of her when they changed the shape of the propeller. Now, as it happened the boat he referred to really did make an honest mile at the rate of 12 3/4 miles per hour, which was very good, but not so exceptionally fast as to warrant THE RUDDER to come out with startling headlines on the subject, especially as the engine it contained was a very poor one, and had never run a continuous 25 miles without stopping or giving trouble of some kind, as I told this yachtsman, that THE RUDDER purposely did not take any notice of that particular boat because THE RUDDER is a good, clean and truthful yachting magazine, and so long as I have anything to do with it, the power department will be kept so; consequently you all can feel safe when reading it, that it is the truth, even when it comes to the speed of power-boats.

There has recently appeared in a number of the daily papers a report of a racing machine which made forty and forty-five miles an hour, with a very vivid description of her having easily beaten most all of the fastest steam boats and yachts, even saying that she had a run with the Arrow and held her, and numerous other feats. This boat is the Standard, made by the builders of the Standard Engine, and I will give the reader an opportunity to judge the difference between the truth and some newspaper reports, for you will find the truthful description and actual speed of this really interesting speed launch in the following pages. [Article on Standard to be added later]

(Transcribed from The Rudder, Oct., 1903, p. 543. )

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Report Of American Power Boat Association

by John H. McIntosh, Secretary

In submitting this, the first annual report of the American Power Boat Association, I think we can look with satisfaction at the result of our first racing season, and feel that a great step forward has been made for the benefit of power boats, and for the good of the sport of racing them. With increasing interest among the clubs, and good-natured rivalry astir among individuals, and the contemplated building of many racing crafts for next season, the future of our Association looks most bright. Applications for membership are encouraging, and the financial condition satisfactory. The Marine Motor Association of Great Britain has paid us the compliment of adopting our table of time allowances, and after several trials of it expressed their satisfaction of its correctness. Many clubs who are not members of our Association have done us the honor of holding races under our rules, from some of which we have received applications for membership, and from others letters of praise for our work and expressions of their general satisfaction with the fairness and correctness of our rules, rating, and time allowances.

Our racing season was opened by the Columbia Yacht Club, of New York, on June 20. The weather was most disagreeable, being cold and rainy. Five classes were filled. The course was a triangular one of 8 miles in view of the clubhouse. In class B there was a misunderstanding in starting, and this class was resailed on June 27th over a ten-mile course. Of the other classes two were composed of yacht tenders, and the balance were mostly cabin cruisers. The best time was 8 knots in 54 minutes and 10 seconds. The race of the tenders was most interesting, two sailing the entire course and finishing 8 seconds apart.

The second race was held by the Indian Harbor Y.C. on July 28. For this event there was gathered together a most interesting number of boats, but the weather was almost too stormy for them to start. However, a start was made, but only two boats finished, as the northeast gale compelled the balance to withdraw. (We are not in receipt of the record of these two boats.)

The race scheduled by the Hempstead Harbor Y.C. was also postpones on account of storm, August 5. On August 13 the Atlantic Y.C. had their day of races with perfect weather conditions, light air and smooth sea, and on this occasion were seen for the first time the launches Standard and Express. I speak of these particularly, for they are of the distinct racing type, and have been much heard of hereabouts. Their time over the 12½-knot course will be seen to be good. The actual number of boats that crossed the starting line was reduced by several on account of some little mishaps a few minutes before the starting signal, which was unfortunate, but the race, however, was a great success and witnessed by many people from the clubhouse.

The Brooklyn Y.C. had a large entry list for August 29, but the weather was unfavorable, and the race for all classes except class H was postponed until September 2. Class H brought together the launch Adios, from Syracuse, and the Standard, of New York. Both of these boats are of the racing types, rated close to one another, and it was the only opportunity for the Standard to meet anything of her type during the season. The sea was rough and the wind strong, and the spectacle of the start of these boats can be imagined when it is borne in mind that the winning boat covered the course of 10½ knots in 34 minutes and 17 seconds, and they crossed the starting line close together. It was a sight well worth seeing.

On September 2 it was impossible for most of the boats entered for the race of August 29 to attend, but the contest was held and much enjoyed. The course was 13 miles and the weather conditions good.

The next races were held by the American Yacht Club on September 5, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and were most interesting contests. The morning was devoted to an endurance contest, the speed part of which was calculated according to our rules, and the endurance rules were furnished by the club. No other race of the season brought forth such interest, argument and enjoyment than this contest, and I think that in the development of this class of racing this Association will find much usefulness. The course in the morning was 21 miles with a smooth sea and little wind. Each boat came with three men aboard, and by drawing lots the representative of one boat became a judge of the motor on another boat. He was furnished with instructions before the start as to what he should report upon, and after the races furnished the committee with his written report of the operations of the motor. Such trials cannot help to bring out the good and bad points of a motor and the data obtained is of great value.

The afternoon contest was for speed only. The course was 10½ knots. Soon after all of the classes had gotten away a very heavy storm came up and shut in so dark that it was difficult for the boats to find their turning marks, yet some good time was obtained and some close finished made.

The last contest was held on September 12th by the Knickerbocker Yacht Club, which was most disappointing as only four boats came to the starting line, and only two finished. The committee had arranged a splendid course, and the weather was ideal. On this occasion there were a great many good power boats under way within sight of the committee boat, but they could not be induced to enter the contest, claiming they were not racing types. I would like to remind boat owners that these ideas that our time allowances are calculated to bring all types of boats together on an equal basis and gives a fair opportunity of winning, and it is only from the data obtained by all classes of craft going into a contest that we can correct and improve our tables and rules.

I do not wish to close this report without expressing the thanks of the Association to the various clubs for the races they have held this season, and the appreciation of the courtesies they have extended to our members.

(Transcribed from The Rudder, November, 1903, p. 588. )