1906 Riverton Y.C. Regatta
Riverton Y.C. Power Boat Race
The annual Fall regatta of the Riverton Y.C. took place on Saturday last, over the club's course on the Delaware River at Riverton, N.J., about nine miles up the river from Philadelphia. The course is an ideal one for the racing of power boats; and, if the Gold Cup is raced for at Riverton next year, the contestants will be assured of a course clear of obstructions and with practically no traffic to hinder the racers. The course starts and finishes off the clubhouse , and the first leg being upstream, about three miles, to a buoy off Torresdale, Pa., thence back across the starting line and down stream, about two and a half miles, to a buoy off Bridesburg, Pa., and return to the starting line. The course has been carefully surveyed, and one circuit is exactly 11 statute or 9.55 nautical miles.
The Riverton Y.C. is one of the oldest clubs in the country, having been founded in 1865; and is at present very much in the public eye on account of the controversy concerning the Gold Challenge Cup of the American Power Boat Assn. Sparrow, the craft which has been awarded the cup by the Regatta Committee in charge of the races of the Assn., after considerable discussion relative to the protest against Chip II, is enrolled in the Riverton Y.C., and was the challenger for the trophy.
Owing to the lateness of the season and perhaps to a wholesome fear of Sparrow, but seven boats appeared, prepared to race in Saturday's races, and were divided by the Regatta Committee, composed of R. B. Clark and J. H. Reese, into two divisions. Class A, for the smaller craft, and Class B, for the larger and faster boats. The first class to go once around the course, and the large class to go twice around.
In the smaller class were placed four boats; Azel, a 16-ft. canvas covered boat, equipped with a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke Rice engine rating at 6.27 h.p.; Trude, a Delaware River one-design boat, designed and built by E. H. Godshalk & Co., and equipped with a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke Hubbard engine rated at 14.1 h.p.; Hooray, a duplicate of the above mentioned craft, but the regular stock single-cylinder, 2-stroke Giant engine, instead of the Hubbard outfit; and the fourth boat was It, a Dolphin model, with a 4cylinder, 4-stroke Buffalo engine rating at 12.82 h.p.
The entries in the second class were: Sparrow, too well known to need any description; Blue Peter II, a somewhat similar craft to the Blue Peter I, and equipped with a Holmes engine; and Capertoon, a last season's boat, with a new Williamson engine.
As most of the boats rated under the auto-boat rating, the committee decided to classify all the boats under what has become known as the cruiser rating, using a constant, in calculating the rating, of 3 for 4-stroke engines and 2.25 for 2-stroke engines, instead of 2 for 4-stroke and 1.5 for 2-stroke engines, as in the auto-boat class.
At the suggestion of the owner of Sparrow, the committee proposal to race the boats in the second class as a free-for-all or without time allowance; but the other owners decided not to do so, and the race was run on the regular time allowances.
The starting gun for Class A was fired at 3.27.33 p.m., and the little one-design Hooray having the largest allowance got off for a good start, followed by the canoe Azel at 3.30, some 15 seconds behind the gun. Trude the other one-design 20-footer had 4 min. 4 sec. over the Dolphin model It, and got off for a good start. It, the last boat in the class to start, went over the line with engine skipping badly, and finally broke down about a half-mile from the start and withdrew from the contest.
The last of the small class having been sent away, the starting gun for the second division was fired at 4.00 p.m., and Sparrow the boat of lowest rating went over the line for an almost perfect start. One minute and twenty-five seconds later Blue Peter II went over the line on the gun, and then came a long wait for the start of Capertoon, which craft allowed Sparrow 23 min. 02 sec. and Blue Peter II 21 min. 37 sec. Capertoon apparently was in difficulties when her gun was fired, and finally got over for a very poor start.
Hooray went by the clubhouse on the first half of the round at 4.00.40, followed by Azel at 4.01.54. Trude was reported disabled due to engine troubles, and at 4.20 It arrived at the mark and reported having dropped out on account of the feed pipe becoming stopped up. With both Trude and It out of the contest, interest centered in the finish between the local craft Hooray and Azel the Beverly Y.C. representative. As the boats hove in sight around the lower turn, it was seen that Hooray had a substantial lead and barring accidents would win easily. At 4.27 Hooray crossed the line a winner, 42 seconds ahead of Azel.
In Class B Sparrow completed the first round at 4.34.40, just 9 minutes ahead of Blue Peter II. Capertoon did not complete the first round, after returning to the clubhouse, as on the first half of the first round she dropped out and it was learned that her troubles had been caused by poor ignition.
With Sparrow 9 minutes ahead on the first round, Blue Peter II, with her allowance of 1 min. 25 sec., had no chance of winning, but pluckily continued over the course, and received considerable applause for so doing.
Sparrow crossed the finish line at 5.08.54 and Blue Peter II at 5.25.12, just 16 min. 18 sec. behind Sparrow; consequently had this been raced as a free-for-all, Sparrow would have won by 1 min. 25 sec. less than the above time, or by 14 min. 53 sec.
As the winners in both classes were designed and built by the Godshalk Company, the event was a sort of field day for the concern. Hooray the winner in Class A is only 20 ft. over all, and is equipped with a 5 h.p. Godshalk-Giant engine which rates at 7.06 h.p. The boat races at 39.8 and her performance of 1 h. and 7 sec. for the course of 11 miles is very creditable.
Sparrow covered the 22 miles in 1 h. 8 min. 54 sec., or at the rate of 20.30 statute or 17.64 nautical miles per hour, which is considerably under her best performance; her engine however has been run all season without any repairs whatever, and is in need of a general overhauling.
Although the number of contesting boats was rather small, there were over fifty launches of all sizes and description, all loaded to the gunwale with interested spectators, about the starting line. It had been hoped that the Sheppard flyer Irene and the big Hupa would be on hand for the free-for-all race; but as both were out of commission, they were unable to appear.
Riverton Yacht Club Power Boat races, Sept. 29, 1906
|Class A Course 11 Statute miles|
|Boat||Owner||Lngth x Brdth||Engine||Start||1st Rnd||Finish|
|Hooray||G.M. Wilson||20' x 4'1½"||7.06 Giant||3.27.33||4.27.40|
|Azel||W.T. Bencliff||16'6" x 3'2"||6.27 Rice||3.30.00||4.28.22|
|Trude||C. Lamb||20' x 4'1½"||14.1 Hubbard||3.39.59||dnf|
|It||J.L. Meyers||30'6" x 3'11½"||12.82 Buffalo||3.44.03||dnf|
|Class B Course 22 Statute miles|
|Sparrow||C.J. Swain||30'5½" x 4'7"||21.2 Packard||4.00.00||4.34.40||5.08.54|
|Blue Peter II||W.E.S. Dyer||32' x 5½"||18.9 Holmes||4.01.25||4.43.40||5.25.12|
|Capertoon||J.M. Swain||41'11" x 5'2½"||47.5 Williamson||4.23.02||4.48.40||dnf|
(Transcribed from Power Boat News, Oct. 6, 1906, pp. 581-582 )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. — LF]