1909 Season Summary

A Summary of the Motor Boat Racing Season of 1909

Never in the history of motor boat racing in this country has there been a more successful season than the one which has just closed. Not only has the sport been indulged into a greater extent than ever before in the East, but on the Great Lakes, inland waters, Pacific Coast, and in Southern waters as well, the interest has grown rapidly, in many instances the events held for the first time having proved very successful. For one thing, these events have been so arranged as to take in all types of boats, whether of high speed or those used for pleasure, such as cruisers and open launches. As was predicted a few years ago, when the sport was confined almost entirely to racing boats of the high-speed type, the pleasure craft are now seen in the various event in far greater numbers than the out-and-out racers. Yet while the more useful craft are entering the racing game, it does not mean that interest in the high-speed boat has diminished. On the contrary, it has increased, though not quite as rapidly as in the pleasure type; and while in the larger class the increase has not been so great, in boats of 33 feet and under the number of craft has been double that of any previous year. A very gratifying sign is the way many prominent yachtsmen have taken up the sport, and the interest displayed by them will no doubt have much to do with the future success of racing by attracting others to it. To the man who owns a large steam or motor yacht, or even a sailing yacht, and does not care to cruise all the time, the motor boat sport has appealed very strongly, from the fact that he can carry a small racing boat of 21 to 25 feet in length on davits, which can also be used as a tender or dispatch boat between the yacht and the shore. Ample opportunity is thus offered to enter various racing events and enjoy the sport it affords. Boats of this type are becoming numerous, and while as yet they all rate in the class of 33 feet and under, yet it is only a question of time when this class will be divided according to length over all, giving additional chance for championship honors. The interest at first aroused in boats of this size will undoubtedly extend to the larger types, and the sport will thus be greatly enhanced and its future assured.

In reviewing the various events held in this country for the season just closed it would be well for a comparison, to see what has been done in foreign countries; and no better comparison is afforded than the event held at Monaco in the early part of the year. The number of entries and starters was fairly good, as compared with other years, and for the first time American boats participated in the racing. The best time made at the meeting was by Wolseley-Siddeley II (now Ursula), owned by the Duke of Westminster. Her time for 50 kilometers (31.05 miles) was 49 minutes 4-5 seconds, an average speed of 37.26 statute miles per hour. It must be remembered that this is not the same boat of the name that raced in this country two seasons ago in an attempt to lift the Harmsworth Trophy, but a much smaller boat (15 meters). The next best time made at the meeting was by Panhard-Levassor, a boat of the 15-meter (50-foot) class. Her time for 100 kilometers (62.10 miles) was 1 hour 47 minutes 24 seconds, an average of 34.78 statute miles. The time of the Wolseley-Siddeley II in the Grand Prix International for the same distance was 1 hur 55 minutes 3-5 seconds, a trifle over seven minutes slower than the Panhard-Levassor made a few days previously. Great interest seemed to center in the hydroplanes, or skimmer boats, and the best time made by one of these at the meet was by Delahaye, which covered a distance of 50 kilometers (31.05 miles) in 1 hour 13 minutes 50 seconds.

A comparison of these figures with those made by some of our boats shows that the times made at Monaco have been practically equaled. In England they have had some good racing, and the best time made was by the Ursula. Racing over a course of 23.58 miles, her time was 41 minutes 52 seconds, an average of 33.8 nautical miles per hour; the day following she covered the same distance in 41 minutes 51 seconds, an average of 33.9 nautical miles, or 39.1 statute miles. In the races for the Gold Challenge Cup held at the Thousand Islands the Dixie II ( the same Dixie that raced at Monaco, and now usually called Dixie III) made one lap of the course at a speed of 33 miles an hour, a record speed for this body of water. In the National Motor Boat Carnival, over a 30-mile course, Dixie’s time form the gun was 55 minutes 50 seconds; but taking her actual time from crossing the line to finish, it was 54 minutes 38 seconds, an average speed of 32.974 nautical, or 37.932 statute miles. On one lap she made for the part of the 10 miles a speed of 40 miles an hour; but as this was not taken officially, her actual time only was taken. Thus it will be seen that Dixie, with a length over all of 39.4 feet and 250 horsepower, as compared with Ursula’s 50 feet length over all and 800 horsepower, is not alone the fastest boat of her size in the world, but the next faster of any size. It is regrettable that, with so many fast boats in this country, the best of them cannot be brought together and pitted against the Dixie.

The racing in the 33-foot class has been far better than heretofore. In fact, throughout the country there seems to have been a greater number of boats of this class than in any other, some having great speed. The many long-distance races, both for high-speed boats and cruisers, were much more successful than ever before. For instance, the Bermuda race had a greater number of starters, though the time established by the Ailsa-Craig in 1907 for the distance (670 miles) still remained, for the winner of the 1909 event (Heather), which made the best time, took 80 hours 56 minutes 18 econds to make the journey. Far better time than this was made on the return race, which was won by Ilys in 78 hours 52 minutes 50 seconds.

The tables published herewith show what the various boats did during the season in the principal events of this country and of Europe, and are the most comprehensive yet compiled, though naturall;y many events of purely local interest could not be included.

To the new man entering the game, as well as to many old ones, there are some things of vital importance to the future welfare of the sport that he should be careful to observe. Never enter a boat for any event unless you actually intend starting in that event. There are too many owners who now enter races and fail to put in an appearance when the day arrives. This action is unsportsmanlike, except for justifiable reasons. Take, for example, the last Carnival races held on the Hudson River, and event second to none in importance in this country. Out of an entry list of some seventy-odd boats there was hardly more than half that actually put in an appearance. Many men have the habit of entering their boats, and when they find who their opponents are dropping out without notifying the committee. To obviate this evil there should be some universal rule adopted by all clubs that hold motor boat events that when an owner makes an entry it must be accompanied by an entrance fee of say, $5. If the boat starts the fee is returned, and if it does not start the fee is forfeited and put into a fund towards defraying the expense of the event, or perhaps buying some souvenir or consolation prize for those who do not win any regular prize. Certainly something should be done to break up this practice.

Another thing he should see to is getting his boat properly measured and securing his certificate from the official measurer. This is a matter that has been much abused through the failure of the owners to pay the measurement fee. No boat that is measured should receive a certificate of rating until this fee is paid, and the withholding of such certificate would prevent the boat from starting in a race, as, according to the rules, all certificates must be filed before the start of said race. The fact that many boats have been measured by an official measurer and furnished with a certificate to file with a regatta committee before the fee has been paid is the fault of the measurer. There should be some understanding among all clubs that, where a boat has been officially measured, yet has not met the obligation for such measurement, the boat will not be allowed to race in any event. Of course, there are some clubs that have special arrangements with their club treasurer, in which case this does not apply, unless a racing committee thinks there is something wrong, when they are at liberty to order a boat remeasured, and if the measurement first furnished is found to be in error, then the owner of the boat pays for a remeasurement by the official measurer of the event. There are times when the rules governing an especial event are different from those under which a boat has been measured, necessitating another measurement.

Another vital matter is that of proper courses and their lengths. The laying out of courses naturally depends upon the locations of the waters on which the races are held. The courses this have been of all kinds and shapes—equilateral, circular, oblong, straightaway, etc. Courses should be laid out with a view to having the least number of turns, and as many miles to the laps as possible. It seems to be a great mistake to have short courses, as they works against high-speed boats in the matter of making time. When a race is held it should be over a course laid out in nautical miles. This is the only proper standard, yet it is not carried out. If certain sections of the country adhere to the marine standard, with all races over nautical miles, and other sections use statute miles, the time made and speeds claimed for various boats is very misleading, and an injustice is often done to some of the boats. It would be well for clubs to take up this matter and make all courses over nautical miles. There is a vast difference in the length of a nautical mile, a geographical mile, and a statute mile. In the United States the mile or knot, used for the measurement of distance in open navigation, has a length of 6,080.27 feet; in France, Germany and Austria the nautical or sea mile has a length of 6,076.23 feet. In England the nautical mile, corresponding to the Admiralty knots, is 6,080 feet.

A word as to racing rules. In so far as high-speed boats are concerned, they are not by any means perfected as yet, though they are gradually adjusting themselves. The fact that more classes have been made has had a tendency to bring boats of one size and rating more closely together. There never will be rule that will work out to the satisfaction of the majority until boats are placed in classes of a certain length, with a maximum of horsepower. As to the cruising, or pleasure types, the rules are still far from perfect. In championship events there should be a more even division of classes. For instance, a large number of small-sized cruising boats are being built every year, ranging from 26 feet upwards, which take part in numerous events during the season, and it would seem equitable to have these classified as follows: Under 26 feet; 26 feet to 33 feet; over 33 feet and under 40 feet; 40 feet and under 60 feet; 60 feet and over. In the handicapping there would not be such a great variance of time allowance, and it would no doubt have a tendency to induce a great many to enter events who do not now do so, while a much larger number of boats would undoubtedly be built to such classes. Of course there are places where it would be hard to find enough boats to fill such classes, and in this case they would have to race in a class under 40 feet, but in the majority of places it would be an easy matter to build up classes as suggested. In England they are now endeavoring to get up classes, one in particular being a small racing boat with a maximum length of 21 feet, maximum beam of 4 feet, and the swept volume of the engine 225 square inches, with all other dimensions left to the discretion of the designer. With these limitations it seems that a useful boat can be evolved.

Many of the long-distance races for this year have been held under the A.P.B.A. rules for 1905, with either additions or changes, but the rules have not, in most cases, proved satisfactory. Past performances and actual speeds have both been tried, but without showing much of an improvement. This tends to prove that the only feasible way of racing boats is according to classes, the cruising or pleasure boats, as already mentioned, and the high-speed boats as follows: Under 6½ metres; 6½ to 8 metres; over 8 and not exceeding 10 metres; 10 metres to 12 mtres; 12 to 15 metres. In so classifying boats, fixing a maximum for the amount of horsepower, the sport would no doubt be far better than it is at present. With such a rule universally adopted the problem of handicapping would be solved.

 

Motor Boat Racing Season 1909
Details of Boats
Name Owner Type LOA Beam Motor Cyl. Bore Stroke Cyc. RPM H.P. Rating
Admiral Mr. Craig Racer 34.82   Smalley / 1 6 4 ½ 4 ½ 2      
Anna E. T. Woodward Open Launch                   40.4
Arab III Ralph Sidway Racer 35   Niagara / 1 6     4   75  
Artful Harry Coons Racer 22.16 3.25 Ferro / 1 3 5 5 2   28.8 71.1
Barbara II P. B. Bird Racer 28.9   American & British / 1 4 5 4 ¾ 4   31.08 72.54
Blue Bird Mr. Cronenwett Racer 17.08 3.82 Detroit / 1 2 4 ¾ 4 ½ 2      
Bunk II C. Firth Open Launch 26 5’3" Hicks / 1 2 5 5 2   12.85 41.8
Comet F. Rotzmyer Racer 25.5 3/10 Howard / 1 6 4 ½ 5 4   39.74 72.55
Den Jos. H. Hoadley Racer 31.1 4’5" American & British / 1 4 5 4 ¾ 4   31.09 74.16
Dixie II E. J. Schroeder Racer 39.3 ¼   Crane & Whitman / 1 8     4   220  
Duquesne   Racer     Jencick / 1       4   200  
Elmer L L. DeLong Racer 32   Smalley / 1 3   4 ½ 2   21.05 72.9
Foxy Quiller W. Vitschger Open Launch 25.1 ¼ 5.02 Ferro / 1 2 5 5 2   12.84 46.8
Gunfire II W. J. Brainard Racer 25   Mercury / 1 4 4 ¾ 5 4   29.52 77.40
Hadajr H. Darlington Jr. Racer 21.6   American & British / 1 4 5 4 ¾ 4   31.41 64.8
Haida-Papoose Max C. Fleischman Racer 21.1   American & British / 1 4 5 4 ¾ 4   31.08 68.4
Hoosier Boy J. W. Whitlock Racer 40   Buffalo / 1 6     4   75  
H.Y.C. J. G. Hudson Racer 35 5 Brennan / 1 4     4   80  
Imp Arthur Haas Open Launch 19.10 ½ 4.6 Gray / 1 1 4 ¾ 4 2   4.63 35.4
Jan II Walker & Covert Racer 30   Ferro           28.9 81.8
Kit Kat Frank D. Gheen Open Launch 19.5   Lackawanna / 1 2     2   6.59 41.55
Lamb IV F. B. King Racer 32   Lamb / 1 12     4   94  
La Truda H. T. Vars Racer 32   Sterling / 1 8 5 ½ 6 4   100  
Mascot E. Corsepius Racer 22   Pierce, Nye & Budd / 1 6     4   60  
Mosquito Granger & Meyers Racer 22   Gray / 1 3 4 ¾ 4     18  
Pacer Cox & Slattery Racer 32 5 ½ Leighton / 1 6 6 5 2 1000 120  
Peter Pam James Simpson Racer 28 3.9 Mercury / 1 4 4 ¾ 5 4   29.53 72.82
Rochester W. J. Graham Racer 24.1   Rochester / 1 4   3 ½ 2   15.15 70.02
Say Herbert Smith Racer 25.11   Ferro / 1 3 4 ¾ 5 2   26.05 70.88
Scamp Sprague & Schall Racer 18.4   ? / 1 4 3 ¾ 4 ½ 4     61.94
Scioto Geo. C. Sutton Racer 31.11   Scripps / 1 4   6 4   43.18 74.1
Scripps II W. E. Scripps Racer 29.19 3.52 Scripps / 1 6 6 ½ 6 4      
Seattle Spirit Binkley & Reed Racer 32.6 4.6 Scripps / 1 6 6 ½ 6 4   100  
Skipalong R. H. Truitt Racer 34   Roberts / 1       2   60  
Stranger   Racer     Simplex / 1   7 ½ 7 ½ 4      
Talequah M. H. Niles Open Launch 20.4 3.1 Edr / 1 1 4 4 2   3.28 33.3
The Barber Chas. Barrett Racer 39.7   Barber / 1 4     4   200  
Vim Geo. F. Baker Jr. Racer 25   American & British / 1 4 4 5 4   31.08 74.70
Whim R. E. Vanderhoof Racer 24.1   Watertown / 1 3 5 5 2   28.8 67.3
WillowBrook* W. H. Moffatt Racer 35   Sterling / 1 8 5 ½ 6 4   100 89/64
Wolff II John E. Wolff Racer 39.9 4.5 Smalley / 1 6 5 ½ 5 ½ 2 850 110  
*Willow Brook was the former Buffalo Courier

 

Racing Results of the Season
Name Event Where Held Date Distance Elapsed Time H M S Corr. Time H M S Started Place
Admiral Detroit MBC Detroit, Mich. July 5 8 18 03 15 29 6 1
Anna NY-Albany-NY New York City July 3 270 36 46 00 33 20 00 15 10
Arab III Inter-Lake YRA Toledo, O. Aug. 22 20 43 45 38 14 6 1
" " " Aug. 24 30 1 05 28 1 05 28 4 3
Buffalo LC Buffalo, NY Sept. 4 10 21 42 21 42 5 2
Artful Hudson River YRA Tarrytown, NY Sept. 6 20 52 57 52 57 2 1
Barbara II Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 30 1 50 29 1 38 48 8 4
Blue Bird Detroit MBC Detroit, Mich. July 5 8 42 06 42 06 6 6
Bunk II NY-Albany-NY New York City July 3 270 34 50 00 30 13 00 15 6
National Carnival " " Sept. 15 20 2 22 26 2 09 38 6 2
" " " " Sept. 16 20 2 21 32 2 08 44 6 5
Den " " " " Sept. 15 30 1 29 27 1 28 47 8 3
" " " " Sept. 16 30 1 30 30 1 29 50 3 2
" " " " Sept. 17 30 1 30 11 1 29 31 3 1
" " NY-Poughkeepsie-NY Sept. 18 115 6 03 04 5 46 59 6 1
Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 30 1 42 11 1 32 44 8 2
" " New York City Sept. 30 30 1 32 41 1 28 30 5 3
Dixie II Monaco Monaco Apr. 5 31.05 1 28 0.4 1 28 0.4 4 3
Gold Challenge Cup 1000 Islands, NY Aug. 19 32 1 03 56 1 03 56 4 1
" " " " Aug. 20 32 1 06 50 1 06 50 4 1
" " " " Aug. 21 32 58 25 58 25 4 1
National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 30 1 14 34 1 14 34 3 1
" " " " Sept. 16 30 1 02 15 1 02 15 1 1
" " " " Sept. 17 30 55 50 55 50 1 1
Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 30 1 03 05 1 03 05 1 1
" " New York City Sept. 30 30 1 00 30 1 00 30 1 1
Duquesne Gold Challenge Cup 1000 Islands, NY Aug. 19 32 1 08 20 1 08 20 4 2
" " " " Aug. 20 32 1 07 55 1 07 55 4 2
" " " " Aug. 21 32 1 09 44 1 09 44 4 2
Elmer L Hudson River YRA Tarrytown, NY Sept. 6 20 45 39 36 40 3 1
" " " " 10 35 48 35 48 2 1
Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 30 1 40 33 1 29 22 8 1
" " New York City Sept. 30 30 1 32 40 1 26 42 5 2
" " Newburgh, NY Oct. 1 20 1 30 23 1 20 06 7 3
" " Albany, NY Oct. 7 20 57 52 57 52   1
" " Troy, NY Oct. 8 15 43 01 43 01   2
Foxy Quiller Hudson River YRA Tarrytown, NY Sept. 6 10 1 22 42 1 22 42 3 1
National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 20 2 10 57 2 10 57 6 3
" " " " Sept. 16 20 2 09 11 2 09 11 6 6
Gunfire II Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 20 1 03 15 1 03 15 5 2
" " Newburgh, NY Oct. 1 20 1 09 06 1 00 57 7 2
" " Troy, NY Oct. 7 15 37 08 37 08 2 1
Hadajr National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 30 1 37 23 1 22 04 8 1
Haida-Papoose Columbia YC New York City May 28 15 55 51 43 50   1
Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 20 1 07 19 58 49 5 1
" " New York City Sept. 30 30 1 32 39 1 19 55 5 1
" " Newburgh, NY Oct. 1 20 1 11 05 54 06 7 1
Hoosier Boy Western PBA Peoria, Ill. Aug. 18 20 45 18 45 18 2 1
Inter-Lake YRA Toledo, O. Aug. 22 20 41 23 40 25 6 2
" " " Aug. 23 1   2 03 4 1
" " " Aug. 24 30   1 02 31 4 1
Buffalo LC Buffalo, NY Sept. 6 25 48 04 48 04 5 1
" " Sept. 6 50 1 58 29 1 58 29 5 1
Letchworth Trophy " Sept. 11 20 40 24 40 24 2 2
H.Y.C New England Mfg Reg. Boston, Mass. Aug. 7 11 ¼ 31 04 5 1
Imp NY-Albany-NY New York City July 3 270 2 47 32 2 13 07 15 7
National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 20 40 10 31 18 6 4
" " " Sept. 16 20     6 2
" " " Sept. 17 20     3 2
Hudson-Fulton New York City Sept. 30 20     6 3
Jan II Hudson River YRA Tarrytown, NY Sept. 6 20 1 01 27 1 01 27 3 2
Kit Kat National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 20 2 31 40 2 18 10 6 6
" " " Sept. 16 20 2 22 13 2 18 00 6 4
Lamb IV MVPBA Burlington, Iowa July 5 10 22 40.75 22 40.75 4 1
" " July 6 1 2 05 2 05 3 1
" " July 6 30 1 03 01 1 03 01 3 1
Western PBA Peoria, Ill. Aug. 17 15 38 17   6 1
" " Aug. 18 20 48 27   5 2
La Truda Buffalo LC Buffalo, NY Sept. 6 25 49 36   5 3
" " Sept. 6 50 1 58 56   5 2
" " Sept. 11 20 40 13   2 1
Mascot Western PBA Peoria, Ill. Aug. 18 15   39 15   1
  " " Aug. 18 10   25 33   1
Mosquito MVPBA Burlington, Iowa July 6 10 29 12.6   7 1
Pacer Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Seattle, Wash. July 3 30 1 05 45.6   2 2
Peter Pan Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 30 1 44 51 1 33 22   3
Rochester National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 30 1 39 29 1 32 49 8 4
" " " " Sept. 16 30 1 47 31 1 40 15 3 3
" " " " Sept. 17 30 1 40 46 1 34 03 3 3
" " NY-Poughkeepsie-NY Sept. 18 115 7 04 25 6 25 24 6 3
Say Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 20 1 23 07 1 17 10 5 4
" " New York City Sept. 30 30 1 52 44 1 43 51 6 4
Scamp Hudson River YRA Tarrytown, NY Sept. 6 20 1 04 53 1 00 20 2 2
Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 20 1 44 28 1 27 06 5 5
Scioto Columbia YC New York City May 29 30 2 23 19   2
Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 30 1 59 16 1 49 44 8 5
Scripps II Detroit MBC Detroit, Mich. July 5 8 16 30   6 1
Inter-Lake YRA Toledo, O. Aug. 22 20 41 54 41 54 6 3
" " " Aug. 23 1 2 06.5 2 06.5 4 2
" " " Aug. 24 30   1 03 01 4 2
Seattle Spirit Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Seattle, Wash. July 3 10 41 21.8   3  
Skipalong Peoria-Henry Endurance Peoria, Ill. June 19 34   1 31 31 5 1
Stranger Gold Challenge Cup 1000 Islands, NY Aug. 19 32   1 12 21 4 3
" " " Aug. 20 32   1 12 28 4 3
" " " Aug. 21 32   1 10 05 4 3
Skipflip Hudson River YRA Tarrytown, NY Sept. 6 5 1 07 41 1 07 41 7 1
Talequah National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 20 2 19 29 1 36 20 5 1
" " " Sept. 16 20 2 12 20 1 29 01 5 1
" " " Sept. 17 20 2 19 52 1 36 33 3 1
Hudson-Fulton New York City Sept. 30 20 2 48 42 2 01 01 6 1
The Barber Hudson-Fulton Yonkers, NY Sept. 29 30 1 32 52 1 32 52 2 2
Vim Columbia YC New York City May 29 30 1 52 29     1
Hudson River YRA Tarrytown, NY Sept. 6 20 1 07 37     1
National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 30 1 36 36 1 36 36 8 4
" " " Sept. 16 30 1 27 24 1 27 24 3 1
" " " Sept. 17 30 1 32 16 1 32 16 3 2
Whim National Carnival New York City Sept. 15 30 1 36 55 1 25 55 8 2
" " NY-Peekskill-NY Sept. 18 115 8 31 55 7 36 11 6 4
Willow brook Palm Beach (Lk Worth) Palm Beach, Fla. Mar. 17 9 23 22   6 1
" " " Mar. 18 13 ½ 34 13   9 1
Wolff II Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Seattle, Wash. July 3 60 2 02 52   2 1

 

(Excerpts transcribed from Yachting, December, 1909, pp. 435-41, 488-90)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page — LF]