1926 Fisher Allison Trophy
Baby Gar VI Wins Fisher-Allison Trophy
A Spirited Three-Day Regatta Held off Miami Beach in March
Miss Tampa Wins Gold Cup Event
By J. A. Hillis
The Fisher-Allison Trophy Race was easily the major event of the Biscayne Bay Regatta. held off Miami Beach, Florida, March 18th, 19th, and 20th, under the auspices of the American Power Boat Association; and "Gar" Wood, of Detroit, driving his Baby Gar VI, easily outclassed a fast field of competitors and brought his boat in a decisive winner, thus obtaining permanent possession of the coveted cup, as this was the third time he had won a leg on it.
Baby Gar VI, Adieu, owned and driven by Webb Jay, of the Chicago Yacht Club, and the Baby Gar IV, driven by Phil Wood, were the only entrants.
Hundreds of yachts lined the mile and one-half course throughout the meet, yachtsmen being present from all parts of the United States, as well as from several foreign countries. Those from other countries included members of the official staff of Gerado Machado, president of Cuba, who arrived aboard the Cuban gunboat Cuba. Urban Hanlon Broughton of London, member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, aboard his yacht Sapphire. and a representative of the Royal Danish Yacht Club.
In the Gold Cup race, Carl G. Fisher's Baby Shadow, built especially for this event and driven by Victor Kliesrath of Port Washington, Long Island, was easily the winner of the first heat, only to drop out in the first lap of the second, when a small piece of driftwood became entangled in the propeller and the wheel was hurled through the bottom of the boat. The Miss Tampa, owned by D. P. Davis, and driven by W. Burgess, was the winner of the race, leaving the Palm Beach Days, driven by "Bill" Bigelow, of the Palm Beach Yacht Club, behind in the second and third heats.
H. Paul Prigg, of the Miami Yacht Racing Association, was the winner of the challenge trophy donated by John W. Martin, governor of Florida, and of the Aladdin challenge trophy, in the race for boats of the Biscayne Baby Class. Although engine trouble caused him to finish only fifth in the first heat, he brought the Patricia over the line ahead of the field in both ensuing heats, being more than a half-mile ahead of the second boat in each.
The most exciting incident of the entire regatta occurred in the final free-for-all race when the Baby Gar VI, winner of the Fisher Allison race, turned completely over while traveling at nearly 50 miles an hour after turning the south buoy of the course four lengths ahead of the Miss Okeechobee, driven by Mrs. W. J. Conners, of Buffalo. Phil Wood, brother of Gar Wood, was at the wheel when the accident occurred. Both he and Orlin H. Johnson, his mechanic, were thrown clear of the boat but escaped with only slight injuries. The racer was towed to shore by a patrol boat. According to Gar Wood, no serious damage was done.
Mrs. Conners brought the Miss Okeechobee in first in this race, setting an average speed for the 12 miles of 39.87 miles an hour.
Although there were only three entries in the Fisher-Allison race, which opened the regatta, interest was keen in the event from start to finish. Success of either the Baby Gar VI or the Adieu meant permanent possession of the gold trophy for the winner, each boat having won twice in the four preceding annual races.
The Baby Gar VI got off in the lead with the Baby Gar IV close behind and the Adieu trailing. The two Babies steadily increased their lead over the Adieu, both fighting for first position until the sixth lap, when the Baby Gar IV developed engine trouble. However, before he completion of the lap, she was again pressing the leader. In the twelfth lap, both Wood boats lapped the Adieu and in the sixteenth, passed her again. On the back stretch of the seventeenth lap Adieu drew off the course with a burned bearing.
The Baby Gar VI was less than three lengths ahead of the Baby Gar IV as the two boats crossed the finish line. The winner's speed for the 50-mile heat was 40.529 miles an hour, her elapsed time being 1 hour, 14 minutes, 1¼ seconds.
Although the only two remaining boats in the second 50-mile heat were the Baby Gar VI and the Baby Gar IV, the former, which again came in the winner, covered the course at a better average speed than in the first heat. The Baby Gar IV held doggedly to the heels of the VI, often taking the lead, until the beginning of the twentieth lap, when her motor ran hot and stopped. The time of the Baby Gar VI for the 50 miles was 1 h. 12 m. 27 s.
(Reprinted from Yachting, May 1926, pp. 40-41, 88)