1933 Palm Beach Regatta

Palm Beach Opens 1933 Racing Season

Commodore—A corrupt form of Commander Webster

By Bradford Burnham

In commemoration of the birth of Commodore George Washington and to provide an adequate excuse for depressed executives and common folk to enjoy a few days amid the palms and pretzels of Palm Beach, the annual regatta of the Palm Beach Yacht Club, aided and abetted by the Palm Beach Junior Chamber of Commerce, was held on February 19-22, 1933. Simultaneously occurred the convention of commodores which, in spite of the opprobrium cast upon the name of commodore by Mr. Webster, made the affair a great success.

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For Tuesday and Wednesday, February 21 and 22, events were scheduled for outboards, runabouts, 151 hydroplanes, and fishing boats, the latter local craft being equipped with engines which drive them at a high enough speed to make interesting racing. A fresh breeze from the southeast on Tuesday, which would have delighted the sailboat skippers had it arrived two days earlier, kept the little outboards on their trailers ashore throughout the day, leaving the Lake free for the runabouts and fishing boats. The latter raced in two classes, boats with engines up to 90 h.p. in one, and up to 72 h.p. in the other. The first heat was won by J. L. Cottrell, of West Palm Beach, and the second by W. D. Knowles, also of West Palm Beach. The fastest boat covered the 5 mile course in 13 minutes 34 seconds.

In the runabout races two heats of Class C were run off Tuesday between Paul Prigg's Prigg No. 12 and Mrs. Jack Rutherfurd's MaJa, the Prigg craft coming out ahead by a slight margin as she did in the final heat Wednesday morning. A single race for Class G runabouts (420 cu. in. and under) resulted in a win for Neddy, owned by Mrs. Jack Rutherfurd, with Prigg second. The Class H runabout (700 cu. in.) race was run in three heats between Jack Rutherfurd's Why Not, E. R. Jones' Whoop-Te-Do, and Mrs. Rutherfurd's Neddy. This event was won by Rutherfurd in Why Not, giving him a second leg on the Jack Dempsey trophy. Why Not's fastest time for the five miles was 7 minutes 37 seconds, a speed of 39.387 miles per hour. Nearly 50 miles per hour was made by Rutherfurd in the free-for-all runabout race when in Imp he covered the course in 6 minutes 3½ seconds or 49.532 m.p.h.

Many well known outboard drivers were on hand for the Outboard Events when Wednesday the waters of the lake had just enough chop to them to enable the boats to climb well up on top and some fast times were made, the A.P.B.A. system of scoring being used. In the finals of the Class A event, Earl Gresh, piloting Florida Kid, won out over Michigan Kid, run by Jack Wood of Detroit, with George Martin in Black Magic, third. The winner's time was 8 minutes 52 seconds. In the Class B races, Frank Vincent of Tulsa, Oklahoma, stayed out in front in both heats with Miss D X, making the time of 7 minutes 20 3/5th seconds, in the second heat, and defeating Walter Widegren of Oyster Bay, N. Y., and Bill Frey's Mr. America.

In the C Class honors went to Walter Everett, another Tulsa driver, although he failed to lead the field home in either of the two heats. Placing third in the first heat and second in the final five mile dash, Everett's total elapsed time was enough to bring him the trophy. Lap prizes went to Tommy Estlick, of Waukegan, driving V I and to Fred Nichols of St. Louis in V 14 in the second.

(Reprinted from Motor Boating, April 1933)