1949 Season Summary
|1.||May 30||Fite Memorial||Ocean City, New Jersey|
|2.||June 26||Glenn L. Martin Trophy [Wilson Point]||Essex, Maryland|
|3.||July 2||APBA Gold Cup||Detroit, Michigan|
|4.||July 4||Henry Ford Memorial||Detroit, Michigan|
|5.||July 9||Maple Leaf Trophy||Windsor, Ontario|
|6.||July 17-18||Percy Jones Memorial||Battle Creek, Michigan|
|7.||July 17||Governor's Trophy (New Jersey)||Hopatcong, New Jersey|
|8.||August 1||Harmsworth Trophy (B.I.T.)||Detroit, Michigan|
|9.||August 1||Detroit Marathon||Detroit, Michigan|
|10.||August 14||National Sweepstakes||Red Bank, New Jersey|
|11.||August 14||Red Bank Gold Cup||Red Bank, New Jersey|
|12.||August 14||Lake Tahoe Championship||Tahoe City, California|
|13.||August 20||Cambridge Gold Cup||Cambridge, Maryland|
|14.||August 21||Buffalo Launch Club Regatta||Buffalo, New York|
|15.||August 28||Star Spangled Banner Regatta||Baltimore, Maryland|
|16.||August 28||Maryland Sweepstakes||Baltimore, Maryland|
|17.||August 28||Calvert Trophy||Louisville, Kentucky|
|18.||September 5||O.J. Mulford Silver Cup||Detroit, Michigan|
|19.||September 9||Canadian National Exhibition||Toronto, Ontario|
|20.||September 11||Harwood Trophy||New York, New York|
|September 11||Ohio Valley Motor Boat Racing Association Regatta||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|21.||September 18||Presidents Cup||Washington, D.C.|
|22.||September 18||American Speedboat Championship||Washington, D.C.|
|23.||September 25||Imperial Gold Cup||New Martinsville, W.Va.|
|1.||May 30||Aljo||Joe Van Blerck|
|2.||June 26||Goo Goo II||P.J. Henn|
|3.||July 2||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell|
|4.||July 4||Skip-A-Long||Stan Dollar|
|5.||July 9||So Long (5)||Lou Fageol|
|6.||July 17||Skip-A-Long||Stan Dollar|
|7.||July 17||Lahala||Harry Lynn|
|8.||August 1||Skip-A-Long||Stan Dollar|
|9.||August 1||Skip-A-Long||Stan Dollar|
|10.||August 14||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell|
|11.||August 14||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell|
|12.||August 14||[no finishers]||—|
|13.||August 20||Lahala||Harry Lynn|
|14.||August 21||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell|
|15.||August 28||Tempo VI||Guy Lombardo|
|16.||August 28||Tempo VI||Guy Lombardo|
|17.||August 28||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell|
|18.||September 5||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell|
|19.||September 9||Tempo VI||Guy Lombardo|
|20.||September 11||Etta||George Sarant|
|21.||September 18||My Sweetie||Bill Cantrell|
|22.||September 18||Etta||George Sarant|
|23.||September 25||My Sweetie||Cantrell-Dodge|
|Built||Boat High Points|
|1.||(1948)||Such Crust I||2520|
|9.||(1946)||Miss Great Lakes||315|
|13.||(1949)||Miss Canada IV||196|
|14.||(1949)||Such Crust II||60|
|21.||(1949)||Fickle Eye IV||000|
|27.||(1946)||Lion Bar Special||000|
|Driver High Points|
|11.||Joe Van Blerck||240|
In 1949 the Unlimited/Gold Cupper circuit continued to expand with a record 13 race matches. A match is a race scheduled for two or more heats. 21 boats made a start in these race matches as in 1948.
After the season ended in 1948 the Ventnor designs Such Crust and Lahala were the leading boats. The National High Point Champion Tempo VI was also in the picture. Miss Great Lakes, the Gold Cup champion, as in 1946 had lost her driver Danny Foster with owner Al Fallon again scheduled to occupy the cockpit.
Significant new boats in 1949 included Such Crust II, a prop rider by Dan Arena, Horace Dodge's Lotus, with four engines ala Miss America X, Aluminum First by Ventnor for Henry Kaiser powered by a 3000 horsepower W-24 Allison and Miss Canada IV with a 2500 horsepower Rolls Royce Griffon. The Allisons at the time were rated at 1500 horsepower. Horsepower, always an important consideration, was even more significant in the pre-prop rider days.
Lahala failed to qualify for the 1949 Gold Cup, the first race match of the season. Tempo VI proved to be a rough rider which presumably left the race to Such Crust I. However My Sweetie, top qualifier by 8 m.p.h.,and Skip-a-Long had very much improved over 1948 which made for a very competitive Gold Cup.
On site qualifying was required for the first time due to the the large number of unfit entries that were allowed to start the 1948 Gold Cup. 65 m.p.h. was required over the 2½ mile course for three laps. Previously a straightaway speed of 65 m.p.h. was required, but this could be verified by an affidavit of the owner.
My Sweetie got out in front in heat one and led for the first lap, but had to shut down due to a jammed throttle. The second place Hurricane IV went by closely followed by Skip-a-Long and Such Crust I. Skip-a-Long passed Hurricane IV to take the lead at the end of lap 2. Such Crust I moved up to second when Hurricane dropped out in the fifth lap and went on to challenge Skip-a-Long for the lead in the 10th lap. Such Crust took over in lap 11 and won the heat. Skip-a-Long was close in second place. Miraculously My Sweetie got going again and by hook and by crook-driver Bill Cantrell worked the throttle by hand- passed three boats to take third albeit significantly down in elapsed time.
My Sweetie got the start of heat two and had an easy lead over Such Crust I at the end of lap 2. Such Crust was second with Skip-a-Long third. Skip-a-Long passed Such Crust I to take the runner up position in a middle lap. My Sweetie won the heat by 31 seconds. Skip-a-Long had 19 seconds over Such Crust which finished third.
My Sweetie and Such Crust I had 625 points heading into the third heat. Skip-a-Long was third with 600 points. However no entry could hope to win without bonus points. My Sweetie had the fastest heat bonus of 400 points by 38 seconds and could win the regatta by winning the final heat. The same could be said of Skip-a-Long which led Such Crust I by 10 seconds for the fastest race bonus - another 400 unanswered points. Such Crust had to win the final heat and get some bonus points - the most likely being for the fastest race.
In the final My Sweetie got out front and was ahead of Skip-a-Long at the end of the initial lap by 50 yards. Such Crust was third. From this point on Sweetie increased her lead to take the heat and the Gold Cup. She led the second place Skip-a-Long by 25 seconds. Such Crust was third 13 seconds later.
Of the top contenders only two showed up for the start for the Ford Memorial. Such Crust failed in the first heat with Skip-a-Long taking 400 points. In the second heat Such Crust defeated Skip-a-Long in a fierce battle and also took the final heat which Skip-a-Long did not have to win to take the regatta. The Crust's margins of victory were 2½ seconds and 6-1/2 seconds.
There was a re-match at Gull Lake, Michigan about two weeks later with Skip-a-Long turning in three heat wins and Such Crust encountering mechanical difficulty. Skip-a-Long set a 2½ mile lap record of 86 m.p.h. eclipsing My Sweetie's 85 m.p.h. Nevertheless Sweetie was clearly the superior boat at the Gold Cup
Next was the International Harmsworth Trophy. A three boat team for the American defense was to be selected and the choice was obvious-Skip-a-Long, My Sweetie and Such Crust I. However Horace Dodge, who had recently purchased the My Sweetie, wanted to drive in the Harmsworth instead of Gold Cup champion pilot Bill Cantrell. Dodge was close to 50 and had not driven a race boat for many years - 14.
The Harmsworth selection committee threatened to bump Sweetie off the team. But this was not much of a threat since even a Sweetie piloted by Dodge was better than the rest of the choices. A compromise was reached with Dodge to run one heat and Cantrell the other.
Miss Canada IV was a new, untried hull that had been held out of the Gold Cup. She had 1000 horsepower on the American entries and perhaps 25 m.p.h. in straightaway speed as the American boats had shown about 115 m.p.h. and reliable rumor had it that Canada IV had done 140+. Since there is a lot of straightaway on a 7 nautical mile course a number of pundits made Miss Canada IV the favorite. Also Miss Canada III had won a distance race in the 1948 90 mile Silver Cup. However the Harmsworth was scheduled for at least 96-1/2 miles and the Wilsons had won their Silver Cup with a Merlin rather than a Griffon. Prior to the 48 race they had had trouble finishing a race.
In heat one Cantrell in Sweetie led for the first lap, but was then passed by Such Crust I. My Sweetie went out in the fourth lap and Skip-a-Long moved up to second. However in doing so she stalled on the spot. Such Crust had an easy win. Nevertheless Miss Canada IV was so slow after experiencing supercharger trouble - a Miss Canada tradition-that Skip-a-Long was able to take second.
Miss Canada IV's problem could not be repaired and she entered the second heat just as a token. Horace Dodge had replaced Bill Cantrell as driver for the second heat.
Such Crust I got out in front in heat two, dueled with Skip-a-Long for several laps and then encountered engine trouble in the final lap with a fairly substantial advantage. This gave the heat to Skip-a-Long. Such Crust I recovered to finish second ahead of My Sweetie - a distant third. Miss Canada IV was a poor fourth.
America had won the race, but a run off had to be held to determine whether the Harmsworth would reside in Detroit (Such Crust I) or San Francisco (Skip-a-Long). A short two lap run off was selected to answer the question. Some said a short distance was selected since the Detroit Harmsworth Committee figured that Such Crust I was the faster boat, but demonstrably less reliable than Skip-a-Long.
Nevertheless the distance was not short enough as Such Crust I experienced mechanical difficulty in lap one and Skip-a-Long won the Harmsworth Trophy.
Skip-a-Long solidified its position as boat of the year up to that time by winning the 96 mile Detroit Marathon. The Stanley Dollar entry was 10 m.p.h. faster than the field as Such Crust I was driven by Gene Arena, a rookie. His brother Dan tried his new prop riding Such Crust II which was 20 m.p.h. off the pace.
Skip-a-Long then went back to San Francisco and My Sweetie had only Lahala to contend with at Red Bank, New Jersey for the National Sweepstakes. My Sweetie kept at least 30 yards between herself and the Harry Lynn entry to win the race. The Horace Dodge entry got an assist from the race committee who elected to run under Gold Cup rules rather than Unlimited. Under Unlimited rules she would have been disqualified for jumping the gun in heat one and received no points. Under Gold Cup rules which required instead the running of an extra lap she picked up 300 points. Under Unlimited rules George Sarant's Etta would have won the regatta.
Sadly the same weekend Skip-a-Long sank on Mile High Lake Tahoe in a minor race and was not recovered until many years later. My Sweetie also won a one heat race at Red Bank that weekend. She won additional one heat low competition races at Buffalo and Louisville the following weekends.
At the 90 mile Silver Cup surrounding Labor Day the only major contender to confront My Sweetie was Such Crust I. The Jack Schafer entry had its usual mechanical difficulties and even when running was easily headed by My Sweetie, the race winner.
The highly touted Aluminum First ran in the Silver Cup, but was 24 m.p.h. off the standard set by My Sweetie. Such Crust II driven by Lou Fageol was 14 m.p.h. behind the leader. Miss Canada IV did not turn a lap and Lotus did not enter as in the Gold Cup adding to her failure in the Harmsworth trials.
It was more of the same at Washington, D.C. in the Presidents Cup with My Sweetie handily defeating Such Crust I now driven by Lou Fageol. Dan Arena piloted his Such Crust II to no avail. However the race was declared no contest going only one heat.
Fageol again drove Such Crust I in the final race of the season at New Martinsville, West Virginia. He looked like a winner when he defeated My Sweetie handled by Horace Dodge instead of Bill Cantrell.
Cantrell was back in the boat for the second heat and beat Such Crust I to tie the entries in points. The tie was broken in favor of My Sweetie who had the faster heat.
The debate at the end of the year was whether My Sweetie or Skip-a-Long should be boat of the year. When healthy and driven by Bill Cantrell Sweetie kept ahead of Skip-a-Long. In the Gold Cup My Sweetie was clearly superior however the Harmsworth was inconclusive.
Skip-a-Long posted a 2½ mile lap of 86.157 at Gull Lake. My Sweetie did 85,731 in the Gold Cup and 83.180 at the Presidents Cup over a 2½ mile course. She did 85.240 over a 3 mile course in the Silver Cup.and apparently 89.108 m.p.h. over a 2½ mile course at Red Bank. However her heat speed while setting this mark was 15 m.p.h. better than her day one speed rendering the presumed record suspect even though water conditions were somewhat better on day two.
Skip-a-Long did 180 trouble free miles before being swamped in heat one of the Harmsworth then did another 160. The farthest My Sweetie went was 125 consecutive miles without a failure at the end of the year. If the match race was for a good distance Skip-a-Long would be favored.
After going 90 miles in the Gold Cup, Such Crust I failed to complete four of her next five races. Nevertheless she went through the mile trap at Gull Lake at 126 m.p.h. breaking Gar Wood's American record by 2 m.p.h. This mark still left America 15 m.p.h. short of Bluebird's world record. Later in the year Miss Canada IV redeemed herself to some extent to break Such Crust's North American record by doing the mile at 138 m.p.h.
[Statistics and comments from Greene, V.1]