1952 APBA Gold Cup

It Looks Like August is Set For Gold Cup Race

August ninth, 1952, is a Saturday. It looks like the best time for the running of the 1952 Gold Cup on Lake Washington.

This date hasn't been finalized but it is getting a lot of consideration from the committees.

In the meantime, things are really getting warmed up east of the Rockies just as everyone figured they would. This will be only the second time — the second time in a row, too — that the classy racing boats have come West for the Gold Cup.

By now they know that they have to give the two Stanley Sayres-owned Slo-mo-shun boats something a lot hotter than just another racing run for it or they will not be taking the Gold Cup out of Seattle in 1952.

Some of the activity runs like this: Miss Pepsi won an important eastern race on September 13. This is the President's Cup Race on the Potomac. Among viewers of the race was Ted Jones, able designer and driver of the Slo-mo-shun crafts, who went back from Seattle to take it in. Pepsi averaged 78.611 on rough water for 45 miles of racing. Hornet and Gale II, both '51 Gold Cup entries, were in there close all the way.

But most important of all is the boatbuilding activity in the Detroit area and on the East Coast that indicates that some five new and improved craft will be after the Gold Cup come August.

Despite all the official talk about eventual elimination of two-engine craft, word is around that Jack Schafer, the Michigan bread mogul, has a two-engine boat building that talks of theoretical speeds of 240 mph.

Horace Dodge expects more out of Hornet and may have two entries, one brand new.

One of Dan Arena's boats, now called Miss Great Lakes II may be out and Dan Murphy, the guy who had so much trouble with Dee Jay V and a broken leg, too, is building another racer.

What about Slo-mo-shun VI? There is no indication that there will be a "Number Six" built for 1952 but Stan Sayres has some new engines ,and there will be some experimenting going on in the coming months and both IV and V may be even faster boats when defending their championships and records.

In this grey, midwinter season the prospect of a Canadian challenge for the Harmsworth Trophy in 1952 doesn't look nearly so bright as it did last summer when Stanley Sayres was burning up the courses and enthusiasm over speedboat racing was at a peak in Vancouver.

Judging from inquiries made by Pacific Motor Boat it will take more than a return of the long, sunny days to bring out a promising challenger in British Columbia during the coming season, but it won't be because of any lack of good intentions.

The bite of taxation has discouraged some of the Vancouver people who seemed most likely to undertake a challenge in the immediate future, but this is regarded as a temporary situation. Several Vancouver businessmen who have shown a consistent interest in power boating expect that before long a syndicate will be formed to make a determined challenge. It's even possible that such an undertaking might materialize during the coming year, but it's considered highly doubtful whether it would be possible to finance, design and build the type of craft required in the limited time now available for a speed test in the summer of 1952.

Those who have studied the project realize that creation of a worth-while challenger to the "Slo-mo-shuns" and similar craft isn't by any means a simple affair, and if and when the Canadians do challenge for the Harmsworth Trophy it will be on a serious and practical basis in the knowledge that the boat to be entered will be in every sense a genuine contender.

Sam Cromie of the Vancouver Sun, which sponsored the Vancouver exhibition of the "Slo-mo-shuns" in Burrard Inlet last summer, says that he and his brother Don, publisher of the newspaper, had at one time seriously considered building a challenger, but after they had made a thorough survey of the problems involved it was decided that as a personal venture the idea would have to be abandoned. However, Cromie intimated that there was a good chance that several similarly-minded Vancouver yachtsmen-businessmen would form a syndicate and go after the trophy. After the success of the "Slo-mo-shun" exhibition in Vancouver no one is more convinced than the Cromies of the widespread interest in a challenge race.

"There's no doubt that Vancouver has the architects to build a challenger," said Cromie. "But there is also no doubt that building the type of craft needed to dislodge one of the "Slo-mo-shuns" is a specialized business requiring a lot of long-range planning and skillful execution. It's an undertaking that can't be taken on casually and indifferently."

Harold Jones, head of Vancouver Tug Boat Co., and one of Vancouver's best known yachtsmen, shares this opinion.

He, too, would like to see a Canadian challenge made for the Harmsworth Cup and he believes that Sayres would welcome such a challenge. All the Vancouver people who had anything to do with Sayres' participation in the Vancouver demonstration expressed their appreciation of the fine spirit shown by the Seattle man and his offer of co-operation in encouraging a challenge from the British Columbia city.

The feeling of Vancouver power boat men is that it may be too late to do anything effective about it in 1952, but that they are determined to make a bid for the trophy just as soon as it can be done in a responsible way.

There has been a wintertime blackout of news concerning the prospective challenge of Donald Campbell, son of the late Sir Malcolm Campbell, too. It had been reported last month that Campbell was eager to make an attempt to retrieve the family glory by bringing to this continent a Bluebird that would be a worthy competitor for "Slo-mo-shuns." Negotiations are still under way, but it s understood that the United Kingdom's financial plight and the curtailment of funds for any traveling Briton except on commercial business have put a temporary damper on the plan.

(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, February 1952, pp.26-27)