All Records Afloat Beaten by the Arrow [1902]

She Ran Over a Nautical Mile in Ninety-two Seconds

Equal to a Little More than One Minutes and Eighteen Seconds for a Statute Mile

First Use of Her Two Boilers

Charles R. Flint's twin-screw yacht Arrow beat her own and all other records yesterday over an officially measured course on the Hudson River, between Ardsley and Irvington, by making a nautical mile of 6,080 feet in 92 seconds, or a statute mile in a little more than 1 minute 18 seconds, or at the rate of 39.24 knots or nautical miles, or 44.13 statute miles an hour. The record was made with two boilers. Her best record heretofore was 1:37.5 for a statute mile of 5,280 feet, or at the rate of 36 statute miles an hour, with one boiler. The feat of yesterday was accomplished without accident or indication of undue strain, and the craft at its highest speed raised only a bow wave, did not "channel" or wallow, and kept to her running lines.

The Arrow, which has served to transport Mr. Flint between the Ardsley Club and New York during the Summer, goes out of commission to-morrow, and her owner, until his family leave Ardsley, will make use of his stable of saddle horses in his trips to the city, riding to and from Yonkers and making the rest of the journey by train. He had, because he had never directed the use of the two boilers of the yacht, only an idea that with two boilers in service she could do better than 38 knots an hour, and possibly creep up to 42 knots. He determined on the test made yesterday just "to see what she could do." A preliminary to the trial was the laying out of the course by Coast Survey experts who, by triangulation marked a nautical mile by white posts set on tripods on the track of the New York Central, on just North of the Ardsley pier and the other just south of the bluff on which Miss helen M. Gould's house stands.

The Arrow started from Pier A, North River, at 12:37 P.M., and, swinging out in the stream, went at a comfortable twenty-five miles an hour clip on the way to Ardsley. With Mr. Flint, the owner, were his brother, Wallace B. Flint; his secretary, W. A. Sands, and Joseph H. and Alfred H. Hoadley. The yacht was almost stripped for her trial, and she carried but one of her two boats. Of the stores of coal on board, half was in sacks ready to be taken off before the race against time. The yachts complement consisted of Capt. E. C. Packard, Chief Engineer Jefferson S. Briggs, "the brains of the installation," two firemen, one water tender, two assistant engineers, and two oilers.

Grant's Tomb was passed at exactly 1 P.M., and Ardsley was reached 50 minutes later, the run of 30 miles having been made in 73 minutes, or 2 minutes, 34 and 1-3 seconds to each mile. Off Ardsley was Joseph H. Hoadley's steam yacht Nushka, which took on board all of the Arrow's passengers, leaving her with her complement and the official timekeeper. While the Nushka found anchorage about a quarter of a mile off the finishing mark ashore, the Arrow went to the Ardsley Pier and landed her surplus coal and dunnage.

The Run Over the Course

It was what is known as high water slack, with a westerly wind that was alternately squally, puffs raising whitecaps, and a four knot breeze when the Arrow, ready for her run, swung out from the pier and tested the working condition of her machinery by crossing the river. Veering around, she crossed to the north shore and struck the line of her up-river course about half a mile below the starting post. She hung there a few seconds and started to get headway for the knot for which she was to be times at 2:35 o'clock. Those on the Nushka, although a mile and a half away, saw in a few seconds that she had "picked up a bone" and would enter the nautical mile at top speed. Her cutwater parted the water into two big waves which amidships spread nearly a hundred feet on each side, but there was no deck washing of consequence, and those at the bow were dry-footed. At half distance the roar of her machinery and her rush through the water were suddenly made louder by a rush of steam which a couple of seconds later was doubled. Several novices on Mr. Hoadley's yacht looked uneasy.

"Nothing the matter," said Mr. Flint, reassuringly, "she's got her dander up and that comes from the safety valves."

That, as will be told later, was the case. It enhanced the spectacle of the rushing craft, which appeared, with the steam clouds on each side, like a swan with outspread wings impelled by titanic force and dashing at mad speed smoothly and on even keel. The yacht passed the Nushka with the velocity of an express train, making the course in 1 minute 32 seconds. Here was the time to observe how the racing craft behaved, although everyone was cheering wildly and the acclamations were taken up on shore. It was noted with satisfaction that she sat flat; left no wake except churned green water; did not "squat;" ran on her lines, and created no "furrowing" or "channeling."

The Arrow ran almost at the same speed to just south of Tarrytown, and then circled for the Irvington Pier, when the Nushka preceded her. Mr. Flint received the official record of the run with satisfaction. It was then learned that the safety valves were set for a pressure of 375 pounds, or twenty-five pounds under the full working pressure of the boilers. Just as the first half-mile of the run had been covered one of the safety valves operated automatically, and then the pressure of the boilers was 400 pounds.

"Down below" matters, as may be imagined, were in a condition of bustle and excitement, and on a jangling of wires, construed as a warning, an assistant engineer opened the other valve. With the two valves open there was a slight falling off in propulsion force, and, but for that and a slight swerving in the course taken after the Arrow had entered the official mile, the record would have been a fraction over forty nautical miles an hour, or a knot in 1 minute 30 seconds.

The crew from the Captain down praised the craft for its steadiness. At a speed of 25 miles an hour it has a tremor that can only be detected by placing a hand on the rail or some part of the upper hull. The tremor at utmost speed yesterday was increased slightly, and the gliding qualities of the yacht were so perfect that an officer standing on the deck while she was speeding, said that the sensation was as if the craft was going to slip away from under him. Down below conditions were, it was admitted, trying, but not more severe than might be expected in such circumstances of steam generation to the limit.

At the Irvington piers were many carriages from neighboring country houses and the Ardsley Golf Club, including those of Mr. Gustav H. Schwab and Mrs. C. R. Flint, and when the Arrow tied up at Ardsley later there was a large gathering of men and women from the clubhouse to greet her and congratulate her owner.

The record made by the Arrow yesterday was compared with others. The Vamoose's best was at the rate of twenty-four statute miles an hour; that of the Porter was thirty-three statute mines. The turbine torpedo boat Viper was, under private, not official conditions, credited with over forty-two miles, and a German torpedo boat destroyer has been credited with a fraction under that rate of speed.

The coal used on the Arrow in her record trial was picked egg anthracite of a quality so excellent that during the race no smoke came from her stack. About two tons were consumed from the time she left Pier A to the end of the race against time.

Construction and Equipment

The Arrow's hull was constructed for Mr. Flint by Samuel Ayers & Son of Nyak, the boilers were built at the Crescent shipyard at Elizabeth, N.J. The L. Wright Machine Works of Newark, N.J., turned out the main engine and auxiliaries, the air and feed pumps came from the shops of W. Forbes & Co., Hoboken, N.J., and the decorative work was that of E. Caldwell & Co., of New York. The dimensions, capacity &c., of the yacht are:

Length, extreme, 130 feet 4 inches; length on waterline, 130 feet; beam, extreme, 12 feet 6 inches; norman draught of hull, 3 feet 10 inches; draught under screws, 4 feet 11 inches; depth amidship, 9 feet 4 inches; displacement, normal, (draught of 3 feet 10 inches,) 78 tons; coal bunker capacity, 17 tons; water tank capacity, 1,800 gallons.

The type of the two boilers is curved water tube, with a grate surface of 120 square feet and a heating surface of 5,540 feet. They weigh in steaming condition 15.59 tons. The two engines are quadruple expansion; they weigh 23,000 pounds and have cylinders of 11, 17, 24 and 32 inches; the stroke is 15 inches; the revolutions run up to 600 and piston speed is 1,500 feet. The horse- power, indicated, is about 4,000. The yacht is as remarkable for its fittings, conveniences, and luxury as it is for its speed and machinery.

The first trip for the Arrow was to the Columbia-Shamrock II yacht contest in 1901, and the first guest was Baron Fersen, Naval Attache of the Russian Embassy. Other guests entertained from time to time on board have been the Grand Duke Boris, J. Walker Martinez, the Chilian Minister; Dr. Porfirio Nogueire of the State of Amazonas, Sir Philip Burne-Jones, who, with a sketch in the log book, wrote off Stony Point this Summer:

"Modern representation of effete civilization in shade of Anthony
Wayne. Many happy returns of the day. July 16, 1902." 

Lyman J. Gage, A.J. Eddy, Chicago; Frederic R. Coudert, Capt. Richmond P. Hobson, U.S.N.; Frederick Eldridge, F.W. Ruckstuhl, and Governor Murphy of New Jersey were guests at times.

The Arrow, using only one boiler, beat the Monmouth over the Sandy Hook route on July 12 last.

(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 7, 1902)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins & Donald L. Blount for assistance in preparing this page]