Dixie's First Trials [1904]

Thomas Boat Tried Out

Sent At Speed in Oyster Bay and Equals Thirty Miles An Hour

Edward R. Thomas's new autoboat, which the her helmsman, Mr. Franquist, into the river at her trial at speed on the Hudson last week, and which was overhauled to prevent a repetition of the accident, had another trial yesterday at Oyster Bay. She was sent at the highest rate of speed, and behaved splendidly. What time she made was kept secret, but Mr. Thomas expressed himself as well satisfied with her performance, and said she would undoubtedly break records before she was through. Following her in a tender it appeared as though she passed the marks laid off at a rate of close to thirty miles an hour, which she exceeded in her first trial.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, June 26, 1905, p. 2. )

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Thomas Auto Boat Wrecked

Dixie Strikes A Rock At Greenwich And Narrowly Escapes Sinking

The ill luck that has pursued the Dixie, the new boat built for E. R. Thomas, with which he expects to smash all motor boat records, nearly finished her yesterday in the power boat races at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club regatta at Greenwich. She struck the Hen and Chickens Rock while going at full speed and ripped open her bottom. That she did not sink was die to the quick assistance rendered to her. two launches, one on either side, took he in tow, and buoying her up, started for her builder's shops. She reached Astoria in safety, but the extent of her injuries has not been ascertained. it is certain that it will be some time before she can race, and not at all sure that she will find her speed greatly diminished.

The boat cost $10,000 to build, and a good-sized bonus was to be paid if she exceeded the record. In her first trial at speed she made a mile in 1 minutes and 56-1/5 seconds, which is at the rate of thirty-one miles an hour and better than any other auto boat has yet made. But on the trial she threw her helmsman in the river, and had to have a larger rudder installed to prevent a repetition of the accident. Then she was to be officially timed, and when ready for the test would not run at all.. Then she was matched to meet the Challenger, but the Brokaw boat failed to appear. Now when about to get her first race and real trial, she is wrecked on a rock.

Transcribed from the New York Times, July 5, 1905, p. 8.

{It would appear that the Dixie was starting her career in much the same fashion as the Challenger, experiencing some awfully difficult teething in. Of course, later results would bear out the superior qualities of Thomas's new toy. - GWC}

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page]