Formation of the Motor Boat Club of America [1905]

Motor Boat Owners To Form New Club

E. R. Thomas Anxious To See National Organization Perfected

Headquarters On Hudson

Over Fifty Members Already Secured--- Will Meet To-Night To Plan Active Campaign Next Year

A number of motor boat owners and others interested in the practical development of the industry for sport and pleasure will meet this evening at the Hotel Manhattan for the purpose of discussing plans to form a National motor boat club. The need for such a club has been long felt. Last year a number of the neighboring yacht clubs added motor boat races to their regular schedules and, to a smaller extent, it was repeated this season. But the motor boat races held under the auspices of the yacht clubs, while furnishing good sport in a few cases, have contributed neither to the interest in nor to the advancement of motor boating as had been expected.

The number of motor boat owners in both the Automobile Club and the various yacht clubs is relatively so small in comparison with the total club memberships that the sport cannot fail to occupy an inferior position.

Ever since the motor boat carnival in September held by the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufacturers, the need of a representative club that will gather in one fold all active motor boat owners and lovers of the sport has been seriously felt. The meeting to-night will be the direct outcome of a number of discussions upon the subject. Many of the local yacht clubs will be represented among those who are anxious to see a lively hustling motor club organized and one that will at the same time be recognized both here and abroad as America's National club.

It is quite probable that the organization will be known as the Motor Boat Club of America. E. R. Thomas, owner of the 150-horsepower Dixie, the fastest motor boat of the year on this side of the Atlantic, has shown his interest in the new club by consenting to become one of its charter members, and he has offered several valuable suggestions that will be discussed to-night. Over fifty members have already been obtained, and it is confidently expected that with this permanent organization, the club will begin its existence with fully 100 members. A Board of Directors or Trustees will be chosen to-night, so that the necessary articles of incorporation may be filed as soon as possible at Albany. Those who have consented to become members are: Edward R. Thomas, Charles L. Seabury, Henry R. Sutphen, George J. Vestner, F. P. Prial, F. W. Belknap, Andre Massenat, Seymour Oppenheimer, M.D., Samuel S. Thornton, Richard H. Stearns, A. D. Proctor Smith, James Craig Jr., Louis Annin Ames, Jacob Siegel, Louis Neumann, M.D., Albert E, Eldridge, H. L. Aldrich, J. A. H. Dressel, John H. Norris, Charles Francis, H. A. Lozier Jr., Emil Huel, M.D., A. de Magnin, George Gillig, William H. Williams Jr., J. G. Fraser, J. W. S. Harding Jr., Charles M. Reidell, H. M. Brautigan, Joseph Devantery, W. McMaster Mills, Charles P. Tower, George E. Shaw, John D. Roach, Walter J. Hewlett, M. W. Houck, George H. Terry, Frederick M. Crossett, J. Burt Green, Charles L. Dolt, C. M. Hamilton, Carlton R. Mabley, J. S. Bunting, J. J. Amory, and H. N. Whittlesey.

Plans are already being laid, subject to official action, to secure permanent club quarters on the Hudson River. This will be a thoroughly up-to-date clubhouse, equipped with all facilities for storing and taking care of motor craft. Lectures upon technical topics and subjects of more general interest will be given occasionally during the year. Negotiations will also be opened with foreign motor boat clubs for the purpose of arranging one or more international events.

No American boat was sent abroad this season to compete for the Harmsworth Cup, which was raced for in France. An English boat won, and the race will be held in English waters next season.

"America will have a boat in the race next year," said one of the leaders in the new organization yesterday, "and there is a strong possibility that two boats will be sent across the water. The international trophy offered by the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufacturers last month has also stimulated interest abroad and the officers have received letters from three or four prominent motor boat owners in Great Britain asking for information regarding next year's race. It is more than likely that some of the best boats on the other side will be seen in American waters next season.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, Oct. 25, 1905, p. 11)

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National Motor Boat Club

Seventy Members Join New Organization — Planning for Busy Season

Over seventy members of the proposed National Motor Boat Club of America were enrolled last night at the preliminary meeting at the Hotel Manhattan. Representatives from many metropolitan yacht clubs, the Automobile Club of America, the American Power Boat Association, and other clubs were present, and there was a unanimity in favor of a single National motor body organization which would both control and guide the interest of the sport in this country.

Charles P. Tower of the Larchmont Yacht Club was chosen temporary Chairman, and Hugh S. Gambel, Secretary of the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufacturers, acted as Secretary. It was decided unanimously to form the club, and the following committee was appointed to draw up by-laws and nominate a list of officers: Charles Francis, H. H. Behse, John D. Roach, George J. Vestner, and Dr. Seymour Oppenheimer.

The committee will report at the next meeting, which will be held within two weeks, when the officials will be elected and an active campaign will be mapped out for racing and cruising next season. It is possible that perhaps one or two cruises of several hundred miles will be planned. The club will also open negotiations with the leading motor boat organizations abroad, with the view of being recognized as the National motor boat club in America, through which entries will be made for all international motor boat contests. Plans have already been made for the building of a number of fast cruising and racing boats, which will be ready early in the year, and it is probable that a series of short as well as long distance races will be held at intervals during the season.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, Oct. 26, 1905, p. 11 )

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Motor Boat Club Officers

A.D. Proctor Smith Chosen Commodore of National Organization

With a membership close to 100, and with indications of a lively racing season next year, the Motor Boat Club of America held its first formal meeting last night at the Hotel Manhattan. Officers were elected for the year, and A. D. Proctor Smith was unanimously chosen Commodore. The other officers are: Vice Commodore---Fred Sterry; Rear Commodore---George Gillig; Secretary---Hugh S. Gambel; Treasurer---Charles Francis; Board of Governors, three-year term---Edward R. Thomas and Howard Gould; two-year term, William B. Hayden and H. H. Behse; one-year term, John J. Amory and George Vestner.

It was stipulated in the constitution, which was adopted, that the Commodore, Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore must all be motor boat owners. The new Commodore has been for several seasons has been one of the most enthusiastic motor boat devotees in this vicinity, and he sailed the first American boat to enter for the Harmsworth Cup in England two years ago.

The Commodore will appoint the various committees at once, and active work will begin for a number of events next year. The racing season of the club will extend from May 15 to Oct. 1. While nothing definite was decided last night, it is likely that Spring and Fall events will be held on the Hudson River and it is barely possible that the club will encourage a cruising event.

The club will have permanent quarters on the Hudson. Several plans are already under advisement. The clubhouse will be in the Fort Washington district, owing to the inability to secure proper accommodations lower down the river.

It was announced that both E. R. Thomas and Howard Gould would accept the office of Governor, to which each was elected. Mr. Thomas declined the position of Commodore, owing to lack of time. Mr. Gould is going to sail for the Mediterranean early in december, but will be back next Spring, and it is believed he will take an active part in motor boat racing.

The constitution and by-laws adopted last night provide that the annual meeting of the club shall be held on the third Wednesday of November. No initiation fee will be charged until after April 1. After that time the entrance fee will be $50 and the annual dues will be $50. Provision is made for the election of twenty life members a year, $500 being the cost of a life membership. Among the honorary members who will be recognized at all times will be the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of War, the Admiral, the Governor of New York, the Officer of Engineers in charge of harbor improvements near New York, the Inspector of the Third Lighthouse District, and the Officer of Engineers in charge of that district.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, Nov. 16, 1905, p. 8 )

{The Motor Boat Club of America would be the chief organizer of Harmsworth challenges until the emergence of Gar Wood as an international racing power - GWC}

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