Motor Boat Challenge [1904]

S. F. Edge Of London Wants To Race F. Croker's Auto Craft

American To Name Terms

English Builder Asks For Fifty-Knot Course

Home Boat Designed By Charles Herreshoff

Frank Croker, for whom Charles F. Herreshoff, has designed a very fast forty-three-foot auto boat, has been challenged by the S. F. Edge Company of London, the builders of the fast Napier launches. A Napier boat won the Alfred Harmsworth International Cup for motor boats last July. The challenge was printed in the London Yachtsman issued March 17, copies of which have just arrived here. The challenge reads as follows:

We challenge Mr. Frank Croker to race against our thirty-five-foot boat, Napier-Minor over a fifty-knot course with his forty-three-foot Herreshoff boat.

We will ask Mr. Croker, if he should be willing to take up this challenge, to suggest the remainder of the conditions.

Mr. Croker had not heard of the challenge before yesterday, but he said he would take it into consideration at once. Designer Herreshoff said that the new boat was rapidly nearing completion, being ready for the installation of the engines, and that undoubtedly Mr. Croker would be glad of an opportunity to race his new boat.

The Croker boat was built by the Chase-Pulley Company of Providence, and is regarded as a marvel in lightness of construction.

The mahogany hull attracted much attention at the recent motor boat show in this city. It is 43 feet long over all, 40 feet ion the water line, and has a maximum beam of 5 feet. It is long and lean, has a turtleback forward, and tapers back mackerel-like aft.

The boat is really like an automobile, as her motors and equipment are such as are put into automobiles. The steering wheel has controlling levers, with a reverse lever at the side, so the boat can be manoeuvred with great facility.

There are twin screws and two Rochet-Scheider 24-horse power motors will furnish the driving power. An actual speed of 22 1/2 knots an hour is expected. Amidships there are double cockpits, one forward of the other. In these two will be the motors, which not need an engineer. The forward cockpit is just abaft the break of the after end of the turtle back. The deck is crowned a few inches to give the structure strength. There are seats for seven persons.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, 29 Mar. 1904. P. 7. )

[This would appear to be an attempt at challenging the Herreshoffs rather than Frank Croker. I suggest this because of the fact that the Herreshoffs were so dominant in their America Cup sail-racers. Also, as Mr. Edge was the defending Harmsworth Trophy champion and the trophy was gifted for international competition, it would have been natural for Edge to challenge the powered racers of the United States, as well.

Additionally, it is interesting to not that Frank Croker was the son of Richard Croker, the infamous Boss of the Democratic Party headquarters in New York City, Tammany Hall. When things got hot for father Richard, he stepped down and named his successor as Lewis Nixon. Nixon was a long established marine architect as well as the president of the Standard Motor Company which was instrumental in powering the first Gold Cup winner, Standard. --GC]

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