Notes From Up and Down the Coast [1910]

Short Items of Interest Sent in by Special Correspondents [January-February 1910]



One of the latest devices to prevent collisions at sea will be put to a test during the (Seattle to Vancouver) long-distance race next summer. Dr. Lee de Forest’s aerophone, a remarkable invention which signals the approach to a vessel carrying it of any other vessel, has given some satisfactory demonstrations along the Atlantic seaboard, and the Pacific Radio Company here has promised to outfit some of the motor boats which enter the race next summer with it. There are some mechanical contrivances nowadays which almost think, and the aerophone is one of them. It is a simple little affair, which instantly gives warning when the vessel carrying it is within a certain distance of another vessel or the shore. It also gives the direction in which the other vessel or shore is. It works in any kind of weather, neither fogs nor storms having any effect on it. Dr. de Forest hit upon the principle of it when he was perfecting his wireless telephone. He is the chief engineer of the Radio Wireless telephone Company and that company will give local motor boat owners an exhibition of what the aerophone can do.


A great deal of interest is being taken in the new speed boat being built by D. O. McDonald, an eastern designer and a boat builder, for H. W. Buzzard, fleet captain of the Lake Whatcom Motor Club. The new boat is 25 feet in length, and has a 4 ft. 6 in. beam and of particularly racy lines. They expect at present to install a 14 H.P. engine, but it is more than likely that she will carry at least 30 H.P. before the season is over.

Mr. Buzzard is the owner of two semi-speed boats and with the addition, he will have a fleet of three at his command at any time. His wife is also a motor boat enthusiast, she having a boat of her own which she uses at their summer residence on Lake Whatcom.

Mr. R. C. Stephens, a prominent plastering contractor is laying plans for the construction of a purely speed boat for this coming season, he having now one of the finest pleasure and semi-speed boats on the lake, but being such a firm enthusiast as to speed, it is rumored that he is somewhat afraid of being out-classed the coming season and expects to put on a winner in every sense of the word.



Portland is to have a speed boat in the spring which is expected to smash all the records that have been made by her many fast boats in the past, and as Portland boats have beaten everything on the Pacific Coast, this means that the new boat will be the fastest on the western seaboard, and possibly a world-beater. The new boat will be built by the Curtis Power Boat Company for Captain Milton Smith of Rainier, Oregon, and will be 32 feet in length. It will be constructed entirely of mahogany and will be built along lines that will offer the least resistance and develop the highest possible speed. The power plant will consist of a six-cylinder, four cycle, 120 H.P. Emerson special nickel steel racing engine. The engine will be unique in a number of ways, it being specified that the weight is not to exceed 350 lbs. It is claimed by the manufacturers that this new racing mechanism will take in, burn, and expel at least three times the amount of gas that can be negotiated by any engine in the world. The cylinders are made of nickel steel, and are of great tensile strength. They are jacketed with a special alloy of nickel and copper which not only forms the jacket, but the cylinder heads as well. The frame is of nickel steel open rod type and the entire frame of the six cylinders weighs only 17 lbs. The base is of steel, which is 10 times stronger and only three times heavier per square foot than aluminum. The engine is complete reversing, which does away with the heavy reverse gear, as a gear capable of holding this engine would weigh more than the engine itself. For the horse power, it is claimed that this is the lightest engine in the world. The French Antoinette was weighed without fly wheel, etc., and was almost twice as heavy per H.P. as this engine. The same type of engine of 60 H.P. drove a speed boat, a 30 footer, a measured mile before the Counsel General of the United States at Ottawa, Canada, in one minute and 57 seconds, eight years ago, and the manufacturers have improved the engine ever since. The owner, boat builder and engine manufacturer expect that if everything goes well this will be the fastest boat for its length in the world.

Otto W. Ranft, who has been connected with the Portland Rowing Club for the past few years, has resigned as caretaker and is going into the boat-building business. He is building a boat for himself at the present time

Von der Worth Bros. Have a number of prospects, among them being a speed boat which they say, if built, will be one of the fastest, if not the fastest, boat in her class that ever cut the waters of the Willamette River.

The Curtis Power Boat Co., having too much business for their present quarters, are looking for more space. Mr. Curtis says he has a number of good locations, but has not decided on exactly where he will move to.


San Diego

The speedy runabout Hummer has been sold by F. Benham to Mr. F. Fowiss, of Roseville.

Messrs. Hazzard and Gould have purchased the famous Gray Streak and installed a high speed Ford engine in her that has made the little craft get out of the water and fly—so they say. Any how she is credited with 20 miles and over, which is going some for a 17 ft. boat.

Mr. J. E. Ort, of Cal. Iron Works, has purchased T. C. Hammond’s successful speed boat Black Cat, and will equip her with more power.

J. W. Fridley, 444 6th street, boat designer and builder, is remodeling the 17 ft. speed boat Comet, one of the fastest hulls on the Coast, for its size. Mr. C. Price, her new owner, has ordered a 35 H.P. Waterman engine 2 cycle 4 cylinder, weighing 93 pounds that he says will make her move some.



Wireless telegraphy for yachts! This is the latest novelty in Vancouver. Jack Richardson, the Vancouver telegraph operator who recently purchased the sloop Imo from her American owners at East Sound, near Bellingham, will install on his 40-foot craft a wireless apparatus next spring. He is already installing a gasoline auxiliary and his wireless machine will be one and a quarter kilowatts which will enable him to communicate with stations and ships within a radius of 500 miles.. The mast of the Imp is 50 feet high and Richardson plans to run the antennae of the wireless up to the spreaders on a special yard which can be lowered down and stowed when the equipment is not required.

(Transcribed from Pacific Motor Boat, January 1910, pp. 32-40.)

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For the promotion of the sport of motor boating as well as for the development of local interest in their own particular lines, the Campbell Hardware Company is contemplating the holding of a series of races and offering prizes for Seattle boats of one design. The idea was suggested by the 21-foot one design class of the British Motor Boat Club, which promises to be a leading feature of motor boat sport in the old country next summer. This Seattle firm, acting as agents for the Ferro engine and the Mullins and Johnson boats, are planning to hold something late in the summer if the event proves feasible—a race for the 16, 18, 20 and 22-footers of their respective makes. As they will undoubtedly dispose of a large number of these boats and as boats of identical design and horsepower make the only true racing it is to be hoped that their plans will not fail of materialization.


Edwin C. Judd, of Astoria, Ore., who with T. L. Driscoll, of the same city, owns the famous speed boat Greenhorn, was a recent visitor in Everett and while here consorted with the local motor boat men, his tales of speed boating on the lower Columbia exciting considerable interest. He says that there are many fast boats on the Columbia, and related many interesting stories about the game. His talk has stirred up interest here in speed boating and may result in interesting local enthusiasts in that branch of the game.



It was in April, 1908, when a few boys met in a room of the Portland public baths to discuss the advisability of launching a motor boat club. General plans were talked over and a committee appointed on ways and means, but appointing committees does not make a club. What was needed was a few enthusiastic motor boat men to come to the front, put their shoulders to the wheel and pilot the club to success. This work fell on Mr. Jas. B. Welch and Mr. Geo. J. Kelly, who had a number of talks over a number of glasses of gasoline and outlined a plan which they were determined to carry out. They leased a strip of water front, bought a couple of logs and some lumber, built a float and drove some piling. They then tied Mr. Kelly’s houseboat to the piles, raising a club pennant and called the place the Willamette Motor Boat Club. The next thing to do was to look for members and boats to bring to the club so as to make expenses. This was no easy task; indeed it was a hard grind, but step by step they went on until March 1909, when they thought best to incorporate, which they did, taking over 600 of the 1,000 shares of capital stock, and putting the balance on the market. This was partly taken up and the club continued until a short time ago, when it was decided at a meeting to re-organize, take over the old organization, incorporate and sell stock to raise money to build a fine new clubhouse. Therefore a committee with full power to act was appointed and after a number of meetings they have arranged on details and made final arrangements with the old club to take charge on the first of February, 1910. The committee has about $2,500 already pledged and expect to raise in the neighborhood of $5,000 before time to build. The committee has also made arrangements with Mr. Jas. B. Welch to act as manager for the club and at a meeting to be held some time in February, officers will be elected for the year 1910. The committee who have the re-organization in charge are Chairman C. V. Cooper, C. W. Boost, W. H. Curtis, Frank Lewis and A. F. Rober.

C. W. Boost, a prominent member of the Willamette Motor Boat Club, spent the middle part of January in Los Angeles attending the aviator’s meeting. There is some rumor of Mr. Boost owning an airship some time in the future.

For a man with so many responsibilities, George J. Kelly, commodore of the Willamette Motor Boat Club, is a very happy man. Mr. Kelly, incidentally, carries the weight of many cares upon his shoulders. In addition to operating a street railway department, he has found it necessary to take up a good portion of the burden of organizing and boosting the Willamette Motor Boat Club, and now he has added to these responsibilities by getting married. He assumed his latest care, however, in the same manner that he has shouldered the others, cheerfully, even eagerly, it is claimed, and now his usual smile and the goodness of his disposition has increased about 300 per cent, and his friends say he is so happy that it hurts. Mr. Kelly was married to Miss Cora Olive of Portland on Tuesday, January 25th, and his many friends in the club are wishing him long life, happiness and prosperity.


San Francisco

John Twigg & Sons Company are overhauling the speed boat Konocti, owned by E. J. Holt and Prent Gray of San Francisco.

(Transcribed from Pacific Motor Boat, February, 1910, pp. 32-38.)