1904 American Yacht Club Regatta

Auto Boats in Collision

Vingt-et-Un and Water Lily Both Badly Damaged

Hard Boiled Egg in Danger

Vanderbilt Forced to Heave His Anchor

High Wind Spoils Races at American Yacht Club

Two of the fastest auto boats in local waters, the Vingt-et-Un and the Water Lily, were rendered unfit for racing for several days, at least, while W.K. Vanderbilt Jr.'s Hard Boiled Egg was forced to put her anchor overboard in order to prevent being dashed upon the Scotch Caps, yesterday, just before the start of the motor boat races held by the American Yacht Club off Milton Point, near Rye, on Long Island Sound. A furious northwest wind churned up the water at such a rate as to make it practically impossible for the small craft to race with any satisfaction to themselves or to the existing automobile boat records. That there was an evident intention to go against the best American record; lately set by the Standard, is seen by the entry in the auto boat class of the Standard, the Vingt-et-Un, which came very close to the record in her recent defeat of the Fiat; the Hard Boiled Egg, the challenger that is to compete in England for the Harmsworth Cup, and the Water Lily. Only one class, however, was finished, and that was for the slower boats.

The Vingt-et-Un and the Water Lily had the most serious collision that has yet occurred to motor boats. While manoeuvring around the stakeboat, the Vingt-et-Un crashed directly into the Water Lily, striking her amidships a little forward of the engine. The accident, apparently, was unavoidable, as the Vingt-et-Un was rounding a launch, anchored near by, and the helmsman did not see the Water Lily until the latter craft was directly across the bow of the Vingt-et-Un.

C.M. Hamilton, who was steering the latter boat, shut off his motive power in an instant, thus weakening the force of the collision, for had the sharp prow of his boat hit the Water Lily with only half its regular speed the Water Lily would have been cut through as clean as though with a knife. As it was, the light woodwork of her hull was smashed badly, being cut away for a considerable distance below the water line. Two mechanicians were managing the boat, which is owned by Frank Seeman of the Yonkers Yacht Club. While the water poured into the Water Lily, it did not sink her, and the boat was towed to a shipyard near the point for repairs.

The Vingt-et-Un had her bow badly smashed, about six inches being torn away and the hull, for several feet, being stove in. After making temporary repairs at the yacht club float, Mr. Hamilton started off in the damaged boat for Larchmont for repairs.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, July 3, 1904, p. 11. )

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