1904 New York to Poughkeepsie Hudson River Race

Race for Croker's Boat


XPDNC Covers 136 Miles Without Stop — Onontio fast

Out of the haze settling on the Hudson River after sunset last night, a narrow riband of white foam, growing in volume as it approached the watchers on the Columbia yacht Club's pier, at Eighty-sixth St., suddenly took the shape of a mahogany auto boat. it was Frank Croker's XPDNC. Travelling at railroad speed, she dashed across the finish line, the winner of the stake of $1,000 and of the longest and best race of the year, going from Eighty-sixth-st. to the Poughkeepsie bridge and back, 136.6 statute miles, without a stop or even a slowdown, at the rate od 23.33 knots an hour up and 22.12 down, an average of 22.86 or 26.29 statute miles an hour. The tide was fair half way up and half way down.

It was a great triumph for the Herreshoffs as well, "Nat" Herreshoff, after being beaten this summer, has produced a boat that may be called a world beater, which has shown not only wonderful speed, but remarkable engine endurance. it was thought that all three of the boats that started would have to stop at least once, and perhaps twice to take on a supply of gasolene. The Vingt et Un stopped twice, losing about forty minutes. The Vingt et Un finished in the dark at 6:15 p.m. She had been beaten 59 minutes official, 19 minutes actual, with time deducted for stoppages.

The start was at five minutes past noon, after a wait of two hours for Croker's boat, which arrived at 2 minutes to 12, and, with her owner at the wheel, she dashed across the line twenty seconds after the last signal. Owing to some derangement of her machinery at the last moment the Challenger, steered by A. D. P. Smith, did not start until two minutes later, and the Vingt et Un, with C. H. Crane at the helm, was even more unfortunate, for someone stepped on her control wires and broke them while she was getting ready for the start. It required 11 minutes and 5 seconds to repair them, and by that time the other boats were out of sight to the northward.

Commodore Harrison B. Moore of the Atlantic yacht Club, with his new 60-foot boat Onontio, waited off One-hundred-and-twenty-eighth-st. until all three boats had passed; he then began to chase them. Turning up 700 revolutions a minute with her Craig engine, those on board the Onontio were able to see the boats when they passed Yonkers. She overhauled and passed the Challenger off Rock Light, exactly 32 minutes after she began her race after them. Later in the day she beat all motor boats' records by travelling over the measured government mile at the rate of 24.66 knots, or 28.36 statute miles an hour. She was timed by Commodore J. W. Allison of the Cape May Yacht Club.

The Poughkeepsie course, which had been accurately surveyed by officials of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, was exactly 68.3 statute miles from Eighty-sixth St. to the Poughkeepsie bridge, 1,500 feet south of which the turning mark, a tugboat, was anchored. A great crowd had gathered on both shores of the river at this point to see the race. The XPDNC and the Vingt et Un made a beautiful turn, not slowing up at all, but making a wide sweep and continuing down the river. The Challenger did not appear, for in passing Haverstraw she struck a log in the river which smashed her propeller and put her out of the race. She was towed back later to the yacht club.

(Transcribed from the New York Daily Tribune, Oct. 30, 1904, p. 6. )

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