1905 APBA Gold Cup

Chip Wins The Gold Cup

The American Power Boat Challenge Cup, called the Gold Challenge Cup — and it is gold, too, cost $750, and is very handsome — was raced for the third time in its history on Chippewa Bay, on the St. Lawrence River, on August 24, 25 and 26. The Chippewa, N. Y., Yacht Club had the cup, they won it last September on the Hudson River, with the Vingt-et-Un II. The Vingt-et-Un II is a Smith & Mabley production, and had been putting up some good records last year. So, when the cup race was about to be decided, W. Sharpe Kilmer, a Binghampton chap and a member of the Chippewa Yacht Club, bought the Vingt-et-Un II and lugged the cup up to his club, which is a yachting organization located in a bay on the St. Lawrence. This year is was supposed that Vingt-et-Un II, still owned by Mr. Kilmer, would again represent the Chippewa Yacht Club, and try to hold the cup against the crackerjacks of yesteryear and the new ones of this year. But, through some hocus-pocus, some misunderstanding, or non-connection of some sort, the Vingt-et-Un II was not named by the defending club, but the Chip was picked out to do the trick, and it did it nobly.

The Chip is owned by Mr. J. Wainwright, of Philadelphia, a big contractor there, with a Summer residence at Overbrook and another Summer haunt at Chippewa Bay. Mr. Wainwright owns four motorboats; the Chip, another small one called Kitten, the Tom, a runabout open craft about 40 feet, and the very handsome Overbrook, a big runabout open craft of, say, 60 feet, and one of the handsomest boats on the river. Tom and Overbrook are brothers, Tom being the smaller of the two. The Chip is only 27¼ feet long, and is powered with a 10¼ h. motor. She covered the course at the rate of 18 mile per hour. She ran first on each of the three days, and if you examine the figures, you will see that if anything spells reliability, the Chip surely does. You see, she started each day at 2:36:17. On the first day she finished at 4:28:55; the second day at 4:29:14, and the third, at 4:29:10. Next to her ran Invlese, a new boat hailing from Riverton, N.J. Invlese also performed nobly and reliably; but more of this later. The star boat in the event was the Shooting Star II, which received a cup presented by Commodore Frederick G. Bourne, for making the fastest net time in the race.

The cup races developed the fact that the A.P.B.A. rule does not develop close finishes, nor does it so handicap the boats that the big ones have any chance against the little ones. After the first day's event the pencillers were gathered around the hotels, and there was a great hubbub in regard to the unsatisfactoriness of the rule. It was figured out that the Dixie, in order to beat the Chip, would have to make 60 miles an hour. It was the consensus of opinion that the rule must be radically changed, or that it might be left as it is and the boats divided into classes, with a championship in each class. The idea that the boats rated at between 30 and 40 might be run together, then a class from 40 to 50, 50 to 60, etc. But more of this later.

The setting at Chippewa Bay was very beautiful, in fact, as superb as man working in accord with nature could produce. The St. Lawrence itself is indescribable. It is neither river, lake, nor sea, but has many of the qualities of those three different bodies of water. As anyone knows, it is dotted with islands, some untenanted, others capped with superb residences, while all about are boats galore. When the islands happen to be close together, they are connected by rustic bridges, and the whole thing makes an ideal scene, one that words cannot even faintly portray, one which would throw a painter of first rank into both exaltation and despair.

After the three days' racing at Chippewa Bay, on the 24th, 25th and 26th, the crowd rested over Sunday, then on Monday went to the rendezvous at the Thousand Island House, several miles this side of Chippewa Bay, where two more events were contested. Then on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the venue was moved still a few miles further up the river to Frontenac, where the Frontenac Yacht Club held a three days' meet, consisting of a handicap event, and a free for all event. So that the entire week might be called a boat carnival; and this is to be followed up by still further events on the first days of September by the Clayton Yacht Club at Clayton, N. Y.

Those who was the St. Lawrence for the first time were ready to admit that nature has done her very best there, that the St. Lawrence is the paradise of the motorboat, that the St. Lawrence boat builders are crackerjacks in their line, that the display of motorboats on the river is unparalleled for beauty, and that the fleet of steam yachts moving up and down the St. Lawrence waters are the noblest we know of, except perhaps, when there is a New York Y.C. or Atlantic Y.C. regatta. They also saw that motorboat use is still in its infancy on the St. Lawrence, that developments will come, and that the St. Lawrence will some day be a long, drawn-out Venice. The boat is paramount because there are no decent roads along the twenty-two-mile stretch from Clayton to Chippewa and but one isolated trolley line which we did not figure out. This makes the boat the medium of communication, and every chap who wants an outing hires a boat, or if he has an island, he owns one or more than one.

The Race Itself

The race itself was a positive fizzle. No other judgment can be executed upon it. A race for the championship of America, which the Gold Cup event is or ought to be, should involve two things: First, the presence of the star boats of America, the crackerjacks, the boats of the first flight; secondly, it necessarily must involve the competitive element. Neither one of these factors was present. It is true that Flying Dutchman III, a new Bowden flyer, was sent on for the contest, but owing to mishaps she did not compete; It is also true that Panhard II was brought here by A. Massenat, and that Shooting Star II, the new Lozier boat, did nobly. But where were Dixie, Argo, Onontio, Vingt-et-Un II, Challenger, the new Winton, Standard? These represent the cream of American racing motorboat craftsmanship up to date: they represent extreme speed (as in Dixie) also a combination of seaworthiness and speed (as in Argo). They were not present, and without them the race was shorn of its glamour. Many who journeyed hundreds of miles to see the crack boats compete were disappointed, and the victory of Chip was no compensation.

As far as competition goes, it was nil, except between Invlese and Chip; but competition between 17-mile boats doesn't go to make an American motorboat gala day. The basis of racing is speed, and when the best ones are away, the little fellows don't excite the crowd, whether they finish nose-and-nose or not. These two, Invlese and Chip, skimmed their way about the course pretty evenly. On the first day Invlese might have won but for an accident and eighth of a mile from home, which halted her 1 minute, 55 seconds. On the second day Chip beat her home a bit, and on the third day Chip rushed to the front, just at the finish. It was said by the cognoscenti that Chip could have flown away from Invlese at any stage of the game. This, however, we do not know, and no one knows except Mr. Wainwright, the owner of Chip, and Mr. Leighton, the impresario of the occasion, and their retinue.

Outside of these two little nibbles, the boats merely swirled over the course, coming through in the loneliest and most solitary sort of fashion. it was very much on the treadmill order, and it didn't speed S-p-o-r-t. The cognoscenti also said that the Chip represented a victory for the sharps. The Chippewa Bay people, who are very much clannish, determined to hold that cup; so they started early this year to figure out how it could be done. The most feasible plan, so it is said, was to increase the speed of the Chip and lower her rating. This was accomplished by reducing the revolutions and by putting on a bigger wheel. here are some figures that may have some bearing on the question as to whether the Chip was handled so as to beat the rating. Average speed in the 1905 Gold Cup race, 18 miles; best pace per hour on any leg of said race, 18.75; rating this year 46.57; horse power 10.15.

In describing the Chip last year, we had the following to say about her: She was built by Joseph Leyare, of Ogdensburg, from designs by H. J. Leighton, who ran her on the last two days of the races. Leighton being a crackerjack engine builder and designer, and of course a wonderful man in getting all there is out of a boat. The rating in 1904 was 53.85; therefore, this year it is 7.28 less than last year. The rating difference of 7.28 in this 30-mile race, would, according to the American Power Boat Association rules, mean a handicap of between ten and eleven minutes. As is pointed out in this race the Chip did 18 miles per hour. Last year, on July 30, over a course of 10 miles, and turning nine buoys, she showed a pace of 15.38 an hour, in a heavy sea. At Alexandria Bay last year, she defeated Roma, Radium and Too Easy, over a course with five turns, estimated at 21 3/4 miles long. In this race her speed was figured out at 17.53 an hour. >From these figures Chip has lowered her rating, but has held her speed of last year.

The Race In Detail

by R. B. Clark, Philadelphia

The races for the A.P.B.A. Challenge were held on August 24th, 25th and 26th, at Chippewa Bay, in the St. Lawrence River. The bay is located on the United States sid of the river, 24 miles S.W. of Ogdensburg, and 12 mile N.E. of Alexandria Bay. There were eleven entries from as many yacht clubs, and nine starters as follows:

Boat Rating Owner Club
Invlese 44.56 F. H. Wesson Riverton
Chip 46.57 J. Wainwright Chippewa Bay
Flip 60.66 W. H. Beebe Hartford
T.Z.R. 64.5 A. I. Richardson Frontenac
So Long 65.74 G. S. Hasbrouck Thousand Islands
Radium 69.65 A. R. Peacock St. Lawrence River
Shooting Star II 73.66 H. A. Lozier Jr. Manhasset Bay
Panhard II 73.76 A. Massenat Columbia
Skeeter 74.54 E. J. Schroeder N. Y. A. C.


Linus J, owned by J. J. Parker, of the Oswego Yacht Club, struck a shoal while on the way to Chippewa bay to be measured, and was held up for repairs to the propeller, which delayed her until after the entries were closed. Flying Dutchman III, H. L. Bowden's new boat, in which great interest was manifested, met with a series of accidents after being measured, and was unable to enter a single race, though work was pushed on her engine till the last moment.

The challenging boats were measured in a thorough and accurate manner by Mr. Ernest Serrell, of the Chippewa Club. The accuracy of the engine revolutions was assured as follows. Each boat was run in racing trim over a surveyed mile by the measurer, a record being made of the r.p.m., also of the time of the boat over the course. this data was used as a check on the boats while in the race. If a boat exceeded in the race the speed she had made in the test it was safe to assume that she had also exceeded the r.p.m. the engine made during the test. Since each boat's rating was based on the test figures, by exceeding these figures she laid her rating open to protest.

The course was fifteen statute miles around and the boats were sent over it twice each day. The start was directly off Commodore Englis' house, the boats heading up stream for about six miles, then making a wide turn around three buoys to starboard, they ran down stream for some 7 miles; turning three more buoys, they headed up stream to the starting line again. There were plenty of buoys to mark the course, and the policing was good, excepting on the first day, when the racers were interfered with somewhat by on-looking yachts.

There was deep water throughout the entire distance, and the accuracy of the fifteen miles was assured, as it was carefully surveyed last Winter on the ice. The down stream leg was the only stretch much exposed, and it was quite choppy in a northerly blow. Statistics and brief descriptions of the boats follow:

Boat L. W. L. Engine Cycls. Bore Stroke Cyls.
Invlese 25.16' Giant 2 4 1/2" 5" 3
Chip 27.25' Leighton 2 4" 4" 4
Flip 33.95' Darracq 4 5 9/16" 5 1/2" 4
T.Z.R. 34.16' Hiete 4 6 1/2" 7" 4
So Long 34.41' Special 4 4 1/2" 5" 4
Radium 39.26' Trebert 4 4 1/2" 5" 8
Shooting Star II 34.995' Lozier 4 4 1/2" 5 1/2" 8
Panhard II 39.84' Panhard 4 6.3" 6.69" 4
Skeeter 44.03" Speedway 4 6" 6" 6


Invlese is a wide rather heavily built open mahogany boat with high freeboard and heavy flare forward. A good sea-boat with accommodations for six people.

Chip has about 3 feet 4 inches width, with low freeboard and little sheer. Plumb stem, round torpedo stern. She is lightly built and carries a hood over entire cockpit to keep her from swamping in a sea.

Flip is one of the Holmes models with raking stem and hogged sheer line dropping nearly to waterline aft. Freeboard fair, carried hood to protect machinery. She competed for the cup last Fall on the Hudson.

T.Z.R. A good healthy-looking boat of normal type. Carried a list to port, owing to turning movement of wheel.

So Long. A narrow little racer with plumb stem and Normand type stern. Long decks and small cockpit. An out and out racer.

Radium. An unusual type for a speed launch. Fairly roomy, light and resembling a whaleboat in general form. Little bearing aft owing to pointed stern.

Shooting Star II. Similar in for to the old Shooting Star, with more beef and freeboard. Lap strake top sides, smooth underbody. Plumb stem and peculiar apron stern.

Panhard II. Low freeboard, decided sheer, plumb stem and Normand stern, with slight forward rake. metal hood and exhaust stack over engine. Small cockpit.

Skeeter. A beautifully formed boat, raking stem, apron stern, moderate freeboard, graceful sheer. Good accommodations. Not an extreme racer

The first day, August 24th, was clear and bright, with a light air. The course was practically dead flat. The preparatory gun sounded from the committee boat at 2:25, and five minutes later the starting signal was given. Invlese got away a little late and was followed in 6 minutes and 17 seconds by Chip, whose start was also poor. It was a practical certainty that one of these two boats would win the cup, hence the interest was very keen. Flip, T.Z.R. and So Long came next in the order named, each making a good start. Radium, the next boat, had clutch troubles, which caused a poor start. She withdrew from the race after running about four miles. Shooting Star II, Panhard II and Skeeter started almost in a bunch, giving promise of a very pretty race.

Skeeter had barely started before Invlese crossed the line, having completed her first round. Chip followed in 3 minutes 40 seconds, or 32 seconds behind her handicap. It seemed from this that Invlese was almost sure to win. T.Z.R., So Long, Flip, Panhard II, Shooting Star II and Skeeter finished their first round in the order named.

About 20 minutes after Skeeter had finished her first round, Invlese came in sight and neared the mark with Chip close behind. Invlese had a lead, however, which insured her winning, barring accident. When about one-eighth of a mile from the finish Invlese stopped for one minute, fifty-five seconds, owing to battery troubles, allowing Chip to win by the safe margin of 1 minute and 31 seconds. About 7 minutes later So Long dashed over the line, followed by T.Z.R., then Shooting Star II, Skeeter and Flip. Panhard II had a mishap with her magneto after completing the first round.

The standing of the boats after the first race:

Chip 9 points
Invlese 8 points
So Long 7 points
T.Z.R. 6 points
Shooting Star II 5 points
Skeeter 4 points
Flip 3 points


The second day, Friday, was clear with a good stiff norther kicking up a lumpy sea on the down-river stretch of the course. The weather conditions were not conducive to speed, especially for the smaller boats, and Invlese was look for to win handily over Chip, as the former is the superior sea-boat. Chip's owner secured the services of Mr. Leighton to run the engine. Radium and Panhard II did not appear at the start; the rest of the boats started as on Thursday. Great interest was felt at the standing of Invlese and Chip at the end of the first round. They crossed the line with Chip only 37 seconds behind, after having made considerably better time than the day before which was practically dead calm. Chip finished 1 minute 47 seconds ahead of Invlese, having gained 5 minutes and 40 seconds on the first round, and 2 minutes, 24 seconds on the second round. So Long broke down before completing the second round and withdrew. T.Z.R., Shooting Star, Skeeter and Flip finished as named.

Invlese promptly filed a protest against Chip's revolutions (rating based on 455 r.p.m.), and asked for her remeasurement under conditions similar to those of the first round, Friday. The test was postponed till the next morning, however, as Chip's engine had two brasses cut and needed some other attention after the hard day's work.

The next morning, which was flat calm, Chip was taken over the surveyed mile by Mr. Leighton and a member of the committee of the Chippewa Club. She was run over the distance several times, the final result being, best mile in 3 minutes, 41 seconds, at 450 r.p.m. She made 15 miles the day before in rough water at and average rate of 3 minutes 39 seconds. Invlese's protest was, therefore, not allowed.

Standing of boats on second day:

Chip 16 points
Invlese 14 points
T.Z.R. 11 points
Shooting Star II 9 points
Skeeter 7 points
Flip 5 points


Saturday, the third day, was clear and calm in the morning with a thunderstorm about one o'clock. The wind and rain abated, however, by 2:30, and the sun came out. The result of the race was now a foregone conclusion, barring accident, as Chip, with Mr. Leighton at the engine, had demonstrated her superiority over Invlese. But five boats started, T.Z.R. and So Long having withdrawn from the contest. At the end of the first round Chip had gained 26 seconds more than the required 3 minutes and 8 seconds. The finish was very exciting, Invlese coming in sight around the lower end of Cedar Island, with Chip close behind her; Chip gained slowly, gradually closing up the gap. As they turned the last buoy, Chip started to roll on Invlese's wave, which forced her off her course, giving Invlese a fresh lead. One hundred feet from the finish Chip made a remarkable spurt, and crossed the line 2 minutes ahead. Shooting Star II, Flip and Skeeter finished as named.

Final standing of the boats:

Chip 21 points
Invlese 18 points
Shooting Star II 12 points
T.Z.R. 11 points
Skeeter 8 points
Flip 7 points
So Long 7 points


Thus ended the third contest for the Challenge Cup. It was generally conceded to be the best managed motorboat race ever held in this country. The boats were sent off promptly according to schedule and with clear, explicit instructions. Commodore C. M. Englis placed his two boat-houses and various landing stages at the disposal of the contestants and on-lookers, and served a complimentary lunch during the races. The course was almost perfect, being laid in deep water and not in the way of any commercial traffic.

On the whole, the boats put up very good performances. Panhard II went her first and only round at the rate of 26.47 miles per hour, and had her magneto not given out, would doubtless have made a remarkable record. Shooting Star II, with the exception of the second round on the second day, made an extremely consistent record, varying for the five other rounds only 35 seconds. Invlese, despite her stop on the first day, varied only 2 minutes and 11 seconds between her slowest and fastest time. Skeeter put up a very consistent performance, and was the prettiest running boat of the fleet. Chip ran splendidly with a difference of only 2 minutes, 43 seconds between the slowest and fastest rounds.

The A.P.B.A. rules for rating and handicapping were universally criticized as not giving the larger boats any chance against the smaller ones. Numerous suggestions were made regarding changes. Some maintained that it would be impossible ever to race boats of greatly different size and power in one class---that no rule could be made to fit them all. The writer has taken a number of officially authenticated records of well-known boats, drawing chiefly from the Challenge Cup contests, and has plotted a speed and rating curve. Over this curve the A.P.B.A. handicap table was plotted. Of course, really correct data is hard to get, but with the records available the results indicated that the larger boats were handicapped only a trifle too much. The chief source of the discrepancy was what might be termed "rating inefficiency." The smaller boats appear to have paid more attention to keeping their rating down, and the larger ones seem to have relied on great speed to pull them through. The rule will not stand a great deal of tampering with, as the two curves plotted were surprisingly close.

Commodore Bourne's tender of a cup for the fastest boat seems to suggest the best way out of the difficulty. Let there be two permanent cups, the present one for the boat winning on handicap, and another for the fastest boat. Should two different yacht clubs win the cups, which would in all probability transpire, the holder of the speed cup should be required to defend it in the waters of the club holding the handicap cup, and at the same time that the latter cup is defended.

The reason for this latter provision is that the object of the A.P.B.A. is avowedly to develop a healthy and useful type of boat, and, as a rule, the low-rating boat is a more useful outfit than the high-rating one, hence the handicap cup should take precedence over the speed cup.

There is one other point that was suggested by the recent race. A number of people considered the decision of the committee in the Invlese vs. Chip protest as against the true merits of the case. In consequence the committee came in for some considerable criticism. To obviate the recurrence of a similar circumstance, let the decision of protests lie with a committee of A.P.B.A. officials, including the measurer, rather than with the officials of the club defending the cup.

From the spectacular standpoint the Flip, built by the Auto Boat Co., of West Mystic, Conn., designed by C. D. Holmes, of that company, and equipped with a Darracq engine, made no very wonderful showing. But it must be remembered that some of the boats in the race weighed 1,100 pounds, while the Flip weighed 3,000. Flip is by no means a racing freak, but was designed for general runabout use. She is owned by W. H. Beebe, of New York, with a Summer home at Sacketts Harbor, on Lake Ontario. After the tree days' races were over, Flip could be seen running down the river, taking home her owner, two of his men and many hundreds of pounds of baggage. That's the sort of boat Flip is, and to race her against boats of the skeleton order must be very unsatisfactory. Putting the Flip into competition with extreme racing boats shows that motorboat racing needs revision.

The Starts and Finishes

  Aug Chip Invlese So Long T.Z.R. S. Star II Skeeter Flip Radium Panhard II
Start 24 2:36:17 2:30 3:16:54 3:15:03 3:27:29 3:28:35 3:08:44 3:22:26 3:27:46
25 2:36:17 2:30   3:15:03 3:27:29 3:28:35 3:08:44    
26 2:36:17 2:30     3:27:29 3:28:35 3:08:44    
Finish 24 4:28:55 4:30:26 4:37:15 4:40:54 4:41:57 4:44:58 4:47:35 dnf dnf
25 4:29:14 4:31:01   4:38:01 4:45:29 4:46:58 4:48:23    
26 4:29:10 4:29:12     4:43:10 4:48:28 4:43:57    
Time 24 1:52:38 2:00:26 1:20:21 1:25:51 1:14:28 1:16:23 1:38:51    
25 1:52:57 2:01:01   1:22:58 1:18:00 1:18:23 1:39:39    
26 1:52:53 1:59:12     1:15:41 1:19:31 1:35:15    
Speed 24 18.42 17.27 25.90 24:38 28.78 27.09 21.04    
25 18.34 17.12   25.12 26.57 26.57 20.83    
26 18.38 17.41     27.45 26.07 21.81    


(Excerpts transcribed from The Motor Boat, Sep. 10, 1905, pp. 1-10. )

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