1906 Lake George Regatta

Motor Boating on Lake George

by G. W. Stebbins

The annual event of the Lake George Regatta Association crowns each season on the "Queen of American Lakes." Occurring the latter part of August, it comes at a time when the hotels are crowded with guests from every part of American, and Regatta Day is made a general holiday for miles around. Excursions are run from as far away as Albany and Plattsburg, and every craft on the Lake, from the swift and graceful Ellide to the smallest canoe, brings its burden of sightseers to Hague. Hague Bay has been for years the scene of this aquatic tournament. Its waters, two and a half miles wide by nearly four miles long, without dangerous rock or shoal, and varying from twenty to hundreds of feet in depth, furnish an ideal spot for such a gathering. Shut off on the north by Anthony's Nose and south by low-lying peninsulas, its waters are relatively smooth, even during the prevalence of strong south winds, so that the rowing and canoe races are rarely interfered with. And so it is here that the five-mile triangular course and the two-mile straight-a-way have been laid out and surveyed on the ice; and each summer, two weeks or more before the race day, the well-marked buoys are placed so that all contestants may practice to their heart's content. The starting and finishing line of all races is from the point of a little wooded island, where the Committee has erected a lofty signal spar, to the private dock of Mr. Harry Watrons, Secretary of the National Academy of Designs.

This fairway, about a hundred yards in width, forms a deep and natural harbor and rendezvous for the scores of contestants, and around this point are grouped the hundreds of gaily decorated craft of every conceivable kind. And on shore, the hospitable grounds of Mr. Watrons' estate, the broad verandas of the Harbor Island Hotel, and the southern end of the island, are crowded with a multitude of watchers. it is thought that this tear fully three thousand persons will witness the Regatta, of whom one-half will be afloat.

A suggestion of what will be may be obtained from a brief summary of what occurred a year ago. Perfect weather ushered in the morning of the 17th of August, 1906. Cool air, brightest of skies, sparkling water and a gentle breeze, welcomed the contestants and their supporters. The twelve racers began at ten in the morning and with an hour intermission at one o'clock, ended at five.

Rowing races for girls and boys, and men and women, canoe races, a barge race, and two events for motor boats, made up the programme. Medals of gold, silver and bronze were given as prizes for each race and there were also several cups for the barge contest. This brought to the line the famous Shooting Star, owned by Com. Harrison B. Moore; Bunny, owned by Mr. Herman Broesel; Forward, owned by Mr. W. K. Bixby; Hyke-You, owned by Mr. Chas. Gates; and Mr. De Land C. Cramer's Winninish.

The course was ten miles, twice around the triangle. Bunny got off first with a handicap of 6m. 43s., followed two minutes later by Hyke-You, then Shooting Star, Forward and Winninish, the scratch boat. The Forward was quickly outclassed and was last in turning the stake at the end of the first round, with Winninish hot after the leaders. The latter made a fine picture as she swept round the stake at scarcely reduced speed amid the roar of whistles and the cheers of the crowd.

The race for second place was also exciting. Bunny, having nearly two minutes' start, was being rapidly overhauled by the Hyke-You and, as they sped toward the finish line, it was impossible to tell which one would win. Tearing the waters in their dash and only a few feet from each other they presented a most unusual and spirited spectacle. Excitement ran high as the Bunny was announced the winner, for many, whose angle of view was different, thought the gallant little Hyke-You had won.

The time for Winninish was 23m. 21s., speed, including five turns, 25.65 miles an hour. She probably traveled on the straight stretches at very nearly 26,5 m.p.h.

The Hyke-You's time was 35m. 35 1-5s., giving her a speed of 16.86 m.p.h., and that of the Bunny was 35m. 30s., equal to exactly 16 miles per hour.

The Rev. Dr. Stires of St. Thomas Church, New York, operated his handsome mahogany 45-foot launch Onaway as a patrol boat, and during the last mile ran abreast of Carol, which won the cup for the launch race.

The barge race was won by the crew from Sagamore, thus bringing to a close a most successful meet.

The Regatta of 1907 will be signalized by a greater number of important events, much larger entry lists and keener fought aquatic battles. A number of new boats are being built for the various classes, and much motor boat enthusiasm prevails among the sailors on the "Pearl of the North Woods."

Great tales are being told of the prowess of the new craft, and if all were to be believed Lake George this summer will be the speed center of the country. it no doubt, however, will be found that the racers to come will not depart structurally from the trend to be observed throughout the country towards a boat that is not only swift but wholesome, a cruiser as well as a craft that wins races.

When this magazine is in the hands of the public the Lake George region will have been opened to summer guests. First will appear the canoe, which is a native boat, and one by one the motor boats will make their appearance. Everything will incline towards the regatta to come later in the season. There will be trial spins, constant overhauling, rumor about this boat or that, announcements of new records--all of which will serve to kindle the excitement which on the day of the regatta, as in the past, will break forth in thrilling abandon.

(Transcribed from Yachting, June 1907, pp. 364-365.)

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