1908 Detroit Independence Day Regatta

Second Annual Regatta of the Detroit Motor Boat Club

The largest affair of its kind ever held in the vicinity of Detroit was witnessed here on the morning of July 4th by hundreds of people. The list of the entries was somewhat smaller than was expected, but the interest was none the less keen. The competing boats represented all classes, from large twin-screw cruisers down to outfits no larger than small rowboats, but which signified their presence by noise enough to attract the attention of the disinterested.

The weather conditions were ideal, but with a little too heavy wind for the smaller craft. The new clubhouse, while still unfinished, was thrown open for the affair, and marked the start and finish of the course. The house is unique in every way and shows the foresight and taste of its architect, George W. Graves, who is an enthusiastic member of the club. The new home was attractively decorated for the occasion, and the wide balcony made an ideal judge's stand. Thousands of spectators viewed the races from shores adjacent to the clubhouse and at various accessible points around Belle Isle and from the Belle Isle Bridge. The course extended around the island, measuring nine miles, the pleasure boats rounding the course once, while the speed boats made two laps.

The General, a 38.9-foot boat built low and owned and operated by E. R. Walker, was perhaps the most interesting craft to compete. This is the boat which gave so satisfactory a showing at Florida last Winter. She is painted red and white and resembles a torpedo when under way. She is equipped with a Smalley three-cylinder engine.

In Class R, which was the feature race of the day, Silver Fizz on corrected time was declared the winner, with Morgan second and 999 third, the General receiving the time prize running at a rate of 27.2 miles per hour in the time entry of 28 miles. In Class S, Thelma was first on corrected time, while Comet won on actual time. Key West took the third prize. Red Raven won Class T, the final race, with Trespass taking second. Lemon was third. The judges were O. E. Barthel, O. F. Barthel and Mark Allen. Timers; E. H. Vitalus, John Shapoton, G. W. Graves, C. M. Jacobsen, F. W. Yarrington and F. B. Johnson.

All races were started promptly and without confusion and much credit is due to the committee in charge.

(Excerpts transcribed from MotorBoat, July 10, 1908, p. 29)

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