1908 Iowa Centennial Celebration Regatta

The Minnie C at Fort Madison

by P. G. Hitch Jr.

The motorboat races at Fort Madison, Iowa, during the Centennial celebration of October 1st, were held under the auspices of the Fort Madison Launch Club. The principal event was a match race between Independence, of St. Louis, owned by Ewin C. Koenig, and Minnie C II, of Fort Madison, champion of the Mississippi Valley Power Boat Association. The race was for a purse of five hundred dollars, the winner take all.

Although the weather man was very unkind in dealing out a cold, raw day, fully twenty-five thousand people lined the river bank and house-tops for a view of these fastest boats on the Mississippi. Independence, with her 230-hp. motor and 42 feet of length looked to be a formidable antagonist for the pride of the M.V.P.B.A. champion Minnie C II, whose power of 60-hp. and 39 feet of length seemed outclassed.

The course was seven and one-half miles with and seven and one-half miles against the tide, with two turns. The turns were not included in the measurement of the total fifteen-mile course. Through some minor defect of the rudder of Independence the race was delayed somewhat. At 4:15 Independence shot out of the starting barge, the spray flying in sheets; it was then that the friends of the Minnie C II lost heart, for her opponent seemed to fairly fly through the water; but with the wise ones it was different, they were familiar with the Minnie C's trick of running over the water without making any fuss.

At 4:15 they were off, Minnie C II having half a boat length the advantage in the start--a splendid start, though. During the next three minutes it could be seen that the Minnie C was in the lead, and when she made the first turn she was half a mile ahead; down stream she was now almost flying over the water, her black water line showing from stem to stern; now she was making the lower turn fully two miles ahead of Independence. In the run up to the finish Minnie C II was slowed down, so slow that her motors back-fired, but E. Corsepius, her owner and captain, was not out for a record, he wanted to make the race interesting for the thousands of people, many of whom had traveled hundreds of miles for this race.

At the finish Minnie C II crossed the line at better than a thirty-mile rate; her official time for the fifteen-miles is 30 minutes, 6 seconds, and Independence crossed the line 2 minutes 7 seconds later. it is believed here that Minnie C II is capable of thirty-two to thirty-three miles an hour and that she is the fastest boat of her power in the world in 1908.

In the 26-foot class Donut, of Muscatine, won in a very close finish, Clipper, of Fort Madison, being second. Donut is a good boat and will be heard from next season. In the 20-foot class Jamie, after running over the five-mile course at a sixteen-mile clip, broke down when within one hundred feet of the finish. Iris, a good little boat, of Burlington, won the race.

The Fort Madison Launch Club was very particular to have the course perfectly accurate, and the civil engineer who surveyed it is positive that it is correct. The annual regatta of the Mississippi River Power Boat Association will be held in Burlington next year; already preparations are being made to make it one of the greatest meets of the season.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Nov. 10, 1908, pp.7-8. )

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