1908 Ohio River Launch Club Regatta

Second Annual Regatta of the Ohio River Launch Club

Saturday, August 29th, found fully ten thousand people gathered along the bank at Newport, Kentucky, to watch the exciting contests between motorboats which marked the second annual regatta of the Ohio River Launch Club. There were three races, Classes A, B and C. The first race, for boats 15 to 25 feet long, with less than 10 h.p., was won by a boat length by Gera L., owned by C. S. Emrick, of Fort Thomas, Ky. Clema, owned by Isaac Whetstone, was second, and third place was taken by Namoh, owned by Louis Homan. The races were run under a new system of handicap whereby the boats were sent over the starting line in the order of their handicap, which was based on actual speed performance, much as suggested by the article on Motorboat Racing Rules in the August 25th number of Motor Boat. There were fifteen starters in Class A, of various sizes and various powers. The best time in the race was made by Arthur S, owned by the Wright Bros., which covered the course of eight and an eighth miles in 59 minutes and 50 seconds. The second, or Class B event, for open boats capable of 10 to 15 miles an hour, also furnished an exciting contest which was won by Meddler, about a half boat's length. Mildred was second.

Class C, the final race of the day, was for out-and-out speed boats, and was the big feature of the afternoon sport. The record-breaking racer, Scripps, owned by W. E. Scripps of Detroit, which had been sent to participate in the races and which was the scratch boat, blew out a pet cock when rounding a turn at Coney Island. The damage was repaired speedily, but owing to her heavy handicap of 23 minutes in a 16ΒΌ-mile race, she was unable to finish among the leaders. Scripps, however, made the best time of the race even with the time lost owing to the accident. An exciting moment occurred when the boats rushed toward the finish line. The leaders were Idlewild, a fast boat with 100-hp., and Brer Fox, owned by Wright Bros. Four hundred small craft lines the river bank and all of them began to toot their whistles. The steamers Island Queen, Tacoma and Princess passing by at this moment, added to the din by the screeching of their siren whistles. Brer Fox came in winner by a few inches. One of the foreign boats was Williamstown II, of Williamstown, W. Va. This boat arrived only a short time before the race and was under the disadvantage of having just completed a journey of several hundred miles a few hours before the race started.

Several handsome, solid silver loving-cups were awarded as prizes for the afternoon sports, and all contestants were satisfied with the day's racing. Superior knowledge of the channel at the low stage of the river aided the local boat-owners considerably, and consequently the three event were won by local boats. The judges of the course were Otto Burger, R. S. Finch and Charles Waters. The timers were Morton Carlisle, Ed S. Hafner and Taylor Handman. The starters were Ed S. Beaman and Albert Claussen. After the races the judges decided that J. W. Whitlock, of Rising Sun, Ind., was entitled to the handsome silver loving cup offered by Mr. Foucar for the best flying start of the afternoon. The prizes were awarded by Senator Hafner, one to the winner and one to the second boat in each of the three races, besides the special Foucar cup. The Newport Launch Club has a membership of about thirty-five and owns a fine boat-house and float. The officers are A. D. Brown, commodore, and J. O. Cox, secretary and treasurer.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Sep. 10, 1908, p. 38 )

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