1909 E.R. Thomas Trophy Regatta

Arab III Wins the Championship of the Great Lakes

For twenty miles of the twenty-five-mile course there was a contest for the championship of the Great Lakes and the E. R. Thomas cup, in the great annual race held under the auspices of the Motor Boat Club of Buffalo. Then Arab III, owned by Ralph H. Sidway, had things to herself. The race took place on Saturday, September 4th, and notwithstanding threatening weather and choppy waters, Arab III covered the course in 55 minutes and 46 seconds, an average speed of 26.9 miles an hour.

A number of fast boats were expected to start, but only two boats started, Arab III and La Truda, a 32-footer equipped with an eight-cylinder, 100-hp. Motor, owned by H. T. Vars. Arab III was handled by her owner and his brother, Clarence Sidway, and La Truda’s crew consisted of Harry Brundige and Frank Duar.

The boats were started at 4 p.m., and they crossed the starting line, off the club’s dock on Motor Island, neck and neck. The course extended to a point off Strawberry Island, thence across the river, then diagonally to a point opposite the Wickwire plant, then across the river back to the starting line.

Arab III showed that she was a wonderfully speedy craft early in the race. She gained at every turn, and when the first lap was finished she had a lead of 16 seconds. At the twentieth mile she had a lead of 66 seconds. Just at this time La Truda had some trouble with her carburetor, and was forced to drop out of the contest, abandoning the race to Arab III.

Considering the weather, there was a good turnout of motor craft, among the number being Commodore H. T. Koerner and party on the flagship Seminole; Past Commodore Charles A. Criqui and party on the flagship Silver Heels; Past Commodore U. L. Caudell and party on the Apache; Sylvester B. Egan and party on Mars; C. B. Russell on Blanche; Dr. H. A. Gibson on North Sea.

Carl J. Ballinett, house treasurer, was kept busy escorting visitors through the club’s temporary quarters on Motor Island.

The judges were: H. V. Bisgood Jr.; George B. Wood Jr., and James Savage; gunner, Tracy Gardiner; timekeeper, B. B. Fisher.

The annual race for the Championship of the Great Lakes, with the handsome E. R. Thomas trophy as a tangible prize. Is one of the most prominent yearly events of the country. Last year the winner was W. J. Conners’ Courier. Sterling Flyer was second and White Star was third.

Arab III, the winner, was described in the August 25th number of the Motor Boat. She is 33 feet long and is equipped with a four-cylinder, 75-hp. Niagara motor. The hull was designed and built by the Niagara Motor Boat Company, of North Tonawanda, N.Y.


Boat 5 Miles 10 Miles 15 Miles 20 Miles 25 Miles
Arab III 11:14 22:18 33:24 44:41 55:46
La Truda 11:30 22:52 34:15 45:47 --


(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Sep. 10, 1909, p. 38.)

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