1909 Hamilton Regatta

International Race of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club

by D. P. Brown

An international motorboat race was held at Hamilton, Ontario under the auspices of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, on Saturday, August 14th. Fast boats from Buffalo, Toronto and Hamilton were entered, and a very large crowd of spectators were attracted.

The Detroit rule of handicapping was adopted for the first time by this club, and proved quite successful from the standpoint of the contestants, although the races were not so spectacular as when the handicaps were arranged by first giving the boats a trial run over the course and taking their performances as a basis for the handicaps. Of course this method makes an exciting spectacle for the onlookers as the finish is close, but the club considers that it has taken a step in the right direction by the adoption of some standard rule and in that way encouraging boats of the best design. With the trial speed method above mentioned, it is possible for any old tub to defeat the very best designed boat, providing the tub runs up to her record, or a little over but not enough to be disqualified for excess, and providing the other boats do not equal their records, which often happens.

Previous to the motorboat race their was a ladies’ sailing dinghy race. Those who are familiar with this type of boat know what real wholesome sport it is to sail one, and those who have seen the skill exhibited by our Canadian girl sailors, when handling the tiller on these boats, have seen a feat that will rival many men sailors. The girls’ race was much enjoyed by the spectators, especially by our Buffalo friends, who evidently do not see such a race often.

At 3:55 p.m. the gun was fired for the motorboat race, and the start was made at 4 o’clock. The starters were as follows:

Order of Finish Boat Start Finish Time Rated speed Actual speed
2 Buzz 4:01:40 5:27:00 1:25:20 12.45 13.63
4 Philomel 4:13:23 5:31:22 1:17:59 14.235 14.85
3 Nulli Secundus 4:23:52 5:27:27 1:03:34 16.34 18.6
1 Expense 4:27:09 5:24:23 57:14 17.12 20.3
  Miss Fidgety 4:27:23 DNF      
6 Mavis 4:39:45 5:34:44 54:59 21.03 21.15
  El Rayo 4:43:12 DNF      
5 Arab III 4:52:08 5:23:40 40:32 27.09 28.7


Note the difference in the last two columns, between the rated and actual speeds of the boats.

The course was over an isosceles triangle measuring 4.843 miles and the races were four times around, or 19,37 miles. The day was clear and the wind very light, so that the conditions were ideal.

Expense, of Buffalo won first place, and was presented with a handsome silver cup. Arab III took the prize for the highest speed and was awarded a clock.

The spectators mostly expected the fast Arab III to win, and from some accounts were disappointed when she did not. The measurements of some of the other boats entitled them to rather large handicaps.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Sep. 10, 1909, p. 22.)

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