1921 Fisher Trophy

The Adieu Wins Fisher Trophy Race at Miami

A new name is posted in the Motor Boat Hall of Fame as the result of the recent Fisher Trophy races at Miami. Adieu, the winner of this race, owned by Mr. Webb Jay, of Chicago, was a total surprise to the unsuspecting public, a fact which helps to make the showing of this boat all the more impressive.

Built by the Hacker Boat Co., of Detroit, Mich., and powered with a six-cylinder, 200-h.p. Hall-Scott marine engine, she clearly demonstrated her superiority over all other contestants, and but for a slight delay caused by defective spark plugs, would undoubtedly have won the race in three straight heats. As it was, after leading the procession throughout the 25 laps of the first race and 16 laps of the second race a couple of spark plugs fell down and before they could be replaced Orlo II had passed her and was never headed. One of the great disappointments of the regatta was the absence of Miss Miami, Carl G. Fisher's new speed boat, which met with an accident in a trial run the day before the first race and could not be repaired in time for the start.

For the first race there were three starters, Rainbow, owned by Harry B. Greening, of Hamilton, Ont., the winner of last year's race at Detroit; Orlo II, owned by George Leary, Jr., a 36-foot Sea Sled, and Adieu, a likely looking, rakish craft owned by Webb Jay, of Chicago. In the drawing of positions Rainbow had the inside, Orlo II next and Adieu outside. All three boats were within the 300-yard zone when the gun was fired. Adieu got the jump with Rainbow in second place, then Orlo II. Thereafter the race was a procession with the long, slender nose of Adieu always ahead. There was one thrilling lap, the 15th, when Rainbow, unaccustomed to the sting of defeat, endeavored to catch the flying leader and nearly succeeded, but Adieu had reserve speed and always maintained the lead, breaking record after record and finishing the 50 miles in 1 hour, 18 minutes and one second, and averaged 38.4 or 1.2 miles faster than the previous record held by Rainbow.

Rainbow finished 12 seconds back of Adieu and Orlo II 34 seconds later. All three boats broke the record.

The start of the second race was very similar to that in the first heat. Adieu again lead over the line with Rainbow about 100 yards back and Orlo II again in the rear. This order was maintained for one lap, when Rainbow had the misfortune to strike something which bent her propeller, partially disabling her.. To qualify in the third heat under the conditions of the deed of gift of the Fisher Trophy it was necessary for Rainbow to finish the race, which was done under greatly reduced speed.

In the meantime Adieu continued to lead Orlo II, shattering all speed records up to 30 miles, then, just after the beginning of the 17th lap a couple of spark plugs let go, and before they could be replaced Orlo II had shot by and obtained a lead of more than two minutes which was maintained to the end. Orlo II established a new record of 38.8 miles for the entire 50 miles, actually accomplishing the long sought for 40 miles on one lap.

The third race was held on the open ocean but it was no trial of seagoing qualities as the ocean was as calm as the bay, except for a long roll that didn't worry anyone. Repairs had been made to Rainbow, but Orlo II failed to arrive at the line in time for the start, and Fisher Cup conditions allow of no postponements. Adieu again got the better of the start and lead throughout the race. Adieu and Rainbow made a good race with the former always in the lead. At times Adieu was leading by more than a quarter of a mile and was not closely pressed until the closing laps when Rainbow, creeping up slowly, made it close and was only beaten off by three seconds. The time of the race showed Adieu making the entire 50 miles in 1 hour 19 minutes and 50 seconds an average of 37.6 m.p.h. indicating that Adieu had plenty of reserve speed.

An especially good showing was made in the race by Orlo II, the big sea sled powered with two 225 h. p. Sterling GR engines. She not only made an excellent showing on reliability but also developed bursts of speed that were amazing, arousing much enthusiasm when in the second race she developed a new record for the race and a new pace for a fifty-mile run.

All three boats were splendidly handled by their respective owners, Mr. Webb Jay, owner of Adieu, deserving special mention for his success in getting the best of the starts and his carefully calculated speed throughout, never forcing his boat to its limit but preferring to make the race interesting at all times.

(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, March 1921)