1938 President's Cup

President's Cup Regatta

Somehow the weather man got confused in apportioning the weather for the two week-ends assigned to the President's Cup Regatta. He dealt out light, baffling winds and smooth water to the sailing craft and three days of blue skies and a fine sailing breeze to the motor boat racers. Too much breeze, in fact, on the first day of the meet, which was devoted to the outboard hydroplanes, for the fields were reduced by the rough water.

The two bright stars of the first day, September 23rd, were James Mullen, last year's intercollegiate champion, who cleaned up in Classes B and C, amateur, and Class F, open, and Thom Cooper, of Kansas City, who won in Classes A and B, professional, and finished well up in Class C and in the open Class F event. Although it was rough, there was only one boat capsized, Charles Blake turning a somersault in the first heat of the Class C professional race.

Saturday morning was allotted to mile trials and Jack Cooper, of Kansas City, drove his "225" Tops II over the mile and boosted his own world's record to 75.393 miles per hour. After this fine performance, while heading back to the navy yard, a heavy piece of driftwood wrecked shaft, strut and propeller, putting the boat out of the day's racing.

There were fourteen races scheduled for the day, the 91and 135-cubic-inch boats being sent away together and all the inboard runabout classes, except E and K, being lumped together. This made a class of ten racing together instead of several uninteresting duels. The "225's" turned out only a few boats for the national championship but put up some fairly lively racing. In the first heat, Gibson Bradfield's Bad News led until close to the finish when she burned off all her ignition wiring. After that, she ran without hatch covers and, from the middle of each heat on, trailed a cloud of smoke from her engine. George Schrafft's Chrissie II won.

The first heat of the President's Cup race was scheduled for this day. This year the only starter was Alagi, not a single American racer appearing to dispute the Italian's supremacy. Rossi had only to go over the course, but he did so at high speed, turning in a time of 13:26.2 for the fifteen miles, an average speed of 66.981 m.p.h., with one lap at 68.285, both new records for the course.

Sunday was another fine day, with time trials in the morning. David Gerli's Lady Gen III pushed the Class I inboard runabout record from 51.432 m.p.h., which she made last year, up to 51.740. Ja-Bo II, owned by Robert Gambrill, of Havre de Grace, raised the Class D mark to 44.72,3 from the 1937 figure of 36.942 made at Red Bank by Edison Hedges' Senator. Joseph Monigle's Joe Don boosted the Class C record to 44.018.

In the afternoon, there were two races for outboard runabouts and two for inboards, the 4-Litre championships, a ladies' free-for-all and the American Speed Boat Championship. And the two final heats for the President's Cup. At the banquet on Saturday night, Rossi objected to receiving the President's Cup without any competition and a handicap race was arranged with the "225's." So five of them were sent away and Alagi was given a starting gun a minute and fifty seconds later. By that time, the leaders were well around on the first lap and Rossi had a task to catch them in the fifteen miles of the course. As Rossi said over the radio later: "They figure the handicap too close. I had to go all wide open to catch them." But the Italian boat, running beautifully, gradually cut down the field, catching Miss Manteo II only a few yards from the finish and going like a scared cat. She covered the course at an average speed of 69.675 miles an hour, doing one lap at a 70.866-mile pace. Both of these figures are records for the course and the 15-mile figure is faster than any boat of her class has traveled in a race either in this country or abroad.

Another competitive record was set in the Class K race, J. W. Bramble's Pep IV covering the five miles at an average speed of 55.249 m.p.h.

The summaries follow:

Washington, D. C.,
September 23rd to 25th

Outboards, Class A, Amateur. Arthur Wullschleger, Larchmont, N.Y., 800; James W. Mullen, II, Richmond, Va., 600; Frank Desmond, Short Hills, N. J., 450.

Outboards, Class A, Professional. Thom Cooper, Kansas City, Mo., 800; Fred Jacoby, Jr., North Bergen, N. J., 600; Morton Daller, Claymont, Del., 450.

Outboards, Class B, Amateur. Mullen, 700; Wullschleger, 700; Vic. Scott, Forest Hills, L. I., 450.

Outboards, Class B, Professional. Jacoby, 800; Cooper, 600; Conrad B. Ernst, Washington, D. C., 225.

Outboards, Class C, Amateur. Mullen, 800; Mel Smith, Rougemont, Canada, 450; Gerard Sheeran, Brooklyn, 300.

Outboards, Class C, Professional. Cooper, 800; Frank Schmutz, Merchantsville, N. J., 469; Jacoby, 450.

Outboards, Midget, Open. Daller, 400; Betty Deffinbaugh, Woodside, Del., 300; H. C. Deffinbaugh, Woodside, Del., 225.

Outboards, Class F, Open. Mullen, 800; Cooper, 600; Smith, 296.

Service Outboard Runabouts, Open. Arthur Baldwin, Freeport, L. I., 400; Adrian Habben, Midland Park, N. J., 300; H. C. Deffinbaugh, 225.

Racing Outboard Runabouts, Open. Charles G. Mack, New Milford, N. J., 400; Burton Cox, Philadelphia, 300; Thomas Conley, Westville, N. J., 225.

Inboard Runabouts, Miscellaneous. Lady Gen III, David Gerli, New York, 800; Joe-Don, J. Monigle, Wilmington, Del., 600; Fifty-Fifty, Maria Galliher, Washington, D. C., 450.

Inboard Runabouts, Class E. Nittany Lion II, Frank Muzzey, Jr., Philadelphia, 400; Monk, George C. Brinckerhoff, Washington, D. C., 300; Hi-Ho II, George B. Ward, Jr., Wilmington, Del., 225.

Inboard Runabouts, Class K. Pep IV, John W. Bramble, Baltimore, 400; Juddy III, F. C. Judson, Detroit, 300; Nittany Lion II, 225.

Ladies' Free-for-all. Miss Manteo II, Mrs. Nell Gatewood, Norfolk, Va., 400; Tops II, Mrs. Jane Cooper, Kansas City, Mo., 300; Nittany Lion II, Miss Eleanor Lowe, Wilmington, Del., 225.

91-Cubic-inch Hydroplanes. Little Bea, G. H. Knapp, St. Petersburg, Fla., 625; Pepper, E. A. N. Kerr, Yonkers, N. Y., 600; Happy Warrior, J. D. McIntyre, St. Petersburg, Fla., 400.

135-Cubic-inch Hydroplanes. Rustle,Byron F. Russell, North Long Branch, N. J., 700; Baby Pep, Fred H. Hahn, III, Philadelphia, 625; Miss Pudd, John L. Fuller, Washington D. C., 469.

225-Cubic-inch Hydroplanes for John Charles Thomas Trophy. Chrissie II, George Schrafft, Newton, Mass., 1100; Tortuga, Francis Vintschger, Morristown, N. J., 1000.

4-Litre Hydroplanes, National Championship. Miss Manteo II, W. E. Gatewood, Norfolk, Va., 700; Chrissie II, 527; Tops II, Jack Cooper, Kansas City, Mo., 525.


(Reprinted from Yachting, November 1938)