1940 Regatta of Champions

"Regatta of Champions" is Completed

Before 30,000 spectators, speedboat racing reached an new all-time high St. Patrick's Day week-end when Newport Bay took over from Salton Sea's wind-blasted course to complete "The Regatta of Champions" begun there three weeks previous.

For the first time in Southern California speedboat racing the four major organizations: San Diego Power Boat Club, Southern California Outboard Association, Los Angeles Speedboat Association and the Los Angeles Speedboat Association. Inboard Division, buried their differences and put on a show that made racing history, plainly demonstrating the value of harmonious cooperation in all major racing events.

Loa Fageol's Gold Cup class, So Long, and Worth Boggeman's A-hydro, T44, were the sparkplugs of the 120 entries divided into eleven classes of two heats each and, believe it or not, all run promptly on schedule.

Fageol, breaking his long list of jinx starts, put So Long over the mile course to establish a new world record of 97.447 mph, certified by Arthur L. Bobrick, Pacific Coast Racing Commissioner, American Power Boat Association, and representative of the International Motor Yacht Union of Brussels, Belgium. Johnny McDowell rode as mechanic, substituting for his regular mechanic, Joe Lucas.

The former record was 92.308 mph held by George Cannon of New Rochelle, New York, with his Gray Goose.

Worth Boggeman, of Texas, shattered the A-hydro record of 48.258 mph set by Texas' Ruth Herring, establishing a new of 48.929 mph. He also set the Division 2 B-hydro Salton Sea record of 54.818 mph.

The sensation of the meet was the performance of Roy McCullough's Long Beach entry, the new 135 cubic inch class inboard, Yankee Doodle II, driven by Clay Smith. Turning 26.802 mph she swept the class with the No. 2 man, Tom Hill, in Lybee, holding at 25.918; time difference, 18 seconds.

But that was only the beginning — in the 225 cubic inch class and under, Smith wound up into 49.479 mph to take first honors against the field. Frank Verbeck in Firecracker failed to get past 47.518 mph and the difference in time was 14 seconds.

Hovey Cook and mechanic were ruled off course for failure to wear crash helmets as required by the N.O.A. 1940 rules. Cook and his partner were the first to feel the sting of the new rule and it is expected this will serve as a warning to all drivers and to mechanics that the new rule will be strictly enforced.

Commodore Otto Crocker of the San Diego Power Boat Club definitely proved the worth of his new photo-electric timing device used for the first times at the Salton Sea and Newport Bay race meets.

This is the first, unit of its type to function successfully in the timing of fast racing boats and is the result of many mouths of effort by Crocker who is a master electrician and member of the Southern California Timing Association.

Previous efforts to provide photo-electric timing on water have failed due to "light spill" from reflection of spray and waves. This was overcome by the use of photographic lenses mounted in long tubes. The system is extremely flexible and by lense and tube change compensation can be made for various conditions. The one-thousandths of a second stop clock is a masterpiece in itself. It is constructed of Telechron parts, is adjustable to cycle and weighs but five pounds with carrying case. The 14-inch dial carries three hands which are a direct reading. The thousandth of a second hand sweeps the dial each second; the second hand travels once around the dial each minute and the third hand records successive minutes.

The clock motor runs constantly and there is an overriding clutch connected with a Solenoid that starts or stops the clock with the speed of light. Ultra high frequency short wave radio is used to transmit the impulse that actuates the operating relay. The mechanism is so sensitive that an ordinary pocket flashlight will operate it at a distance of 1,000 feet.

In operation, the light tube is focused on a target placed on float offshore from the timer's stand and boat passing between the light and the target interrupts the beam, starting or stopping the clock.

Through the cooperation of Commissioner Bobrick, the device has been submitted to the American Power Boat Association and it is expected that it will be approved and adopted by the commission for use at all sanctioned speedboat races.

Class Boat Driver Time Speed
A-hydroplanes T44 Worth Boggeman 7:07 42.155
  C11 F. Mulkey 7:09.1 41.958
M-hydroplanes C14 R.A. Rust 6:37.3 45.272
  C25 Allen Graber 7:13.1  
C-hydroplanes T46 Worth Boggeman 5:53.4 50.991
  Foolln' Too Chas. Tubucchi 5:55.3 50.619
B-hydroplanes Son of Satan Jack Henckel 6:22.3 47.047
  T44 Worth Boggeman 6:39.0 45.112
C Service Runabouts Miss Vee Herb Hadfield 7:43.1 38.827
  Miss Fluron I.E. Debbold 7:43 38.876
C Racing Runabouts Lollypop Ward Angilley 6:15 48:00
  C10 Chas. Tabucchi 6:21 47.244
F Racing Runabouts C225 J. Kovacevich 6:36 45.154
  My Sin Bob Jepson 6:45 44.444
732 Inboards Miss Hollywood Dudley Valentine 12:28 24.064
  Yankee Doodle Bill Strappe 13:24.3 22.377
135 Inboards Yankee Doodle II Clay Smith 6:14.3 48.051
  Lybee Tom Hill 6:32 45.918
225 Inboards Yankee Doodle II Clay Smith 6:04 49.479
  Firecracker Frank Verbeck 6:13.4 47.518


Summary Salton Sea Records

Ken Harmon, Rosemeade, California, broke the international for the 225 Class by 11 miles with Zephyr doing 77.961 mph.

Jack Henckels, Fort Worth, Texas; University of Southern California student, set his B-hydroplane, Son of Satan, at 54.076 mph to top Gar Wood, Jr.'s record of 63.602.

Worth Boggeman, another Fort Worth boy, set a record of 54.818 mph for Division 2, B-hydroplanes.

Harold Ashley, Yuba City, California, topped the C-service runabout title with 42.132 mph.

Brownie Schuber, Long Beach, with his Pacific One Design, Little Butch, recorded 60.602 mph.

Ward Angilley, Marysville, with Lollypop, set a C-racing runabout mark of 53.695 mph.

Jack Kovacevich, Arvin, in the F-racing runabout class, set a new record of 54.628 mph over his old record of 63.369 mph.

Charles Tabucchi, San Francisco, Division 2, C-racing runabouts, boosted the mark from 62.709 mph to 62.889 mph.

The combined event was sponsored jointly by the Newport Harbor Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Palm Springs-Coachella Valley Motor Boat Racing Association with Kent Hitchcock, Junior Chamber President, as general chairman.

(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, May 1940, pp.38, 40)