1952 Steel Cup

Welcome Week Awards Are Announced For Seven Classes in Speedboat Races

Meanwhile, the Welcome Week Regatta Committeehas invited 500 leaders In American speedboat racing to come to Pittsburgh for the regatta. The committee looks forward to a field of 75 to 100 speedboats in this year's race.

Again, this year, the speedboat races will be run in seven classes, with trophies and cash prizes awaiting winners in each class.

Classes and trophies are the 48 cubic inch hydroplane, Rust Heinz Memorial; 48 cubic inch runabout. Motor Boat Sales and Service Trophy; 135 inch hydroplane. Glass Cup; 225 inch hydroplane. Hoppers Cup; 266 inch hydroplane, the Rodgers Gold Cup; 7 litre hydroplane, Alcoa Aluminum Cup: for the unlimited, the Steel Cup.

--- May 12, 1952

Miss Pepsi To Race Here

Miss Pepsi, one of the fastest power boats in the world and winner of last year's Welcome Week Regatta, will attempt to retain possession of the U.S. Steel Cup here on June 7.

Roy and Walter Dossin, Detroit owners of Miss Pepsi, yesterday confirmed their plans to enter the local races.

The Dossin brothers were high point winners in national spedboat competition last year. In addition to winning the Pittsburgh event, they captured the Henry Ford Memorial Trophy, the Maple Leaf Trophy, the Lt. James J. Meehan Trophy, the Silver Cup, and the President’s Cup, all unlimited class races.

--- May 16, 1952

Pittsburgh Welcome Week Speedboat Racing Regatta Scheduled for Saturday. June 7

Speedboat racing is like all other sports ... it’s more enjoyable to watch when you know what all the action and excitement means. To the untrained eye, all the flagwaving, point-scoring and gunfiring might seem to be the most complicated maneuvering since the last sale of ladies' dresses in a downtown store. Complicated though it may seem, there is a reason behind all the detail work seen at a regatta from the technical tuning of the judges’ stand to the mechanical masterminding in the pits.

The Welcome Week speedboat regatta which is scheduled for Saturday, June 7 from 12 o’clock until 3:45 p. m. will be run by the Pittsburgh Regatta Association whose representatives know speedboat racing in its most intricate form.

First, let’s take a look at the courst for the 1952 races. Taking full advantage of the natural facilities offered by the famous Pittsburgh Point, race officials chartered a 2-1/2 mile loop between the Sixth Street Bridge on the Allegheny River and the West End-North Side Bridge on the Ohio River. The judges' stand will be erected on a barge anchored near the Manchester Bridge at the Point.

The judges' stand serves as both the starting and finishing lines for all races.

There is varying opinion on the best place to watch a speedboat race. Welcome Week spectators will have a wide choice. Many a heavy-footed driver will come out with an opinion that the turns offer the most thrilling vantage point on a speedboat course. Some experienced speedboat followers prefer to establish their spectator beachhead near the start-finish line. There is a third group which stoutly tnaintains that the straightaway run offers a view of speedboat racing in its purest form. These areas are easily accessible for the Welcome Week races and are within spray distance of the fast-moving boats. For a bird's-eye view. Mount Washington offers an excellent vantage point in Pittsburgh.

Next, the pits come in for consideration, The nerve center of any speedboat regatta is the pit area. In Pittsburgh the pits will be located between the Sixth Street Bridge and the Ninth Street Bridge. It is here that the boats are serviced. prepared for action mechanically and hoisted into the water by cranes for the races. Spectators can get a ring side seat to watch mechanics working under pressure and getting boats shipshape for high speed competition. It is a unique experience to watch the delicate way in which these expensive speedboats are handled. The kid glove treatment is necessary for many of these boats are valued as high as $80,000. The pits for the previous Welcome Week races have won vocal acclaim from the drivers who participated in the races. This is due to the excellent physical location of the pits and the tremendous job done by Ed Crowley of the Pittsburgh Regaitta Association and his pit crew.

Probably the most frequently asked question about speedboat racing concerns the types of boats that race. There will be seven classes of .boats racing in Pittsburgh ... all inboard speedboats. No outboard craft will participate in these events. The seven classes are 48 cubic inch hydroplanes. 48 cubic inch runabouts, 135 cubic inch hydroplanes, 225 cubic inch hydroplanes. 266 cubic inch hydroplanes, 7 litre and unlimited. There are letter designations painted on the side of each boat which offer proof positive of the class. These are the class designations —

Y — 48 cu. in. hydroplane
Z — 48 cu. in runabout
A —135 cu. in. hydroplane
N — 225 cu. in. hydroplane
F —266 cu. in. hydroplane
H —7 litre
U — Unlimited

There are three basic factors which lure speedboat owners and drivers into this nerve-shattering speedboat racing . . . love of the sport, valuable trophies and cash prizes. It is the love of the sport that attracts most of the participants. Each one comes from a different walk of life. Their occupations include mechanics, salesmen, store owners, engineers, clerks; some of them are independently wealthy . , . but speedboat racing is their common denominator.

The Welcome Week regatta offers trophies and cash prizes comparable to arty throughout the country. The trophies for the Pittsburgh races have been donated by prominent Pittsburgh firms and individuals. First prize in each of the following classes gains for the boat owner these beautiful trophies:

The cash awards are set up a little differently. There will be two heats in each of six classes — 48 cubic inch hydros. 48 cubic inch runabouts. 135 cubic inch hydros, 225 cubic inch hydros, 266 cubic inch hydros and 7 litre hydros. Three heats will be run in the unlimited class. This makes 13 heats in all. For boat placing first, second. third, fourth and fifth in each heat there will be prize money of $50. $40. $30. $20, and $10 respectively. In addition, a $100 bonus has been posted for any new record set during the Welcome Week races.

The prize money system covers only the cash awards. The trophies are awarded on the point system developed by the American Power Boat Association. Boats are given varying points depending upon the order of their finish in each heat.

The following table shows how this system works:

Order of Finish Pts.
First 400
Second 300
Third 225
Fourth 169
Fifth 127
Sixth 95
Seventh 71
Eighth 53
Ninth 40
Tenth 30
Eleventh 22
Twelfth 17


Thus, a driver who finishes first in the first heat and tenth in the second heat would get 400 points for the first heat and 30 for the second. It follows that a driver in that same race who finished second in each heat would get 300 points in each heat or a total of 600 points. The second driver would have first claim on the trophy through the point system.

Another major mystery of speedboat racing to most spectators concerns the flags for starting and finishing. The chronological order of events in the starting of a race begins with a gun 5 minutes before the start of a race; next, a gun one minute before the start of a race; a white flag is waved to indicate the official start. If there is a false start, a red flag is immediately shown to cancel the false start and give the drivers another run. The other flags which enter the picture are the green flag which indicates the beginning of the last lap and the checkered flag which is flashed as the first boat crosses the finish line.

The excitement and interest in the Welcome Week races will be heightened by the presence of Al Bauer, the country's leading speedboat announcer, who mans the microphone during the races. Called the “Clem McCarthy of speedboat racing,” Bauer supplies all the inside information on speedboat racing over his public address microphone during the races.

Another equally famous speedboat personality. W. Melvin Crook, will referee the Welcome Week regatta. The editor of Yachting Magazine, Crook is a former racer himself, having been a member of the exclusive 100 mile an hour.

--- May 27, 1952