New Unlimited Class Hydroplane Developed by
by Lawrence Barber
Long and lean is the 31½-foot racing boat which Orth Mathiot of Portland is building to pit against Stanley Sayre's Slo-Mo Shun IV and other super-fast boats that appear on the West Coast this summer. It is a two-step hydro plane, built of plywood and mahogany frames from plans drawn by John Hacker, Detroit. Power is supplied by a 1735-hp. Rolls Royce air plane engine. Mathiot said little about his project until it was more than six months along because he wanted to see how it would look when completed before he talked about it. He took a look at Sayres' boat at the Seattle Boat Show and went home convinced that he had a contender for any honors that may be up for racing boats this year.
Mathiot's first public announcement that he was building a fast boat "over 100 miles an hour" he says, was made at the intercity yachting meet at Portland Yacht Club April 22. Orth didn't tell much about it, but simply assured the visiting Seattle delegation that Portland would have a boat to race against Slo-Mo-Shun IV.
Mathiot hopes to launch the new boat in June and to run trials on the Willamette River near his moorage. He operates towboats and barges for Pacific Building Materials Company of Portland.
As yet unnamed, the new boat is rather heavily constructed of marine plywood with a thickness of five-eighths of an inch on the sides and top and five-eighths inch plywood over an equal thickness of mahogany on the bottom. Framing is quite heavy and is expected to withstand the severe pounding of high speeds on rough water.
Two steps are cut into the bottom and a tunnel is provided under the stern to permit a stream of water to flow along the twin rudders. Mathiot said this tunnel may be filled in later if it proves ineffective.
A cowl will be built over the motor after the early trials are made and mechanical defects are worked out. Two airplane seats are provided for the pilot and mechanic.
Mathiot's boat racing harks back to 1909 and the Alaska-Yukon Exposition in Seattle when a number of Portland men took up racing with marked success. Leader of this group was Johnny Wolfe, who operated the Phoenix Iron Works in Portland. Mathiot worked with him and assisted him in racing. Another speed demon of those early days was Fred Vogler. While Mathiot usually rode with the fast boats, he had a smaller boat of his own, powered by an airplane motor, immediately after World War I.
(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, July 1950, p.16)
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