Gold Cupper Unveiled at Portland Opening Days [1951]
by Lawrence Barber

Quicksilver's debut, April 28, 1951
Quicksilver takes a turn through the pleasure boat fleet at Portland's opening days ceremonies. George Brice's 46-fott cruiser list in the immediate background.
New Unlimited Class Hydroplane Developed by Portland Racer
Gold Cupper Unveiled at Portland Opening Days

First public showing of Portland's new competitor in the 100-mile-an-hour unlimited hydroplane class featured the joint season opening of Portland area yacht clubs on the Columbia river April 28.

Quicksilver, the 31-foot two-step hydroplane built by Orth Mathiot, Portland tug and barge operator and old-time racing boat driver, from plans drawn by John Hacker, Detroit, made a number of short bursts of speed before a crowded fleet of pleasure craft and demonstrated that his 1735-hp. Rolls Royce engine has a tremendous potential output.

Mathiot expects to enter the boat in the Gold Cup races at Seattle this summer and possibly in other contests.

"I don't expect to beat the Slo-Mo-Shun IV when it is at its best, but I don't expect to be among the tail-enders this year, either," confidently said the owner-driver. Mathiot said he believes he can take the measure of most of the eastern boats.

Mathiot is one of the few remaining speed-boat artists left from the pre-World War I period when he competed on the Columbia river and elsewhere on the coast with the fastest boats of that day. Now well past the half-century mark in age, Mathiot plans to train a crew of younger men to take the wheel in gruelling contests such as the Gold Cup. The army took the first driver he trained.

Quicksilver is built of plywood, heavily framed to withstand punishment. The engine is a Packard-built war-time Rolls Royce which came out of surplus. A new engine, identical with the present one, is being groomed to take the place of the present engine before the Gold Cup trials.

The opening day demonstration was marred by rough water caused by the churning of 200 cruisers and sailboats and by rain squalls that took the place of 26 consecutive days of sunshine leading up to the day. Mathiot's boat shot entirely out of the water upon numerous occasions during his brief runs and when he put the boat away he declared it was by far the roughest water he had been in.

A match race between the Quicksilver and a Seabee plane flown by Jack Loney of Loney's Aero-Marina, Inc., Portland, was interesting, yet proved nothing because the boat was unable to maintain sustained speed under the conditions. Observers estimated the Quicksilver hit 100 miles an hour for short bursts, however, and the plane had difficulty in keeping up.

Portland, Columbia River and Rose City Yacht clubs joined in the opening day boat parade before Ken Rodger's 110-foot DeEtta, the official boat of the day. Walt Peterson, of Columbia River Yacht Club, won the trophy for best decorated boat with a myriad of hand-made flowers and festoons on his 30-foot cruiser, Gisela.

Columbia River Yachting Association, headed by Robert H. Calef, president, sponsored the joint opening. Calef was father of the plan, which was adopted following his visit to Seattle in 1950 to witness the Seattle opening day parade and races. Mr. and Mrs. Dale Cogshall, Seattle, represented that area at Portland's opening this year.

Judges for the boat parade were Capt. Gordon Parr, representative of the 13th naval district; Capt. Hans F. Slade, captain of the port, and Capt. John R. Coiteux, Coast Guard merchant marine inspection officer at Portland.

Sailing races billed for the day were started but finally called off owing to a lack of wind. They will be held later.

(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, June 1951, p.20)

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