1903 Racing Season Summary [from The Rudder]

The Racing of Power Boats
by E. W. Graef

The season just closing has been very interesting in its Power-boat racing features, there having been so many new racing machines built, although but few of them came together at the different racing events, owing to the fact that each had a local reputation as being the fastest boat on record, and none of them wished to lose that reputation. It is singular thing that in almost every case they are very much overrated locally, and when they get into an actual race they do not make anything like the mileage claimed for them at their very best speed. It is really laughable to read the newspaper reports of some of these wonderful boats going thirty or forty miles an hour. In the same issue you may read where they have raced, their time over the course is given, and the length of it is also given, and if you figure it out, possibly you cannot make one-half that speed out of it. it is a burning shame how many of the fifteen, eighteen and twenty-mile boats are easily beaten by honest 12-mile boats, and the bad reputation its honest owner gets for lying and underrating his speed as the other owners will claim. I think it is not fair towards the public and the sport of power-boating to allow this speed-lying to go unnoticed, so I cannot but help in giving the speed liar a shot, and I sincerely hope it will strike home and stop this exaggeration. It was only a few days ago that a yachtsman came into this office and said to me that he thought it strange that THE RUDDER Did not give reports of the many fast speed launches he constantly read about in the daily papers, and he cited a case where he had read of a thirty-foot boat containing a 12 h.p. engine which had made a great run at the rate of 22 miles an hour, and how they expected to get 25 miles out of her when they changed the shape of the propeller. Now, as it happened the boat he referred to really did make an honest mile at the rate of 12 3/4 miles per hour, which was very good, but not so exceptionally fast as to warrant THE RUDDER to come out with startling headlines on the subject, especially as the engine it contained was a very poor one, and had never run a continuous 25 miles without stopping or giving trouble of some kind, as I told this yachtsman, that THE RUDDER purposely did not take any notice of that particular boat because THE RUDDER is a good, clean and truthful yachting magazine, and so long as I have anything to do with it, the power department will be kept so; consequently you all can feel safe when reading it, that it is the truth, even when it comes to the speed of power-boats.

There has recently appeared in a number of the daily papers a report of a racing machine which made forty and forty-five miles an hour, with a very vivid description of her having easily beaten most all of the fastest steam boats and yachts, even saying that she had a run with the Arrow and held her, and numerous other feats. This boat is the Standard, made by the builders of the Standard Engine, and I will give the reader an opportunity to judge the difference between the truth and some newspaper reports, for you will find the truthful description and actual speed of this really interesting speed launch in the following pages.

(Transcribed from The Rudder, Oct., 1903, p. 543. )

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page]

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Leslie Field, 1999