Dixie's World's Record 36.049 Miles An Hour [1908]

That the Dixie II was not forced to exert her full power in the memorable race for the International Trophy is shown by her performance on the day following that race, before a number of experts and others interested in the splendid boat. She was sent over the measured mile course of the New York Yacht Club in Hempstead Harbor, in an effort to capture the world's record for motorboats, and she was successful. Dixie ran four times over the course, which measured 1.1 nautical miles, twice with the tide and twice against it, and her average speed, figured by Admiralty system, was at the rate of 36.049 statute miles an hour. She averaged a nautical miles in 1 m. 54.34 s., which figures at 31.34 nautical miles an hour. Thus Dixie II is the fastest boat of her size in the world. The Wolseley-Siddeley has a record of 30.4 nautical miles, or 34.96 statute miles an hour, made last Spring over the Admiralty mile in England.

Dixie's trial took place between the hours of five and six on the afternoon of August 4. A fresh wind was blowing at the time, and the tide was running east. Clinton H. Crane, designer of Dixie, H. M. Crane, designer of the engine, Captain S. Bartley Pearce and Engineer Albert Rappuhn were with the boat when the tug C. P. Raymond arrived in Hempstead Harbor. On the tug were Ernest E. Lorillard, J. Frederick Tams, Dallas B. Pratt, H. F. Eldridge, H. H. Landon, J. B. Walker and others. Captain Pearce and Engineer Rappuhn boarded the tug at once and were satisfied to watch the proceedings. Captain Pearce was still feeling the effects of the previous day's race, but Engineer Rappuhn declared that he was all right again. Dixie was steered by Clinton H. Crane, while H. M. Crane and Ralph Pearce, son of Captain Pearce, took care of the engines.

The Hempstead Harbor course begins just inside Sands Point. Ranges have been placed on the shore by the U. S. Coast Survey. The westerly ranges are located about a mile southeast of the bell buoy off Old Hen Rock, Prospect Point, and about one-quarter miles west of the western end of the sea wall on Howard Gould's estate. The easterly ranges are about 3/8 of a mile from the red buoy off Mott's Point. The magnetic course is N.W. by W., 1/4 W.

The Raymond anchored at the western range, and W. Butler Duncan Jr., in a motorboat anchored at the eastern range. Two timers and signalers were placed on this boat, and others officiated on the tug; the latter were Ernest E. Lorillard and J. Frederick Tams. When the Dixie passed the first range, a big red flag was dipped to inform those on the other range that she had started and as she finished, a similar flag was dipped at the second range, so that the time could be taken from both ends of the course. As soon as the timers indicated that they were ready, Dixie started with a rush toward the western range against the tide. She ran beautifully, and on each side films of water were thrown aft. The hideous mufflers, which had caused all the trouble the day before, had disappeared. We imagine they were stowed away safely in the place which Mr. Schroeder had said was the best for their keeping, that is, in Davy Jones's locker.

The afternoon was hazy, and Dixie looked even smaller than she had the day before, as she bore on towards the mark. She rushed by with a flash, the flag was waved, and it was found that she had covered the 1.1 nautical miles in 2m. 10s. On the return trial, with the tide, she showed that she was moving much faster. Her bow lifted out of the water more than it had on any previous run. The engine was turning at 900 r.p.m., and she covered the course in 2 m. 5 2-5 s. This is at the rate of 36.36 statute miles an hour. Again she went over the course against the tide, and her time this trip was 2 m. 9 2-5 s.

After a short wait, she started for the final run of the afternoon. She seemed almost like a thing of life as she speeded through the water toward the line, which was reached in 2 m. 5 2-5 s., exactly the same as her first trip with the tide. Her four trials were: 2:10, 2:05 2-5, 2:09 2-5 and 2:05 2-5. This record was made at the rate of a nautical mile in 1 m. 54.34 s., which figures out 31.347 nautical miles an hour, or 36.049 statute miles an hour.

After the trials were over, Dixie, with the brothers Crane on board, started for City Island, where she was built. Out upon the Sound she darted at full speed, and slowed down a trifle when rougher water was reached. Even then she maintained a speed approximately equal to that developed in the International Race. She took only a little spray over the side, and this was blown from the weather side of the boat. She is almost as dry as an ordinary runabout. At City Island, at the works of B. Frank Wood, where she was built, the metal hood will be removed and one of canvass substituted. Then Dixie will be sent to Chippewa Bay to compete in the Gold Challenge Cup Races.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Aug. 10, 1908, p. 10)

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


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