Formation of the Pacific International Power Boat Association [1908]

Pacific International Power Boat Association
By Frank M. Foulser

Editor's Note.--The recent organization of the Pacific International Power Boat Association is of interest to every power boat club, boat owner or enthusiast on the Pacific Coast. Scores of motor-boat clubs are already in existence in as many cities from Alaska to Mexico, and the number is rapidly increasing. The organization of the new association gives these clubs a governing body and attributes to the sport of motor-boating in these waters a definite and recognized standing which has hitherto been lacking. The following article by the secretary of the association, details the purposes and plans of the organization.

"What and why is the Pacific International Power Association?" These two questions have been asked so frequently of late that I am glad of this opportunity to relate some of the reasons which led to the starting of the Association and what it hopes to accomplish.

To answer both questions by a brief generality--The Pacific International Power Boat Association is an organization of individual power boat owners and enthusiasts, who want to develop systematically the marvelous opportunities for power boating offered by Puget Sound, the Alaskan and British Columbia marine highway, the Columbia River and the inland lakes nearby. Eventually it hopes to stimulate the interest of the entire Pacific Coast in this growing sport.

The excuse for the founding of an organization of this nature at this precise time may be found in the wonderful increase, during the past two years, in the number and variety of power boats launches west of the Rockies. The occasion which emphasized the immediate need of such an organization was the recent long distance race for cruising power boats from Seattle to Vancouver. No one who witnessed that event can deny the growing interest taken in power boating or the need of some executive body to promote its systematic development.

"But," someone may inquire, "why not affiliate the power boat interests of the Pacific Coast with one of the advisory bodies already established under the Stars and Stripes, instead of creating a new organization?" There are several reasons. The first is that the existing international relations would necessitate a revision of the rules governing any of the executive motor boat bodies now existing in the United States. Now this international phase is not only a natural result of geography, but it is a very pleasant and desirable element in the development of all kinds of sport in this section--especially of yachting. Vancouver and Victoria are nearer to Seattle, Portland and `Frisco than the three last are to Boston, Chicago and New York, not only in distance, but in the conditions which govern the conduct of their sports. The truth of this statement may be confirmed by a glance at the different and highly specialized type of boats developed by the demands of these waters. These conditions were very carefully investigated by those most interested before the advisability of attempting an independent organization was decided upon.

In a general way the aims of the Association are to promote the building of power boats, to formulate rules to govern all classes of racing in the waters previously mentioned, to develop and exploit the exceptional cruising facilities of the pacific Coast, to encourage the building of the best types of hulls and engines, to advance knowledge in seamanship and the rules of the road, to instigate favorable legislation and to foster a fraternal feeling among the thousands of present and prospective lovers of motor boating.

The development of this Association may be considered under three heads, its relation to sail yachting, its relation to the commercial power boat and its relation to the welfare of its own membership.

There is absolutely no need for friction between sailing and power boating. Their avowed aims are the same. With a bit of consideration for each other, a perfect harmony should exist.

The power boat man -- especially on the pacific Coast -- is an extremely busy individual, who selects power in preference to sail, simply because he must get "there and back" before Monday morning. In many instances it's a case of power or no boat. Such men almost without exception have the qualifications of real lovers of the water. They are men who, with proper training, will make excellent exponents of the grandest of out-of-door recreations. The "reformed" sailor makes an ideal power yachtsman, because he brings to the new game a fund of patience and enthusiasm which is bound to overcome the annoyance of engine difficulties and infuse the spirit of true sportsmanship into his associates. Let the sailorman, therefore, look with charity on the new recruit and forgive him his shortcomings.

The power boat enthusiast on the other hand must learn the value of discipline which the element have taught to the expert in canvas. He must be willing to sacrifice a little of his independence and consider the greatest good to the greatest number. Take, for example, a combines power and sail yacht cruise. The resistance of the temptation to outrun the fleet simply because it can be done by the turn of a little brass lever, offers an excellent school for self-control. The power boat brother must also learn to respect the regard which each well trained sailing man has for the observation of sea-going "etiquette." Much of this may seem to the novice superfluous and even bombastic, but he will come in time to recognize the part it plays in the development of the true seaman.

Recognizing the parallel purposes of each department, the new association will seek the endorsement and recognition of the Northwest International Yacht Racing Association, which acts as an executive body in the affairs of the various yacht clubs located on Puget Sound. To confirm this similarity of interests, the power boat association will demand that each applicant for membership be a member in good standing of a recognized yacht or power boat club. The clubs at present recognized are the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the Victoria Yacht Club, the Fairhaven Yacht Club, the Bellingham Yacht Club, the Everett Yacht Club, the Seattle Yacht Club, the Elliott Bay Yacht Club and the Motor Boat Club of Seattle. This list will be increased as new clubs are formed or as the growth of power boating brings within the radius of our enthusiasm more remote sections of the Pacific Coast. From each of these clubs the association simply seeks recognition of its functions as an adjunct to the proper development of the power boat interests.

In the commercial application of the gasoline engine, the association will take no active part. It will, however, watch with interest the growth of this important industry and in an advisory capacity suggest such innovations as may redound to the credit of the locality and the developments of the best types of boats. The eradication of commercialism from all contests and cruises held under its auspices will be one of its principal efforts.

Let us now consider the association a body by itself. The officers consist of R. P. McLennan, of Vancouver, president; W. S. Chambers, of Victoria, vice-president; R. H. Parsons, of Seattle, commodore; H. W. Starrett, of Seattle, treasurer; F. M. Foulser, of Seattle, secretary; Frederick Brinton, of Seattle, and W. H. MacDougall, of Vancouver, measurers. These, together with a representative from each of the recognized clubs, will constitute an executive board. The policy of the association is conservative; hence its growth will be slow but effective.

Every member taken in will be heartily in sympathy with its aims and willing to do what he can to help boost the game along. The membership already includes business and professional men from all along the coast. An initiation fee of $3.00 and annual dues of $2.00 will guarantee a fund for the extension of the power boating spirit. One of the most recent allies to the cause is the magazine in which this article appears. The establishment of a publication devoted entirely to the interests of the Pacific Coast power boat man is a step whose value cannot be overestimated.

A number of activities will be fostered by the association. The principal one in sight is the cruising contest for the A.Y.P. "Exposition" Cup over a long-distance course. This will be raced for next summer over a course exceeding 200 miles, beginning at Vancouver and ending at Seattle, with a probable loop into the Straits. The rules and restrictions governing this event are in the hands of a special committee, who will suggest the wording of the deed of gift. The restrictions will shortly be made public in order to give contemplative owners a chance to build into the class. In so far as possible the rules will favor the type the boat best adapted for cruising in these waters. It is probable that the boats eligible for this event will be divided into three sections or classes measuring from 30 to 45 feet, from 45 to 60 feet, and from 60 to 75 feet on the waterline. The two larger divisions may be sent over a longer and more exposed course than the smallest.

Within the past year several ocean-going cruisers have been added to the Pacific Coast fleet. others are being negotiated for at the present time, and in addition to these several more are being planned. In fact, there will be plenty of boats in this vicinity next summer big enough to enter a long ocean race, should it be decided feasible to hold one.

In conjunction with the Exposition, it is reported that motor boat races will be held on Lake Washington and a special building erected for motor boat exhibits. Should these reports materialize, an additional impetus will be given to power boating in this section, and the association will doubtless pitch in to help make the affair an unqualified success. No better way of drawing the attention of the outside world to the unusual facilities which Puget Sound and the adjacent waters offer to the seeker after recreation could be thought of.

The association does not mean to limit its encouragement to trials of speed. reliability contests will be arranged in which the element of speed will count but for a small percentage. Special inducements will be offered for the acquirement of seamanship. The scheme of stimulating the building of power houseboats will be sought. Even the application of power to dinghies and canoes will not be overlooked. Educational matter adapted to local conditions will be distributed. Measured distances will be established, gasoline supply stations multiplied and legal aids to navigation petitioned for when the necessity exists. Some method of enforcing the observation of the laws governing the conduct of small vessels will be suggested. An annual power boat cruise will be one of the events to look forward to.

The regular meetings of the association will be held annually at the time and place of the Northwestern International Yacht Racing Association regatta. Special meetings of the executive committee will be called by the president. A club flag and emblem will be adopted shortly. Special association prize flags will be given at all races held by the organization. The exact relationship of the association to each club will be defined later. No one will be permitted to compete in the regular events of the P.I.P.B.A. unless he is a member. This does not apply to events in which the association acts merely as an advisory body or to special contests, where for any reason it may seem inadvisable to make this restriction.

There are many other things which will doubtless arise to puzzle the executive committee, but enough ground has been covered in this article to show that the association is thoroughly in earnest. This section of the country is young and we have much to learn. Mistakes in judgment will probably occur and have to be remedied, but the filed is here, the enthusiasm is here--and the boats are on the way. Application blanks for membership may be obtained of the individual members or by addressing to the secretary of the Pacific Power Boat Association, Seattle, Wash.

(Transcribed from Pacific Motor Boat, October 1908, pp.7, 8, 23 )

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


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