General News [1910]

Notes From Up and Down the Coast

Short Items of Interest Sent in by Special Correspondents



One of the latest devices to prevent collisions at sea will be put to a test during the (Seattle to Vancouver) long-distance race next summer. Dr. Lee de Forest’s aerophone, a remarkable invention which signals the approach to a vessel carrying it of any other vessel, has given some satisfactory demonstrations along the Atlantic seaboard, and the Pacific Radio Company here has promised to outfit some of the motor boats which enter the race next summer with it. There are some mechanical contrivances nowadays which almost think, and the aerophone is one of them. It is a simple little affair, which instantly gives warning when the vessel carrying it is within a certain distance of another vessel or the shore. It also gives the direction in which the other vessel or shore is. It works in any kind of weather, neither fogs nor storms having any effect on it. Dr. de Forest hit upon the principle of it when he was perfecting his wireless telephone. He is the chief engineer of the Radio Wireless telephone Company and that company will give local motor boat owners an exhibition of what the aerophone can do.


A great deal of interest is being taken in the new speed boat being built by D. O. McDonald, an eastern designer and a boat builder, for H. W. Buzzard, fleet captain of the Lake Whatcom Motor Club. The new boat is 25 feet in length, and has a 4 ft. 6 in. beam and of particularly racy lines. They expect at present to install a 14 H.P. engine, but it is more than likely that she will carry at least 30 H.P. before the season is over.

Mr. Buzzard is the owner of two semi-speed boats and with the addition, he will have a fleet of three at his command at any time. His wife is also a motor boat enthusiast, she having a boat of her own which she uses at their summer residence on Lake Whatcom.

Mr. R. C. Stephens, a prominent plastering contractor is laying plans for the construction of a purely speed boat for this coming season, he having now one of the finest pleasure and semi-speed boats on the lake, but being such a firm enthusiast as to speed, it is rumored that he is somewhat afraid of being out-classed the coming season and expects to put on a winner in every sense of the word.



Portland is to have a speed boat in the spring which is expected to smash all the records that have been made by her many fast boats in the past, and as Portland boats have beaten everything on the Pacific Coast, this means that the new boat will be the fastest on the western seaboard, and possibly a world-beater. The new boat will be built by the Curtis Power Boat Company for Captain Milton Smith of Rainier, Oregon, and will be 32 feet in length. It will be constructed entirely of mahogany and will be built along lines that will offer the least resistance and develop the highest possible speed. The power plant will consist of a six-cylinder, four cycle, 120 H.P. Emerson special nickel steel racing engine. The engine will be unique in a number of ways, it being specified that the weight is not to exceed 350 lbs. It is claimed by the manufacturers that this new racing mechanism will take in, burn, and expel at least three times the amount of gas that can be negotiated by any engine in the world. The cylinders are made of nickel steel, and are of great tensile strength. They are jacketed with a special alloy of nickel and copper which not only forms the jacket, but the cylinder heads as well. The frame is of nickel steel open rod type and the entire frame of the six cylinders weighs only 17 lbs. The base is of steel, which is 10 times stronger and only three times heavier per square foot than aluminum. The engine is complete reversing, which does away with the heavy reverse gear, as a gear capable of holding this engine would weigh more than the engine itself. For the horse power, it is claimed that this is the lightest engine in the world. The French Antoinette was weighed without fly wheel, etc., and was almost twice as heavy per H.P. as this engine. The same type of engine of 60 H.P. drove a speed boat, a 30 footer, a measured mile before the Counsel General of the United States at Ottawa, Canada, in one minute and 57 seconds, eight years ago, and the manufacturers have improved the engine ever since. The owner, boat builder and engine manufacturer expect that if everything goes well this will be the fastest boat for its length in the world.

Otto W. Ranft, who has been connected with the Portland Rowing Club for the past few years, has resigned as caretaker and is going into the boat-building business. He is building a boat for himself at the present time

Von der Worth Bros. Have a number of prospects, among them being a speed boat which they say, if built, will be one of the fastest, if not the fastest, boat in her class that ever cut the waters of the Willamette River.

The Curtis Power Boat Co., having too much business for their present quarters, are looking for more space. Mr. Curtis says he has a number of good locations, but has not decided on exactly where he will move to.


San Diego

The speedy runabout Hummer has been sold by F. Benham to Mr. F. Fowiss, of Roseville.

Messrs. Hazzard and Gould have purchased the famous Gray Streak and installed a high speed Ford engine in her that has made the little craft get out of the water and fly—so they say. Any how she is credited with 20 miles and over, which is going some for a 17 ft. boat.

Mr. J. E. Ort, of Cal. Iron Works, has purchased T. C. Hammond’s successful speed boat Black Cat, and will equip her with more power.

J. W. Fridley, 444 6th street, boat designer and builder, is remodeling the 17 ft. speed boat Comet, one of the fastest hulls on the Coast, for its size. Mr. C. Price, her new owner, has ordered a 35 H.P. Waterman engine 2 cycle 4 cylinder, weighing 93 pounds that he says will make her move some.



Wireless telegraphy for yachts! This is the latest novelty in Vancouver. Jack Richardson, the Vancouver telegraph operator who recently purchased the sloop Imo from her American owners at East Sound, near Bellingham, will install on his 40-foot craft a wireless apparatus next spring. He is already installing a gasoline auxiliary and his wireless machine will be one and a quarter kilowatts which will enable him to communicate with stations and ships within a radius of 500 miles.. The mast of the Imp is 50 feet high and Richardson plans to run the antennae of the wireless up to the spreaders on a special yard which can be lowered down and stowed when the equipment is not required.

Transcribed from Pacific Motor Boat, January 1910, pp. 32-40.

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Dixie Jr.—A New 20-Mile Runabout

The speed boat Dixie Junior hs created quite a stir on the Jersey coast, although she did not appear until late in the season, too late in fact to take part in any of the season’s racing. She is not only one of the fastest boats of her length ever built, but also one of the fastest of her power, regardless of size. Dixie Junior was designed and built S. Eartley {Bartley – GWC} Pearce of the firm of Pearce and Fenner, of East Orange, N.J., for Mr. T. Morris Fenner of that city. Her general construction is interesting as an example of the best that can be procured. The dimensions of the boat are: Length over all, 24 feet; bean over all, 4 feet; the frames of selected white oak, continuous from gunwale to gunwale, and spaced six inches between centers excepting under the engine bed, where the spacing is four inches. The frames at this point are of rock elm. The planking is of Spanish cedar, running the entire length of the boat, entirely copper-fastened and riveted over copper washers. The stem and stern pieces are of white oak, lined with thin mahogany. The entire top work and interior finish are of Honduras mahogany. The hull is designed for maximum lightness and strength. She is particularly stiff and at the highest speed shows scarcely any vibration on account of the special engine bed construction and the smoothness of motor operation.

The power plant is a four-cylinder, 4 x 4 inch Syracuse motor conservatively rated at 16 horsepower and of regular type, except that aluminum is used for base, intake bonnet, cylinder heads and gear case, to reduce the weight of what is, to begin with, an extremely light motor. It is of the two-cycle, three-port type, combining the most advanced ideas in marine motor construction. The motor is placed forward under a hinged hood and the controls are embodied in a special automobile steering wheel made by the J. A. Seely Manufacturing Company, of Ogdensburg, N.Y., which, with a rear starting device, puts the controls in the hands of one man. The gasoline is forced to the carbureter under pressure by an air pump, fitted to the starboard side of the coaming.

During her trial trip Dixie Junior was run at top speed for over two hours and showed better than 20 miles an hour; with a larger wheel and the motor limbered up she is expected to show a speed of 22 miles an hour.

She disturbs the water but slightly at high speed, which fact speaks well for the design of her under body. Captain Pearce, the designer of Dixie Junior and the pilot of the famous Dixie II, which won the Harmsworth Trophy in the British International in 1908, is enthusiastic for the outlook of his latest production, and her owner, Mr. Fenner, is planning to enter her in many of next season’s races.

Transcribed from MotorBoating, February, 1910, p. 21

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Notes From Up and Down the Coast

Short Items of Interest Sent In by Special Correspondents



For the promotion of the sport of motor boating as well as for the development of local interest in their own particular lines, the Campbell Hardware Company is contemplating the holding of a series of races and offering prizes for Seattle boats of one design. The idea was suggested by the 21-foot one design class of the British Motor Boat Club, which promises to be a leading feature of motor boat sport in the old country next summer. This Seattle firm, acting as agents for the Ferro engine and the Mullins and Johnson boats, are planning to hold something late in the summer if the event proves feasible—a race for the 16, 18, 20 and 22-footers of their respective makes. As they will undoubtedly dispose of a large number of these boats and as boats of identical design and horsepower make the only true racing it is to be hoped that their plans will not fail of materialization.


Edwin C. Judd, of Astoria, Ore., who with T. L. Driscoll, of the same city, owns the famous speed boat Greenhorn, was a recent visitor in Everett and while here consorted with the local motor boat men, his tales of speed boating on the lower Columbia exciting considerable interest. He says that there are many fast boats on the Columbia, and related many interesting stories about the game. His talk has stirred up interest here in speed boating and may result in interesting local enthusiasts in that branch of the game.



It was in April, 1908, when a few boys met in a room of the Portland public baths to discuss the advisability of launching a motor boat club. General plans were talked over and a committee appointed on ways and means, but appointing committees does not make a club. What was needed was a few enthusiastic motor boat men to come to the front, put their shoulders to the wheel and pilot the club to success. This work fell on Mr. Jas. B. Welch and Mr. Geo. J. Kelly, who had a number of talks over a number of glasses of gasoline and outlined a plan which they were determined to carry out. They leased a strip of water front, bought a couple of logs and some lumber, built a float and drove some piling. They then tied Mr. Kelly’s houseboat to the piles, raising a club pennant and called the place the Willamette Motor Boat Club. The next thing to do was to look for members and boats to bring to the club so as to make expenses. This was no easy task; indeed it was a hard grind, but step by step they went on until March 1909, when they thought best to incorporate, which they did, taking over 600 of the 1,000 shares of capital stock, and putting the balance on the market. This was partly taken up and the club continued until a short time ago, when it was decided at a meeting to re-organize, take over the old organization, incorporate and sell stock to raise money to build a fine new clubhouse. Therefore a committee with full power to act was appointed and after a number of meetings they have arranged on details and made final arrangements with the old club to take charge on the first of February, 1910. The committee has about $2,500 already pledged and expect to raise in the neighborhood of $5,000 before time to build. The committee has also made arrangements with Mr. Jas. B. Welch to act as manager for the club and at a meeting to be held some time in February, officers will be elected for the year 1910. The committee who have the re-organization in charge are Chairman C. V. Cooper, C. W. Boost, W. H. Curtis, Frank Lewis and A. F. Rober.

C. W. Boost, a prominent member of the Willamette Motor Boat Club, spent the middle part of January in Los Angeles attending the aviator’s meeting. There is some rumor of Mr. Boost owning an airship some time in the future.

For a man with so many responsibilities, George J. Kelly, commodore of the Willamette Motor Boat Club, is a very happy man. Mr. Kelly, incidentally, carries the weight of many cares upon his shoulders. In addition to operating a street railway department, he has found it necessary to take up a good portion of the burden of organizing and boosting the Willamette Motor Boat Club, and now he has added to these responsibilities by getting married. He assumed his latest care, however, in the same manner that he has shouldered the others, cheerfully, even eagerly, it is claimed, and now his usual smile and the goodness of his disposition has increased about 300 per cent, and his friends say he is so happy that it hurts. Mr. Kelly was married to Miss Cora Olive of Portland on Tuesday, January 25th, and his many friends in the club are wishing him long life, happiness and prosperity.


San Francisco

John Twigg & Sons Company are overhauling the speed boat Konocti, owned by E. J. Holt and Prent Gray of San Francisco.

(Transcribed from Pacific Motor Boat, February, 1910, pp. 32-38.)

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Motor Boating On San Francisco Bay
By Herbert Hauser

Motor boating on San Francisco Bay and its tributaries is yet in its infancy when compared with conditions existing in nearly every other section of the United States. The craze for both speed and cruising boats has swept over the entire country and has just about reached here. At present the outlook for the sport is very bright, for a large number of new power boats of all kinds, sizes and descriptions are being built. One thing has held back local enthusiasts, and that has been the cost of building boats, which is considerably higher here than in other sections of the country.

It is within reason for us to claim that if it were possible to construct boats as cheap here as in Eastern cities, there would be many times the number of boats running about the bay. Our choppy bay waters are not conducive to the low, rakish machine, and but few are found hereabout. Prentice Gray’s Konocti is the best example of a speed boat that there is on San Francisco Bay, and the way it darts among and around the ferry boats, to the wonderment of the commuters, is a caution. This speed burner has beaten every boat on the bay in the various races that have been held during the last two seasons. The Fighting Bob of the Sacramento Boat Club was its conqueror on one or two occasions, but there was always a dispute as to which was the faster. The Fighting Bob was sold last year to some Eureka enthusiast.

The San Francisco Yacht Club has done much to encourage power boating, probably more so than any other club about the bay. For the past few years it has been holding an annual regatta for motor boats which has always brought out a big list of entries with excellent competition. Lawrence T. Wagner, owner of the cruiser Roamer, and the newly elected vice-commodore of the S. F. Yacht Club, has done much for encouraging power boating. The Roamer was named by the Saisalito Club as the first defender for the San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Cup presented by Frederick A. Robins, owner of the speed cruiser Lillian, and a great enthusiast of the motor boat game. The first race for this cup was held last season, the Liberty belonging to John Hax of the Pacific Motor Boat Club, and the Palachan of the Sacramento Boat Club being the challengers, the latter boat proved victor and now holds this cup. The course of this race is from a point in front of the San Francisco Yacht Club to and around the Southampton Shoals light, thence around Alcatraz Island and back to the starting point, estimated at 14 nautical miles. The Palachan proved too fast for its opponents, and won out quite handily. The race was afterwards protested by the pacific Motor Boat Club on the grounds that the Palachan was not a legitimate cruiser, but the protest was withdrawn.

The Reynolds Flyer is another speedy boat that hails from the Capital City. Every one in Sacramento has the motor boat craze, and as a result, the river is alive with all classes of boats. Dr. I. G. Shaw has been commodore of the Sacramento Boat Club for the past two years, and is known to every one who has ever made the river trip either by yacht or power boat. His cruiser is the J. E. S. Shaw is now contemplating the building of a new cruiser. The semi-speeder Dragon Fly, of William Meyer, the Red Raven of Alber Elkus, are among other popular Sacramento boats. The Washington Boat Club is another river motor boat club at Sacramento.

The Pacific Motor Boat Club is the largest club, and in fact about the only strictly motor boat club on the bay. It is located at Belvedere, where the majority of its members reside during the summer months. Charles H. Crocker, owner of the power boats Alsoran and Duxgo, is commodore of the club; W. H. L. Corran of the cruiser Wonder, vice-commodore; George L. Bean, of the Idler, rear-commodore; E. S. Purdy, secretary-treasurer, and F. W. Kelley, owner of the B & S and the Naiad, and F. T. Bowers, of the Coarsair, are directors. The club maintains a commodious ark as a clubhouse on Corinthian Island.

There are about sixteen power boats in the Corinthian Yacht Club’s fleet, the cruiser Bonnie Doon, of William Letts Oliver being the largest. The Bonnie Doon is a sixty-footer, and is fitted out in fine style, having all the comforts that make cruising a pleasure.

Of course the Sacramento River is the ideal cruising ground for motor boats, and during the summer months the river is dotted with large numbers of boats; in fact, the fever has struck the ranchmen along the river, and there is scarcely a farmer along the river who has not some sort of power boat. One of the best of these is the 35 footer belonging to Howard Kercheval, of Grand Island.

Paradise Cove, of course, is always a popular spot for Saturday and Sunday cruises; McNear’s Landing and the Petaluma drawbridge also attract the larger boats, while during the salmon fishing season Bolinas Bay is a favorite place.

(Transcribed from Overland, May, 1910, pp. 464-466)

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

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