Motor Boat Races in Ireland for the Harmsworth Cup
By Our Special Correspondent in Ireland

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The First Race for the Harmsworth Cup in Queenstown Harbor. Mr. Edge's Boat Appears on the Left; Mr. Beadle's on the Right. The view is toward their sterns as they churn up-river toward Cork

The first International Motor Boat Race for the Harmsworth Cup took place in Queenstown Harbor on Saturday, July 11.

The trophy is offered by Mr. Alfred Harmsworth, proprietor of the London Daily Mail, for any type of motor boat not exceeding 40 feet over all, fitted with any form of power and no limit as to the amount thereof; it is essential that the man who steers the boat shall be a member of a recognized club, just as in the contest for the Gordon Bennett cup.

The more important conditions imposed by Mr. Harmsworth are the following:

The cup shall be for international competition, and the trustees of the same shall be the Automobile Cup of Great Britain and Ireland.

The cup shall be competed for annually under the racing rules for the time being of the Marine Motor Association of the United Kingdom.

There shall not be more than three vessels representing each country.

Each competing vessel shall be constructed wholly and in every particular in the country which it represents.

No limitation shall be placed on the form or description of motive power, provided that the motive power is wholly mechanical.

Each vessel shall carry not less and not more than two hands, of whom the helmsman shall be a member of the competing club, and both hands shall be natives of the country which they represent. The entries were:

1. Mr. S.F. Edge's launch, 40 feet in length, driven by a 75 horse power, four-cylinder, Napier gasoline motor attached to a two-bladed propeller. The size of the cylinders of the motor used are 6 1/2 inches bore by 7 1/2 inches stroke; its normal speed is 800 R.P.M.; and jump spark ignition is employed.

2. Mr. Beadle's launch, 30 feet in length, constructed of cedar wood and driven by a 50 horse power, eight-cylinder, gasoline motor, with two two-bladed propellers on the same shaft.

3. Mr. J.E. Thornycroft's launch, 30 feet long, driven by a 20 horse power, four-cylinder, Thornycroft gasoline motor connected to one 18-inch three-bladed propeller.

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The first winner was Mr. S.F. Edge's Napier racing launch, a photograph of which is here shown.

The course extended from the quarters of the Cork Yacht Club, Queenstown, up the River Lee to Cork, a distance of 8 1/2 miles. In the draw, Thornycroft's boat got a bye. Edge, who covered the distance in 24 min., 44 sec., beat Beadle, who took 27 min., 44 2-5 sec. Thornycroft was then pitted against Edge, the boats returning to Queenstown so as to travel to Cork over the same course. Edge was an easy victor, beating Thornycroft by 5 min., 8 3-5 sec. The winner's time was 26 min., 6 sec. A handicap race for the Yachtsman's cup (given by the proprietor of a yachting newspaper) was next contested, the entrants being the same as in the previous race. Edge was scratch, Beadle had a handicap of 6 min., 55 sec., and Thornycroft 11 min., 50 sec. The last named won in 33 min., 51 1-5 sec., Beadle's time being 33:12 3-5, and Edge's 27:9 1-5.

The 40-foot Napier launch entered for the race was designed by Mr. Linton Hope and built by Mr. S.F. Edge.

The hull is built of 20 B.W.G. steel, and the frames and floors of light angle and plate, while two longitudinal girders run fore and aft to carry the motor and separate thrust bearings. There is no deck to the craft, but merely a covering of canvas stretched tightly over the hull. She has a beam of 5 feet, molded depth of 2 feet, and an over-all length of 40 feet; her total displacement is 1 1/2 tons.

(Transcribed from Scientific American - 8 Aug. 1903. P. 101. )

[See also The Irish Automobile Fortnight]

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in the preparation of this page --LF]


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Leslie Field, 1999