Prizes for Power Boats
Electric and Naphtha Launches Finally
Columbia Yacht Club Race Committee [1902]

The result of the Columbia Yacht Club's races, which reveals quite an achievement in a way, has been announced. There were three classes of power boats in the contest, which were designated as the electric class, the "green" class, and the "checkered" class. In the electric class C. A. Starbuck's launch Carmen won the prize, in the green class Harry S. Elliott's launch Alpha came in ahead and in the checkered class Ardea, owned jointly, was the victor. The prizes were handsome silver cups.

By courtesy the Laureece, a launch owned by a man who was a guest of the club on June 26, the day of the race, was permitted to join in the contest. The boat really won the race, making the twelve-mile run in 55:26, but unfortunately, because of the rules laid down for the government of the race, the owner was not eligible for one of the prizes.

There have been contests of speed between power boats heretofore, but the problem of time allowance has been a "stickler." It proved so to the Columbia Yacht Club on the day of the race, because to the chagrin of the managers of the race, the winners could not be announced on that day. In every other way, however, the race was a success.

The problem of time allowance for power boats has been considered an insurmountable obstacle in contests for supremacy of speed. Few are built alike in any particular, either as to dimensions or the power by which they are propelled.

Quite recently a schedule was devised by which, with comparatively little trouble, the differences as regards horse power of engines, water line, width of boat, and so on, could be readily figured out,

With this table as a basis for computing the time allowance, several launch races have been held in various parts of the country. Some slight hitch in the way of adapting conditions to the schedule have been met with. Such a hitch was indeed encountered in the case of the Columbia Yacht Club race, which was largely due to the fact that the boats which were entered in the race varied so much from one another that certain little features were found which had not been provided for in the prescribed tables, but for which provisions had been made in a general way, however. It therefore took a little longer than expected to figure out the problem.

The race was run over a twelve-mile course. All narrow boats allowed wider boats 2 seconds for every 6 inches or fraction thereof per mile. All greater horse power allowed lesser horse power 4-5 of a second per horse power per minute. The shortest elapsed time made by any boat over the course was taken as a basis for figuring upon. The fastest time which was made over the course was--besides that made by the Laureece--1:03:00.

The rules which were prescribed for the government of the race were that only the boats of the club members must be entered. Two boats belonging to the club jointly were entered, but they also were not eligible for prizes. It was also stipulated that the crew of each one of the contesting boats must consist of not less that two persons on each boat, and that no professional or employe of an enginemaker, unless a member of the club should be allowed on any one of the contesting boats. The course was from the club's boathouse at the foot of Eighty-Sixth Street, to and around a stakeboat anchored off the New Jersey shore opposite One Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Street, thence to and around another stakeboat anchored off the New Jersey shore opposite Sixty-Fifth Street, and then back and crossing the starting line. The course was sailed twice around.

There were thirteen launches entered in the race. They were divided into the three classes already described. Flags on the boats indicated the class they belonged to. These classes are provided for in the schedule, which stipulates, for example, that launches propelled by a certain power of engine are eligible to a certain class only. As everything is taken into consideration in the way of "handicaps," it may occur that the last boat coming in is the first one to win the prize.

The result of the Columbia Yacht Club's race, as figured out in the basis of the prescribed schedule, and showing both the actual as well as the corrected time, is as follows:

                               ELECTRIC CLASS
                                          Elapsed    Corrected
                    Start      Finish            Time
Lutuhezi            2:35:45    4:26:40    1:50:55    1:50:55
Carmen              2:36:25    4:40:20    2:03:55    1:44:10
Club launch         2:35:45    4:25:25    1:49:40    1:42:16

                               GREEN CLASS
Club launch         2:43:30    4:21:35    1:38:05    1:38:05
Alpha               2:41:00    4:20:00    1:39:00    1:25:04
Amelia Victoria     2:41:25    4:21:00    1:39:35    1:39:35
Anita               2:41:50    4:45:00    2:03:10    1:36:10

                               CHECKERED CLASS
Coyote              2:49:20    3:52:45    1:03:25    1:05:25
Augusta             2:49:00    3:52:00    1:03:00    1:03:00
Gertrude            2:49:00    4:24:20    1:35:20    1:13:01
Ardea               2:49:30    4:14:25    1:25:55    1:02:19
My Ladye            2:50:05    Did not finish
Laureece            2:50:00    3:57:05    1:07:05    1:02:19

The club proposes to give another race early in August.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, 13 July, 1902)

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

Hydroplane History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010.
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at
Leslie Field, 1999