Gar Wood


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Gar Wood churned an average speed of 111.712 miles an hour out of his Miss America IX on a two-way run over the Indian creek watercourse here yesterday and claimed a new world's speedboat record for America.

He exceeded by 1,489 miles an hour the previous record of 110.223 miles an hour established last July 9 at Lake Garda, Italy, by the Briton, Kaye Don, with Miss England II.

Rules of the International Yachtsman's Association and of the Yachtsman's Association of America required Wood exceed the previous record by half a mile an hour to post a new mark.

Wood's speed must be submitted and approved by these two associations before it is recognized as an official world's record. The veteran Detroit racer said he was "confident we have reclaimed for America the supremacy on water that we should have on land and in the air."

With the wind helping him over the measured nautical mile course on a southward run, Wood was clocked by electrical timing devices at 112.434 statute miles an hour. The elapsed time was 36.87 seconds.

Northward against the wind, Miss America was slowed to 110.989 miles an hour, with elapsed time of 37.35 seconds.

The average speed of two runs, one in each direction, is figured in computing a record attempt.

"I believe the speed of 112.434 miles an hour was the greatest thrill of my life," the white-haired sportsman said as he stepped out of the Miss America to receive congratulations of official observers and spectators.

"I am confident we have set a new record."

This confidence caused Wood to announce that no further record runs will be made with the Miss America "for some time." He will leave Sunday for a cruise to the Yucatan with C.F. Kettering, of Detroit, and others aboard Kettering's yacht.

If Don exceeds Wood's speed in a record attempt the Briton is planning for next June, Wood said he would put the Miss America to another test. However, he said, that would "be decided definitely when we see what Don does."

Last night the Miss America lay in the dry dock at Wood's estate from which she was lowered tenderly early yesterday. A last minute check by Wood and his riding mechanic, Orlin Johnson, of Detroit, was the only delay before the two record runs.

With her throttles wide open under Wood's hands, the Miss America was just a streak to the spectators in the yards of millionaires' homes lining the beautiful watercourse. Johnson could be seen leaning close to the instrument board to check the motors' performance.

The Miss America is powered with two 12-cylinder Packard motors, developing 1,200 horsepower each. Superchargers attached to the motors step them up to approximately 1,600 horsepower each at high speed. Twin propellers drive the craft through the water.

The runs marked Wood's second assault this year on Don's record. On January 27 he was clocked at an average of 110.785 miles an hour average, and believed he had established a new record. However, racing officials held he lacked a fraction of a second of exceeding Don's mark by the require half a mile an hour.

Undisturbed, Wood proceeded with changes to the Miss America that increased the boat's speed by a mile an hour.

Prior to January 27, Wood's best speed with Miss America was 103.069 miles an hour, made here April 16, 1931. The superchargers were added after that trial.

(reprinted from the Miami Herald, Feb. 6, 1932)


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