1904 APBA Gold Cup [second running]
North River, New York City, NY, September 22-24, 1904

Races for Power Boats
Competing Craft Will Be Started According to Handicap Allowances

Races for Power Boats
Record for Auto Boat
New Speed Record by Automobile Boats
Auto Boats Race Against Heavy Sea
Two Men Rescued from a Blazing Boat
Boat Burns in Race
Vingt-et-Un II Wins Gold Challenge Cup
Autoboat Winner for Ormond Races
Macaroni Will Race Again

Races for the American Power Boat Association Challenge Cup have been arranged for Sept. 22, 23 and 24, on the challenge of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club to the Columbia Yacht Club. The start will be made at 2 o'clock each day off the Columbia Yacht clubhouse, Eighty-sixth Street and North River, the course being sixteen miles up the river to a mark off Piermont and return.

It has been arranged to start the competing boats on their handicap time. The boat receiving the greatest time allowance will be started at 2 o'clock and the others at the expiration of time which they allow the first boat. Each contestant will know his position throughout the race and will know just what boats he must pass in order to win. it is expected that this will make the races more interesting to the spectators.

The committee having charge of the races consists of Frederick A. Hill of the Norwalk Yacht Club, representing the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club; F. J. Stone of the Columbia Yacht Club, and H. DeB. Parsons of the American Yacht Club was chosen Chairman by the other two members. The winning boat will be determined by the point system, whereby each of the contesting boats receives one point for going over the course and an additional point for each boat which she defeats. The following entries have been received:

Shooting Star, Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, H. A. Lozier Jr.
Marcirene II, Cape May Yacht Club, Commodore J. W. Allison
Challenger, Audubon Yacht Club, Smith & Mabley
Vingt-et-Un, Chippewa Yacht Club, W. S. Kilmer
Mercedes U.S.A., Rhode Island Yacht Club, H. L. Bowden
Macaroni, Atlantic Yacht Club, C. L. Tangeman
Josephine, Jamaica Bay Yacht Club, A. J. Buschmann
Logarithm, Sachem's Head Yacht Club, F. N. Waterman
Mercedes IV, American Yacht Club, W. K. Vanderbilt Jr.
Flip, Hartford Yacht Club, C. D. Holmes
Speedway, Columbia Columbia Yacht Club, C. L. Seabury
Water Lily, Yonkers Corinthian Yacht Club, Frank Seaman.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, Sep. 18, 1904, p. 10.)

*  *  *

*  *  *

*  *  *

*  *  *

*  *  *

*  *  *

*  *  *

The Gold Cup

"Vingt-et-Un" Wins: "Speedway" Second

Cup Will Be Held By Chippewa Bay Yacht Club and 1905 Race Will Be On St. Lawrence

Big Crowd Present. Rough Weather Brings Grief

Well, well, the Gold Cup Races have been run, and despite certain flaws and drawbacks, they were a huge success. The entry list was varied as to types, was of high quality, and there was an enthusiastic crowd present on each of the three days. The boats which combines speed with reliability won the honors. The splendid Vingt-et-Un II wins the cup, with 25 points, Speedway running second with 21, Mercedes U.S.A. running third with 19, Flip running fourth with 18, and so on down the list of the entire 10 boats.

On the first day, Mercedes VI, the new Vanderbilt boat, proved a sensation, romping home nearly ten minutes before the next nearest boat, and doing the course in 27 1-3 knots in 1 h. 21 m. 30 s. Mercedes VI was substituted by W. K. Vanderbilt Jr. for the Hard Boiled Egg. he had tried with this boat all season, but had won few or no honors with her. When he new flyer appeared on the first day, W. K. V. Jr. was himself at the wheel, and as soon as she started up the river, the sharps immediately determined she was a phenom, and no doubt when she has been thoroughly tuned up she will prove a wonderful boat.

She is an extremely light, high powered boat, and is a flyer of the first order. After the first day, as she was being towed home to City Island at night up the Hudson, through the Harlem Ship Canal and up the Sound, she ran into a heavy fog, and later on she ran into a rock at Hell Gate, and was never afterwards herself; so that on the second day she started late, after much tinkering, and was never afterward heard of that day.

To the student of racing the tables appended herewith afford interesting study. In a general way, the three days furnished splendid sport. They were held on Thursday, friday and Saturday, September 22, 23 and 24. A goodly crowd of outsiders lined Riverside Drive, most of whom rooted for W. K. Vanderbilt Jr., and keen interest was shown by the fact that the crowd was larger each succeeding day. The clubhouse throughout the entire three days was well crowded with ladies, while the lawns and verandas, etc., were filled during the contests by the lights of the boating world.

The new method of starting the boats proved a great success. That is, the slowest boat was started first. This proved to be the Josephine, and it was nearly an hour after she left that the Vingt-et-Un II, the virtual scratch boat, was started. Meanwhile, each boat, according to its rating, was sent off, and thus the spectators were kept at fever heat for an hour at the start. This left only about an hour of interregnum before the first boat home loomed into sight.

During the three days the weather was rather strenuous. The first day was passable, but on Friday and Saturday wind and weather whipped the Hudson into whitecaps; in fact, on the Tappan Zee Bay the water was very rough, and many of the boats came to grief. Indeed, after their experience of the first day, most of them made some preparation to keep the wet out. As they came home they presented a glorious sight, throwing the spray an immense height, and making a wonderful picture. During the entire three days the races gave the crowd verve, excitement and interest, and the function was declared by all to be a brilliant success.

Mercedes VI made the splendid time of 1 h. 21 m. 30 s. on the first day. In fact, she overtook the stake boat long before that craft reached Piermont. After considerable yahooing the stake boat was compelled to drop anchor long before she arrived at the point originally marked for her, so that the course eventually proved to be 27 1-3 knots. As Mercedes VI romped home there was not a sign of applause, because most of the crowd thought that she had not made the course. It was for this reason that W. K. V. Jr. and his boat received such a cool reception, but when the crowd learned that the little craft had actually rounded the stake boat, they were keenly alive to her merits, and she was the talk of the day.

The next conspicuous boat home was Vingt-et-Un II, which raced under the colors of the Chippewa Bay Yacht Club, of Alexandria Bay. The Vingt-et-Un II made a very sturdy impres- sion on the crowd; in fact, during the whole three days she went through the performance without turning a hair. She was of the not-to-be-denied order, and raced away from start to finish without any hemming or hawing. On the first day she made the excellent time, considering the strong tide and very strong head wind, of 1 h. 15 m. 57 s. These impeded up her progress, and as the tide turned and the wind died away, they by no means helped her home.

The Speedway, entered by Charles L. Seabury, was booked for honors as soon as the crowd saw her start. She was voted by all the smoothest riding boat of the lot, that is, she had less of water-play, less of vibration.

Of all the boats none created a better impression than the Mercedes U.S.A., owned by H. L. Bowden, of Boston. The Mercedes U. S. A. is a very staunch boat, and the entire crowd hallmarked Mr. Bowden as a thorough sportsman. She went through each day without any mishap and finished third in the honor table.

The Josephine, the slowest boat of the lot, owned by A. J. Buschmann, Jamaica Bay Yacht Club, came to grief on the second day. While trying out among the craft at the start---and, by the way, they were strewn all over the course, she caught a mooring line and lost her propeller. It went to the bottom and she was compelled to ship a new one. Her owner asked for a delay, but this was not granted, so that the Josephine did not start on the second day.

One of the most consistent boats of the entire flotilla was the Marcirine II, owned by J. W. Allison, Commodore of the Cape May Yacht Club. Marcirine II went through the three strenuous days without turning a hair. She has a big freeboard, and the whitecaps of Tappan Zee never phased her for a moment. The Marcirine II was one of the boats which was sure to turn up at the finish. While her owner could not pluck any of the speed laurels, she was congratulated by all hands for the sturdiness and staunchness of his craft.

The Challenger, which was the scratch boat of the lot, just ran over the line and turned about on the fist day, did not start on the second day, and did not finish on the third day. The Challenger is a wonderful looking craft, and seems able to go through almost anything. When she starts off, she reels like a drunken man. The general opinion is that she is over-powered, but she seems a craft capable of marvelous speed when once she has gotten right.

At no race in the year has there been so large a number of craft of all kinds in attendance. They were all over the show and extended from the shoreline half way out into the river. it was notable, however, that the course was badly patrolled near the mark boat, and some of the competitors had to make their way trough a sinuous lane before they struck the open. Many of the larger steam yachts were very handsomely decorated, and with the blue river, backed by the dark palisades, the picture was one of extreme beauty.

Among the many yachtsmen present during the three days were George A. Cormack, secretary of the New York Yacht Club; Newberry D. Lawton, E. M. McClellan, C. F. Simms, Charles Kirby, F. W. Belknap, Harry S. Stephenson, Frank Croker and former Inspector of Police, Alexander S. Williams. Among the designers and builders present were: Dr. H. L. Hasbrouck, C. L. Seabury, A. A. Packard, C. H. Crane, W. Sterling Burgess, J. J. Amory, C. C. and E. A. Riotte, C. R. Mabley, E. H. Tangeman, H. E. Dantzebacher, E. R. Hollander, N. H. Whittelsey, J. S. Bunting and H. S. Sutphen.

Flying round and about the start, white, smooth and speedy was La Manola, a New Rochelle Huntington boat. She was a sea-bird, a swan, and all who saw her admired the graceful lines, the perfect action. Wonder if La Manola is for sale!

On Saturday, after the racers had been sent off, what looked like an 8-oared college shell, but thoroughly covered in, with only two narrow-chested open cockpits for crew, hove into sight. it was of the extreme tooth-pick order, and the shell was declared by experts to be of the thickness of varnish. Where it came from and where it went to, no one knew. It was labeled Split the Wind, and was said to have an engine in it; but it was ot connected. Two men crawled painfully into the cockpits, wobbled about in front of the clubhouse, and then went away somewhere. This craft was said to belong to the nephew or thirty-third cousin of a celebrated Down East designer. If it was brought before the public as an advertisement, it certainly made a sorry show. Had the thing swept up and down the river, it would have provoked comment and even admiration, be- cause it was a handsome looking boat; but, as it merely drifted aimlessly about, laughter was the only emotion it gave rise to.

W. Sharpe Kilmer, owner of Vingt-et-Un, was very much on deck on Saturday, and brightened color betrayed his pride as his boat came home a victor. he is a Binghampton man, owns the patented preparation called Swamproot, owns the Binghampton Press, owns, too, a fine physique, dressed a la mode. A big, strong, practical man is W. Sharpe Kilmer. He was wired for to come down and see his boat get the cup.

The cup is awarded on a point basis in three races. For instance, on the first day ten boats started, and the Mercedes VI finishing first was awarded ten points. On the second day only eight boats started and the winner Vingt-et-Un II, received eight points. The rule is: A boat receives on each day a number of points equal to the number of boats it beat, also one additional point for covering the course.

The Columbia Clubhouse was wide open on race days. You didn't have to be a member in order to be one of the fellows. Of course, if you were a member you signed the club checks, but, if an outsider, U. S. money went. And it worked well, too. There was a deal of socializing, and, the weather being nippy, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Usher and other gentlemen of that ilk permeated things---but in a nice, limited way, mind you.

Under ideal conditions it seems quite probable that Vingt-et-Un II is capable of thirty statute miles an hour. On that thirty-mile journey she was pounded by a thousand waves and was the plaything of their rise and fall. No one can figure the difference between the conditions of September 22 to 25 and the ideal conditions, but, in a one hour's run it is miles.

Harry and Ed Lozier, and their Shooting Star, had the sympathy of the crowd. At no stage of the game did the Shooting Star shoot, much to the disgust of her owners, much to the distress of their friends. it was simply a piece of ill-timed luck. Her simply indecent behavior was matched by the Challenger, whose owners could get no good of her, though she is "a rare un."

On the third day, when the Vingt-et-Un II came tearing down the river, throwing the spray to the winds---a sort of bridal veil, as it were---she was a blood-kindling sight. A murmur of admiration ran through the crowd. it was the kind of applause which means more than the effusive and noisier sort. The idea in each man's mind was: Simply splendid.

Charles L. Seabury was much observed, in a quiet way, by those who knew who he was. he is a ruddy-faced, iron-gray, sturdy man, quite elbowing fifty. Put into the trappings of an admiral, he would pass for one. he has the sailor-fighter's build, the sailor blue eye and an air of "until further orders"---is, in brief, the captain all over.

Those in the know were quietly amused each day by the attendance of former Inspector of Police Alexander S. Williams. Ten years ago the club of that man was a magic symbol before which unruly mobs lapsed, melted, aye, disappeared. Some men strike with the rapier, others pay a mob compliments through the busy end of a gatling. But Captain Williams' Presto Change was a bit of polished locust. After leaving the force, Mr. Williams retired to the ruralitics of Cos Cob, Conn., and became quite a boat fancier. To-day he is a tall, oldish, benign individual. If you were told he were a builder of libraries, and devoted all his time to housing of the orphan, you would believe it instantly. Such is the work old Time. `Tis said he had a big block of stock in a certain boat building concern in New York, but not on Manhattan Island.

Was the course correct? Of course the course was not correct at any stage of the game. But the committee are not to be blame except for the first day. On the first day the stake boat did not arrive at Piermont before Mercedes VI swept up to her and she was compelled to anchor to prevent confusion. Considering the headwind she might have started earlier. On the second day she started early enough, but it was afterwards discovered that the charts from which the course was plotted are wrong, at least certain experts so claimed. When the committee heard this they threw up their hands.

Of all the events held this year, this one had eclat, an atmosphere all its own. Most of the other events of the season were melancholy. The Challenge Cup affair was full of fizz, and the slapping weather did not a little give the thing added zest. When the billows roll, and the whitecaps leap eagerly, yes, defiantly into the air, it puts an edge on.

Many dyed-in-the-wool yachtsmen, old-stagers, were present; but there were also two-score chaps of twenty or so, very nice, very callow, very boaty; also, too, not a few lads of fifteen or thereabouts, very knowing, very yachty. They are the future owners of the crack boats of the 1920 times, when the commodores of the present shall have been mustered out.

At a meeting of the committee in charge of the Challenge Cup Races, held October 4, the matter of protests against Mercedes VI, Macaroni and Mercedes U.S.A. was considered. The protests against the two latter were not allowed, but the rating of the Vanderbilt boat Mercedes VI was raised from 65.70 to 72. This change, however, did not affect the final results.

The Burgess and packard boat Macaroni, owned by C. H. Tangeman, which was damaged by fire during the last day's racing for the Gold Challenge Cup, was not so seriously injured as was at first supposed. The boat was towed to the dock of the Ardsley Club and the fire extinguished. The hull of the Macaroni is badly scorched, but can easily be repaired, and the same is now being done. Mr. Tangeman expects the craft to be in racing condition in about a week's time. It is expected that the Macaroni will be one of the racing fleet in Florida waters during the coming winter.

Challenge Cup Entries, September, 1904







Challenger Smith & Mabley Audubon




Vingt-et-Un II W. S. Kilmer Chippewa Bay



10 m. 17 s.

Speedway C. L. Seabury Columbia



19 m. 20 s.

Mercedes U.S.A. H. L. Bowden Rhode Island



20 m. 5 s.

Macaroni C. H. Tangeman Atlantic



26 m. 55 s.

Mercedes VI W. K. Vanderbilt Jr. American



31 m. 6 s.

Shooting Star H. A. Lozier Jr. Manhasset Bay



31 m. 29 s.

Flip C. D. Holmes Hartford



32 m. 17 s.

Marcirene II J. W. Allison Cape May



56 m. 55 s.

Josephine A. J. Buschmann Jamaica Bay



59 m. 17 s.

Logarithm F. N. Waterman Sachem's Head

(did not start)

Water Lily Frank Seaman Yonkers-Corinthian

(did not start)


*Rating after race raised to 72.00

(Excerpts transcribed from The Motor Boat, Oct. 10, 1904, pp. 5-9. )

*  *  *

Auto-Boat Race For Challenge Cup

For a few minutes, on September 22, it really seemed as though the sport of "auto-boating" ahd at last found itself, and that some exact and definite results, in a measure at least justifying the claims of its adherents, had been obtained. The occasion was the first of a series of three races for the challenge cup of the American Power-Boat Association, in which the new Mercedes VI led the fleet of ten speed launches over a course of 32 nautical miles. When she came down the river alone and crossed the line in the record time of 1:21:30, a cheer went from the pier of the Columbia Yacht Club, and all hands rushed down to the float to congratulate Mr. Vanderbilt as he rounded up, wet and dirty, but perfectly content.

A very simple calculation gave the following results: 23.68 knots -- 27.23 miles.

A little later in the afternoon it was discovered that the markboat had, although a late start, failed to reach the proper turning point off the long pier on the New York shore at Piermont, and had anchored a mile lower down when the leading boat was seen approaching. The figures were accordingly revised as follows: 22.08 knots -- 26.39 miles.

The results for the entire fleet were computed and given out on this basis before it was learned that the markboat had actually anchored at some indefinite point, said to be about 27.5 nautical miles, be it more or less; consequently a final revision was necessary, leaving the record of the winner 20.22 knots? -- 23.25 miles?

The cause of the trouble lay in the delay in securing a launch up the river and mark the turning point of the course, sixteen nautical miles from the Columbia Yacht Club station at the foot of 86th Street, New York, at a point near Ardsley; at the last moment the cabin launch Melissa volunteered, but with the tide against her she was overtaken by the competing boats and compelled to anchor before the first one was near her for rounding.

The match was arranged through a challenge issued by the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club in behalf of H. A. Lozier, owner of the Shooting Star, to the Columbia Yacht Club, now holding the cup through the victory of the Standard last June. The holder willingly waived the right of six months' notice of challenging in order that the cup might be raced for by the best of the 1904 launches. The contest is interesting in that it shows exactly what has been accomplished in the first year of auto-boat racing in America; and also in the lessons which may be learned from the boats themselves.

The defending club selected F. J. Stone, a member to represent it on the special race committee, the challenging club selected F. A. Hill, of the Norwalk Yacht Club, and these gentlemen selected as the third member H. de B. Parsons, of the American Yacht Club. J. H. McIntosh, of the Columbia Yacht Club, acted as measurer. The course was the same as in the first match for the cup last June, the series was arranged to include three races, each competitor to be allowed one point for finishing a race and one for each boat defeated by it, and it was arranged after some discussion that the boats should be started on their handicap times, so that the first one in each day would be the winner, with no calculation of elapsed or corrected time to effect the result.

In regard to the course it may be said that the distance from the prolongation of West 86th Street to the prolongation of the line of the long wharf at Piermont has been considered to be full sixteen nautical miles, but a careful measurement on the Coast Survey chart shows it to be less by a quarter to a half mile, according to the distance from the pier. As in these and previous races the markboat has been anchored more or less below the pier; the course at best is nearer thirty than thirty-two nautical miles.

The fleet of ten competitors was of special interest, from the fact that it represented the sum total of progress in auto-boat designing in 1904. A complete review of the boats must be deferred to a future date, and they may be roughly grouped in three classes -- closed racing boats, open racing boats, and cruisers.

The first class included Challenger, Vingt-et-Un II, Mercedes VI, Mercedes U.S.A., and Macaroni, were arranged solely with a view to racing, having room for the helmsman and mechanic only, the motor in particular and all deck openings being covered by stout wood or metal hatches. The second class, including Shooting Star, Speedway and Flip, were arranged with long, open cockpits as in the ordinary pleasure launch, with more or less improvised and inadequate protection to the motor and the cockpit in the form of canvass covers. The third class, included Marcerine II, a cruiser of staunch model and the fixed canopy top, and Josephine, an open pleasure launch with large cockpit. On the first day, with smooth water, all classes were on an equality; on the second day the boats, with no adequate protection against flying water, were drowned out; on the third day their jury covered, hastily rigged over night, afforded a certain amount of protection and lessened the labor of bailing.

The first day was clear, but quite cool, with wind from Northwest. The start was made at 3:05, after an hour's delay; it was low water off the starting line at 1:03 and at the turn at 2:10, so that the young flood was with the boats on the run up river. With the starting gun Josephine got away, followed two minutes later by Marcerine II, and then after a longer interval by the faster boats. Mercedes VI made a quick turn, even allowing for the doubtful distance, and easily led her rivals.

On Friday, there was a strong Southeast wind, and though it was but a little after low water when the first boat started at 2:07:22, the ebb was still running strong to windward up the river, kicking up a very bad sea. The tossing disarranged the machinery and piping of several boats and they were unable to finish. Vingt-et-Un II won very easily, and both Mercedes U.S.A. and Flip made good time under the conditions. Speedway shipped a good deal of water and lost time bailing; Shooting Star, Macaroni and Mercedes VI withdrew. Josephine lost her propeller by fouling a mooring just before the start.

There was plenty of wind on Saturday, still against the ebb for a good part of the race. Vingt-et-Un covered the course in good time, easily breasting the seas; Shooting Star and Mercedes VI were in trouble before the start with their machinery and soon withdrew. Macaroni, steered by Mr. William Wallace, of Boston, caught fire when hear the turn and her crew were taken off by an outside launch, the burned hull being towed to Ardsley. Vingt-et-Un II finished the series with 25 points to her credit, winning the cup; that she won on merit will hardly be disputed by those who was her in the rough water of the second and third days.

We understand that the Thousand Islands Yacht Club has issued a challenge to the Chippewa Bay Yacht Club for next season, naming the Standard as their challenger.

(Transcribed from The Rudder, November, 1904, pp. 620-621. )

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

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