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


New Speed Record by Automobile Boats
W.K. Vanderbilt, Jr. Steers His Mercedes VI to Victory, Leads for Challenge Cup
Fastest Actual Time Made by Vingt-Et-Un, Running More Than Twenty Seven Statute Miles an Hour

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

William K. Vanderbilt Jr., with his newest automobile boat, the Mercedes VI, won the first of the series of three races, yesterday, for the Challenge Cup offered for auto-boat competition through the American Power Boat Association. The race took place off the Columbia Yacht Club, foot of Eighty-sixth Street and the North River, and was run over a thirty-knot course going up the Hudson to a point near Piermont and return.

Mr. Vanderbilt's victory was only one of the interesting incidents of the race, for all auto-boat speed records were broken in so far as they have ever been made in this country. Mr. Vanderbilt's boat made the high record of 25.397 statute miles per hour, but this was beaten by the Vingt-et-Un II, steered by C. M. Hamilton, which made the unlooked-for average of 27.236 statute miles per hour. The Speedway also made over 25 miles per hour.

The race was run on the handicap allowances of the American Power Boat Association based on the horse power and the length of the boat. The Vingt-et-Un has twenty more horse power than Mr. Vanderbilt's craft, and had to allow the Mercedes VI, over twenty minutes. She only picked up a trifle over five minutes, he elapsed time for the thirty knots being 1:15:57, while the Mercedes VI did 1:21:30.

As a motor boat contest it was the largest and most satisfactory ever held in this country. Ten of the fastest boats that have been built started, and all but one finished, that exception being the Challenger, which raced for the Harmsworth Cup in England. Proctor Smith was at the wheel, but before the start a pin dropped out of the thrust bearing and after going over the line the big 119 horse power Challenger turned back. The boats with their rating in order of handicap allowances were:

Boats and Yacht Club

Horse Power Water Line Feet Rating
Josephine, Jamaica Bay 19.08 29.11 33.40
Marcerine II, Cape May 34.40 34.50 54.25
Flip, Hartford 38.00 34.18 65.10
Shooting Star, Manhasset 24.07 37.08 65.55
Mercedes VI, American 39.52 39.97 65.70
Macaroni, Atlantic 40.38 31.11 68.10
Mercedes U.S.A., Rhode Island 42.20 31.11 72.30
Speedway, Columbia 64.45 39.35 73.84
Vingt-et-Un II, Chippewa Bay 59.72 38.10 79.35
Challenger, Audubon 119.44 39.62 88.35

The boats started in the order as given above. Vanderbilt, steering his own boat, was the fifth away, but he lost only twelve seconds in getting across the line after the gun was fired. An engineer was with him. The boat fairly flew up the river, throwing the water from her bow in great waves of spray, and her speed made her a popular favorite at once. The Macaroni, the new boat recently built in Boston and equipped with an Italian motor, followed Vanderbilt about four minutes after. C. H. Tangeman was at the wheel, and she dashed by the clubhouse at a fast pace. The Speedway, that was partially blown up a few days ago when her owner, C. L. Seabury, was out on the Hudson for a trial spin, had been perfectly repaired, and as the sole representative of the Columbia Club was regarded with favor by the members of the home organization.

After the start of the Challenger, the last boat away, and her immediate return, there was a wait of less than an hour, when a swiftly moving form was suddenly seen well up the river rapidly approaching the club. The committeemen hastily got their watches out, and the gun was made ready to go off as soon as the first boat to finish crossed the line.

"It's Vanderbilt's boat." shouted the crowd of enthusiasts as they pressed forward on the dock to greet the winner. Vanderbilt's slim form was faintly made out standing at the wheel with a cloud of spray flying in front of him. On came the puffing automobile craft, and as he came around to the float the clubmen rushed down to give him a hearty ovation. Vanderbilt naturally was pleased with his victory, but said he went half a mile above the stake boat where the homeward turn was made before discovering his mistake. The stake boat failed to anchor at the proper mark, thus making a thirty-knot course, instead of the prescribed one of thirty-two knots.

The Macaroni was the second boat to finish. Then came the Speedway, immediately followed by H. L. Bowden's Unites States Mercedes. The Vingt-et-Un II, which was the ninth boat to start, finished fifth. The summary:

Boat Owner Start Finish Elapsed Time
Mercedes VI W. K. Vanderbilt Jr 3:33:05 4:54:35 1:21:30
Macaroni C. H. Tangeman 3:37:22 5:05:43 1:28:21
Speedway C. L. Seabury 3:44:57 5:07:10 1:22:13
Mercedes U.S.A. H. L. Bowden 3:44:12 5:08:54 1:24:42
Vingt-et-Un II W. S. Kilmer 3:54:00 5:09:57 1:15:57
Shooting Star H. A. Lozier 3:32:48 5:13:07 1:40:19
Flip C. D. Holmes 3:32:00 5:19:26 1:47:26
Josephine A. T. Buschmann 3:05:00 5:25:25 2:20:25
Marcerine II T. W. Allison 3:07:22 5:31:27 2:24:05
Challenger Smith & Mabley 4:04:17 Did not finish

The second race will be held to-day over the same course. By the point system of allowing 1 point for each boat completing the course and one point for every defeated boat, the Mercedes VI scores 10 points, the Macaroni 9, and the others one point less in rotation, the Challenger losing her point for not finishing.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, Sep. 23, 1904 )

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


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