1904 Larchmont "Gold Cup"

More Auto Boat Races

Big Event To-Day at Larchmont for $2,000 Gold Cup

New Records May Be Made

Plans Under Way for Another Challenge Trophy Contest in September

Motor Boat Endurance Race

Auto-boat racing, which resulted in such excellent records last week, even if the entries in the Challenge Cup of the American Power Boat Association were few, will be continued to-day with what is expected to be one of the big races of the season. This is the match event for the best two of three races over a thirty-mile course between the latest boats of the Smith & Mabley and Hollander & Tangeman firms. The first race will be run off over the triangular course, which has been accurately marked off for the event, at the Larchmont Yacht Club. The first race will be started at 11 o'clock, and there is a possibility that a second race may be finished to-day. The third race, if necessary, will be held here to-morrow.

The firms whose boats will compete made all the arrangements for the contest last Fall and have presented a two-thousand-dollar gold cup, which after these races will be open only for amateur competition. The steamboat William Storie has been chartered by the competitors to carry their friends and guests to Larchmont. The boat will leave the Battery at 8:30 o'clock, and is due to arrive at Larchmont about 10:30. The members of the Automobile Club of America have been invited to attend the race, going up from this city on the boat.

The races last week at the Columbia Yacht Club for the Challenge Cup were productive of such unlooked-for speed, to many critics of auto boat possibilities, thus early in the season that there is considerable speculation as to whether the rival boats to-day will beat the fast time made by the Standard last week. The Standard made a grand average in all her races of 20.17 knots an hour, equal to 23.19 statute miles, the best time so far as is known, that has ever been done by an auto boat in competition. Many critics have been free to state that neither boat to-day will beat that time. The Hollander & Tangeman boat in the Fiat III, while the Smith & Mabley boat is the Vingt-et-Un. The latter is an entirely American product, while the Fiat is equipped with an Italian motor.

The two-thousand-dollar gold cup is probably the handsomest and most artistic trophy ever offered for auto boat contests.. Although the initial race for the cup will be between the boats representing manufacturers of automobiles and motor boats, the unique feature about the trophy is that it is the only one thus far offered for power boat competition in this country which will be strictly limited hereafter to amateurs.

The conditions in the deed of gift which gives the cup in the keeping of the Larchmont Yacht Club stipulate that neither of the competing firms shall have its name inscribed upon the trophy, as showing the result of the coming race. After the contest to-day the cup may be challenged for by amateur owners of auto boats, but dealers engaged in manufacture or sale of automobile boats will never be eligible to challenge.

Several of the fastest auto boats that have appeared in recent races will be seen next Saturday in the special events arranged by the American Yacht Club to be sailed, or rather run, off Milton Point, Rye, N.Y. Besides the usual speed events there will be an endurance contest starting at 10 o'clock, speed to count 50 per cent, and the performance of the boat and engine to count 50 per cent.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, June 27, 1904, p. 8. )

[The magic word "amateur" would be as much of a quarrelsome point among boat racers as would the rating rules and time handicapping for the next several years. The spirit of Corinthianism was much admired, just as it was in the Olympic Games - but the boat owners wanted to win very badly and the first way to circumvent the amateur status of the boat entrant (owner) was to hire drivers who were not considered professional boat racers, but they did happen to be professional auto racers. The debate would continue for the next ten years. - - GWC ]

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Auto Boat Race Fizzle [Day 1]

Competing Craft in Gold Cup Ran Out of Fuel

Vingt-et-Un Was the Winner

Victor Drifted Over the Finish Line While the Fiat III Was Towed Into Harbor

No records were broken yesterday in the first race of the Smith & Mabley and Hollander & Tangeman auto boats for the two-thousand-dollar gold cup at the Larchmont Yacht Club. There was, however, one decidedly unusual feature, and that was the forgetfulness of C.H. Tangeman, who ran the boat of his firm, to carry enough gasoline along to complete the race. Consequently, the free gift of the first race could not very well be refused by the second boat, and all that the Smith & Mabley boat had to do was to run over the course in go-as-you-please time. As it was, the winning craft narrowly escaped a similar fate by running out of gasoline just before the finish line was reached, but had sufficient power to drift over, finishing the thirty-mile course in the elapsed time of 1:58:40.

To sat that the result of this first event for the trophy of which so much has been said was disappointing would be a mild statement from the viewpoint of those who went up to Larchmont to see a spirited contest of two of the most modern and supposedly fastest auto boats that have been turned out in this country. The Fiat III, which is the name of the Hollander & Tangeman boat, is equipped with an Italian motor showing, after the most careful test, 66.25 horse power. The hull was designed by H.R. Sutphen of this city, and the boat was built at Bayonne.

The Vingt-et-Un is the name of the Smith & Mabley boat. Both hull and motor were made in the factory of the company in this city. The boat shows a horse power of 59.7. It is 38 feet 10 inches long, while the Fiat III, is 39 feet 11 inches long. The rating of the latter, under the rules of the American Power Boat Association, is 85.6 while the Vingt-et-Un is 84. On the thirty mile course the Fiat III allows the Vingt-et-Un 1:39.

The companies chartered a special boat which carried a host of friends and auto boat enthusiasts from the city to the Larchmont Club. The race was scheduled to start at 10 o'clock, but numerous delays, culminating with defects in the Vingt-et-Un engines, necessitating nearly two hours of repairing, caused a long delay so that the starting gun was not fired until 2:35. For Hamilton managed the Vingt-et-Un while C.H. Tangeman steered the Fiat. W. Proctor Smith practically admitted defeat at the start, as his engines were sparking badly to-day. The Fiat made an excellent start, crossing the line 11 seconds after the gun, and the Vingt-et-Un went over 30 seconds after.

At the first mile it was easy to see that the Vingt-et-Un was picking up. The boats were soon out of view, but as they came down to the last stretch of the triangle the Fiat was not to be seen. The special steamboat went after her and picked her up off Matinicock Point, out of fuel. She had gone about eight miles, and was then towed home. It was learned that Mr. Tangeman had taken out eighteen gallons of gasoline in the morning, but as he had spent the greater part of the day in running back and forth in the harbor, his supply had run low, and he rashly declined to take the suggestion that he fill up previous to the start. It would make uncomfortable reading to cite the remarks that were used to express the different views of a competitor in a Gold Cup race failing to carry sufficient gasoline.

The Vingt-et-Un, which had about twenty gallons of gasoline, then went over the course, which was twice over a fifteen-mile course, finishing the first round in 1:04:07. It was after dark before the enthusiasts got back to the city. The winning boat's time of 1:58:40 for the thirty miles gives her an average of 15.19 knots an hour, or a trifle less than 17 1/2 statute miles, far below anything approaching a record. Better things are promised to-day. The contest is for the best two out of three races, and the committee decided to run off the two races, provided both are necessary, to-day.

Vingt-et-Un's average time per knot was 3:57.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, June 28, 1904, p. 7. )

[Pride goeth before a fall - - GWC ]

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Vingt-et-Un Wins Match [Day 2]

Defeats Fiat III in Auto Boat Race on Long Island Sound Over Course of 30 Knots

Winner Goes at a Rate of 22.45 Miles and Hour and Wins by More Than Twenty Minutes

The second match auto boat race between Smith & Mabley's Vingt-et-Un and Hollander & Tangeman's Fiat III, under the auspices of the Larchmont Yacht Club, was decided yesterday over a course of thirty nautical miles on Long Island Sound, starting near Larchmont Harbor, and was won by Vingt-et-Un, which covered the distance in 1:32:50 elapsed time and 1:32:19 actual time. This is an average speed of 19.46 knots, or 22.45 miles an hour, the 30 nautical miles being equivalent to 34.55 statute miles. The elapsed time of the Fiat III was 1:53:44, and the actual time 1:53:39. Only the elapsed times were counted, and the Vingt-et-Un received an allowance of 1:40 from the Fiat III, so that the Smith & Mabley boat won by 20:54 actual time and 22:34 corrected time. It was pointed out as a coincidence that Vingt-et-Un is French for twenty-one, and that the Vingt-et-Un won the race by only six seconds less than twenty-one minutes. As the Vingt-et-Un also won the first race in the series on Monday, the question of the respective ability of the two boats is now definitely settled.

The Vingt-et-Un, which is rated 50.7 horse power, is one of the two boats which Smith & Mabley will send to England on the Minnetonka next Saturday to compete in the international automobile boat race for the Harmsworth Trophy, the other being of 150 horse power. A.D. Smith of Smith & Mabley will sail to-day to sail the boats in their races abroad. The Vingt-et-Un is 38 feet 10 inches in length, while the Fiat III is 39 feet 11 inches, and has 66.25 horse power.

While the series in which yesterday's race was the second and decisive contest was nominally for the amateur autoboat gold challenge trophy, it was not actually so, and will not count as a competition for that trophy. Neither will the name of the Vingt-et-Un be marked upon the cup nor will that boat be entitled to defend the cup in case a challenge shall be made for it. The trophy, which is a gold cup twenty inches high, was given last month by the two firms which competed in yesterday's race, to the Larchmont Yacht Club for amateur competition as a perpetual challenge trophy, and as the givers of the trophy are both engaged in the manufacture of motors they are both ineligible to contest for it, under the terms of their deed of gift. It was stipulated, however, that they should have the privilege of engaging in a match contest under the auspices of the Larchmont Yacht Club.

It was planned to start yesterday's race in the morning, but a strong easterly wind and a high sea made necessary a postponement until the afternoon, and it was not until 4:55 P.M. that the preparatory signal was fired.

Both yachts were then circling near the starting line, which was between two stake-boats anchored in front of the Larchmont Clubhouse. There was a lapse of five minutes between the preparatory and the starting signals, but ten seconds before the starting gun was fired, the Fiat III headed toward the line, crossing only five seconds after the signal, or at 5:00:05. The Vingt-et-Un was slower in getting over the line, crossing at 5:00:19, but went over at a higher speed than the Fiat III, and rapidly went to the front. Both went at a terrific speed, throwing clouds of spray to either side and above them, and were out of sight in less than ten minutes, though the sound of their engines could be heard for some time after they had disappeared.

The course was from the starting point almost due east fifteen nautical miles to the Lump Buoy, a mile and a half north of Eaton's Neck Light, and return, making a total distance of thirty nautical miles, or 34.55 statute miles. A tug had been sent to the turning point in the morning to take the times at the turn, but on account of the lateness of the start the officials upon it had concluded that the race was abandoned for the day and had started back to Larchmont, so that no time was taken there.

There was a light breeze from the east, and the tide was just at the ebb when the start was made, so that the boats had slack water and a light head wind going and both wind and tide with them returning. The rough sea of the morning had subsided to a long but not heavy swell. The Vingt-et-Un was steered by C.M. Hamilton, with Edward Frangquist as engineer, while the Fiat III was steered by C.H. Tangeman, with Autonior Zonderi as engineer.

The watchers at the finish line had a wait of almost an hour and a half before the noise of the engines, sounding exactly like the distant discharge of a rapid-fire gun, was heard, and it was several minutes later before the approaching boat could be located even with a pair of strong marine glasses. As soon as it could be seen plainly its white sides proclaimed it to be the Vingt-et-Un. It crossed the winner at 6:32:50. The Fiat III finished almost twenty-one minutes later, at 6:53:44.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, June 29, 1904, p. 5. )

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"Vingt-et-Un" --- "Fiat III"

After months of preparation, the match race between Smith & Mabley's Vingt-et-Un and Hollander & Tangeman's Fiat III, proved decidedly unsatisfactory from the spectators' point of view. The large steamer Wm. Storie, with guests of the two contestants, arrived off Larchmont Harbor at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 27th, and after a most tedious wait the two boats appeared about two o'clock, and entertained the spectators with bursts of speed and other stage effects, intended to impress their respective merits upon the assembled few, who had come to see a boat race and not a succession of grand-stand plays before the start. The Fiat III, when at speed, appeared to make a great fuss in getting through the water, her bow wave being very large, and it seemed as if the resulting resistance must be great.

So, when the starting signal was given at 2:35 p.m. and the Fiat III crossed the line nineteen seconds in advance of the Vingt-et-Un, the ease with which the latter overhauled her adversary was a surprise to but very few. Before eight miles of the course were covered they were practically on even terms, and then the most astonishing incident occurred. Mr. C. H. Tangeman, who has in the past proven himself no inexperienced novice in the racing game, had gone into the race with but eight gallons of gasolene in the fuel tank, and this was utterly exhausted before ten miles of the course had been covered, and the Fiat III Lay helpless on the Sound --- a defeated contestant, while the Vingt-et-Un slowly navigated the course, only to run out of fuel herself within a hundred yards of the finish, across which, favored by wind and tide, she slowly drifted.

It was then announced that the second race would be run the following day at 10 a.m., and the couple of hundred disgusted spectators quickly scattered, mentally vowing not to be caught that way again if they could help it. And they were not, for on the following day the Storie brought up but a dozen passengers, and these, as it proved afterwards, were sorry they had come, for they saw no race. All day machinists and carpenters were at work upon the two boats, and it looked as if machinery and hull were being entirely rebuilt in both instances. It was three in the afternoon before either boat could be got under way, and then, after a few trial trips around the starting line, the weather proved too rough for these light craft, and it was announced that there would be no race. The steamer, with her dozen passengers, returned to New York, and all but a handful of spectators left the clubhouse disgusted with power boat races generally, and the Fiat--Vingt-et- Un race in particular.

At five o'clock, the sea having gone down considerably, the powers-that-be decided to hold the race, and the boats were sent off over the fifteen-mile straight-away course and return, making thirty nautical knots in all. The Vingt-et-Un quickly took the lead, and was never headed. The Gold Cup was therefore awarded to Messrs. Smith & Mabley, and it will remain in the custody of the Larchmont Yacht Club as a perpetual challenge trophy, open to all owners of auto boats who are not commercially engaged in the business of building and selling either boats or motors. It is to be hoped future contests for the valuable trophy will bring together the fastest boats on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, and that the competition may be more interesting, from the spectators' point of view, than did this initial performance.

(Transcribed from The Motor Boat, 10 July 1904, 4-5. )

(See also Race by Rival Firms [1904])

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

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