1904 Manhasset Bay Yacht Club Decoration Day Regatta

Japansky Wins "Auto" Boat Race in Fast Time
W. K. Vanderbilt Saves His Hard Boiled Egg From Collision, But Puts Her Out of Race

Fast Time by Auto Boats
The First American Auto-Boat Contest
Auto Boat Measurement
Annual Race of the American Power-Boat Association
Japansky Wins "Auto" Boat Race in Fast Time

F. H. Waldorf's automobile racing launch Japansky, driven by a forty horsepower engine, carried off the first prize in the first motor boat race of the season yesterday, over a course of nineteen and a half miles, with a turn, on Long Island Sound. The Japansky not only defeated with ease the other three boats with automobile engines — the Fiat, the Shooting Star and the Panhard — but she showed remarkable speed by covering the nineteen and a half miles in 1 hour 6 minutes 29 seconds, which is at the rate of 17.60 knots an hour, or 20.22 miles an hour.

Only by the quick exercise of his judgment in an emergency did W. K. Vanderbilt Jr. save his new launch, which he has named the Hard Boiled Egg, "because she can't be beaten," he says, from destruction by collision with the Panhard just before the start. M. Roguet, standing in the little cockpit of the Panhard, where he steers and manages the engine, was speeding the boat. He could speak no English, and had a man named Johnson at the stern who signalled to him what course to steer by means of strings fastened to Roguet's arms.

Roguet suddenly tried to cut across the bows of the Vanderbilt boat, which was also speeding. A collision seemed inevitable. Mr. Vanderbilt jammed his wheel hard over just in time to avoid the accident. In doing so at such great speed the rudder was bent so badly that the boat was unable to start in the race, much to her owner's disappointment, for he expected she would show great speed.

The Shooting Star gave the Fiat a good race. She was second boat in the class until her motor became deranged and she had to retire.

The course for the automobile racing boats and for Classes A, B, C, H, I and J, was 19 miles, starting from Manhasset Bay on a north-northwestern course, passing Gangway buoy; thence northeast by north to and around the red spar buoy off the Scotch Caps (Milton Point); thence southeast by east to and around the black spar buoy off Old Hen; thence southwest by west to gangway buoy, leaving these two to port, and thence to the finish line in Manhasset Bay.

The small class boats went first to Gangway buoy, thence northeast by east to the red spar buoy northeast of Execution Light; thence around the north and west side of the Execution Light to the finish in Manhasset Bay. This course was 9 miles.

There was a fresh breeze from the southward when the start was made, but the water remained fairly smooth from start to finish. Coming to the westward after rounding Matinicock buoy, crossing the entrance to Hempstead Bay, the boats encountered a little rough water, but not enough to retard their speed to any extent.

William K. Vanderbilt Jr.'s fast turbine steam yacht Tarantula, J. Rodgers Maxwell’s Celt, Archibald Watt's American, the Levanter, the Belle Hazen, the Carmen, the Adelaide, several schooner yachts and any number of small launches and auxiliary boats were strung out along the courses with parties of yachtsmen and their guests watching the little boats go at their top speed.

(Transcribed from the New York Daily Tribune, May 31, 1904, p. 4. )

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

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