1904 Manhasset Bay Yacht Club Decoration Day Regatta


Annual Race Of The American Power-Boat Association

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

The American Power-Boat Association held its annual race at Manhasset Bay, Long Island, on May 30th. The attendance of actual starters was small. Many of those who intended to go in did not have their boats in commission and some who did had engines that were not in condition for a long run. Others had defective starting or reversing gears that gave trouble. There are at least fifty boats of the high-speed type in or near New York that should have been finished in time to enter the race, but owing to the engine and boat builders being so far behind their work many were only half finished, or the engines were not ready for the hulls. The boats that did race were interesting to those who attended in a fleet of all sized yachts, and the fleet made quite a pleasant spectacle, lines up on both sides of the course.

Of the twelve boats to enter the race three were very fast, and made a pretty picture as they scooted around among the other craft before the start. Notable among them was the Japansky, a new creation, built by the Gas Engine & Power Co. This boat has an engine of 41 h.p., and is capable of a speed of 20 miles an hour, or better. She makes but little disturbance in the water, showing that the design is exceptionally fine. The Fiat II, built by the Electric Launch Company, was the showiest boat, and was also fast. She is equipped with a 35 h.p. engine of Italian make. The Shooting Star, built by the Lozier Motor Company, showed about the same speed as the Fiat, but as she had only been in the water a few days before the race, and the engine being new, it was not expected that she would go over the course, but her owner showed a good sporting spirit by putting her in. She started, and made a splendid showing until the strut bearing bound and threw her out.

The Panhard, built by the Electric Launch Company for Mr. A. Massanet, contained a Panhard & Levassor 18 h.p. auto engine. She went over the course as steady as a clock, and at a very creditable speed.

Classes R and S are the new Auto-Boat Classes, and came under the new A.P.B.A. rules, as shown in the 1904 Year Book. Classes A, I, C and K are the same as last year.

Japansky, Fiat II, Shooting Star and the Panhard were the only boats in the race that measured up in the Auto-Boat Classes under the rules, and all these proved the rule to be a good one. The Fiat protested the measurement of the Japansky, claiming the horse-power was underrated, as the new rule requires that the maximum number of revolutions be taken.

Although many of the spectators were interested in the auto-boats, most of the yachtsmen present have their attentions centered on the ordinary power-boats, and were generally disappointed because so few entered. The bay was full of these craft that could just as well have entered and raced, but they seemed to fear being beaten, seemingly forgetting that the rules favor the cruising type of boat. This was demonstrated by the Allure, which had a 59 h.p. engine, rating only 50.9, and the Queen Bess with 25 h.p., rating at 34.6.

The course for the larger boats was 19 nautical miles, and for the smaller 9 nautical miles. Both courses took the racers out in Long Island Sound. Luckily, there was little wind and no sea, but the auto-boats were drenched with spray as it was.

It will be interesting to see how these frail high-speed machines will behave in a seaway. Their speed is so great that they will not rise to an ordinary wave, but cut through it.

Several auto-boats present did not enter the race. Among these was the Hard Boiled Egg, owned by Mr. W. K. Vanderbilt, Jr., which had her rudder twisted by an accident. The Standard, owned by the Standard Motor Company, did not start, as she had no competitor. She was given a run over THE RUDDER measured mile, covering the distance at the rate of 24 statute miles, this is with 12 persons on board.

(Transcribed from The Rudder, July, 1904, p. 413. )

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


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Leslie Field, 1999