1905 Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo, Monaco, April 1905

Monaco Motor-Boat Racing

The Monaco motor-launch meeting which has been organized by the International Sporting Club at Monaco is the chief fixture at the Continental motor-boat racing season. The racing starts on Sunday and continues day by day for the remainder of the week. Over 100 entries have been received, but owing to the founders' strike many of the boats have not been completed in time, so that the number of starters will be considerably less. The competitors are divided into five classes--racers, cruisers, motor-yachts, pinnaces and fishing vessels. In the racing division there will be three series, the first for boats under 26ft. in length, the second for boats over 26ft. and under 40ft., and the third for boats over 40ft. and under 60ft. The cruiser class is sub-divided into four series, the first being for boats under 20ft., the second for boats between 20ft. and 26ft., the third for boats between 26ft. and 40ft., and the fourth for boats over 40ft. and not exceeding 60ft. in length and upwards.

The course over which the boats will race has this year been considerably improved, being a pentagon with unequal sides as compared with a regular hexagon a year ago. The advantages gained by the replanning of the course are considerable, the racing being brought closer to the shore, and the starting point being near the harbour mouth, is in full view of those spectators who are unable to go afloat. The first leg is 1,852 metres in length, the second 16,00 metres, the third 4,648 metres, so that with the fourth and fifth sides of 2,000 metres and 3,000 metres respectively, the total distance to be is 12 1/2 kilometres.

In the first class of racing boats, those under 26ft. in length, the entries do not contain the name of a single British boat, but the Continental engineers who have entered boats include all the leading houses, such as Gordon-Brille, F.I.A.T., Panhard and Levassor, Renault, De Dietrich, Richard Brasier, and Hotchkiss, besides a rumor of lesser known firms.

The British boats are in the second series for racers which includes boats between 26ft. and 40ft. These are Napier, Napier II, and Baby II. They will have to meet challenges by most of the firms mentioned above as well as Mercedes and Charron, Girardot and Voigt. Napier was built by the Saunders Patent Launch Building Syndicate at Cowes, and is 39ft. 10in. in length, with a beam of 4ft. 6in., and is fitted with an 80-h.p. Napier engine. The great point about her is the exceeding lightness of her construction, her whole weight complete with the engine installed being a little under one ton. In designing racing craft great difficulties have always been experienced with small boats running at high speed, the chief being to get the propeller properly immersed without great disturbance of water and with as little loss of power as possible. In the Saunders Napier boat the shaft is practically parallel to the water line, thus giving a straight forward direct drive, while the base of the engine and the greatest part of the weight of the machinery are at and under the water line. This, of course, gives the boat greater stability and also considerably to her steering qualities and seaworthiness. Running at her top speed Napier creates practically no wave and to all appearances seems to be an ideal craft. She is built with two water-tight compartments, one forward and one aft. Napier II is built of special steel, 40ft. in length with 5ft. beam, and is constructed unlike the ordinary boat, for it has its frame fore and aft, and not athwartships, as is usually the case. She is fitted with twin screws driven by two sets of 4-cylinder Napier marine engines which have suffered some very rough usage during the many severe trials the boat has undergone, but have never failed to work satisfactorily. On one of her trials on the Thames before she was shipped to the Riviera, Napier II, which was built by Yarrow and Co., made a mean speed of 26.008 knots, equal to 29.925 land miles per hour, or 49.610 kilometres, and that, too, despite the fact that half a gale of wind was blowing at the time. These figures were certified as being correct by Mr. H. J. Swindley, the senior official honorary time-keeper of the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland. Baby II, which was designed by Mr. P. Shepherd for Messrs. J. W. Brooke and Co. Limited, of Lowescroft, is unfortunately only 30ft. in length, just too big for the 26ft. class and a long way too small for the 40-footers. She is not fitted with the powerful machinery which was originally contemplated, but with 35-h.p. Brooke engines, having a bore of 5 1/2in. by a stroke of 6in. Before leaving Lowescroft she developed a speed of 16 knots, but it is anticipated that when a more suitable propeller is installed this speed will be increased to at least 20 knots. As she is a remarkably good sea boat her chances would be considerably improved by bad weather. One of the French boats in this class, C.G.V., is from the board of an English designer--Mr. J. A. Smith, secretary of the Marine Motor Association, although built and engined in France.

Several of the French boats which will compete in the 40ft. class have accomplished very good performances in trials. Palaisoto I, a 39ft. 9in. boat is fitted with a 180-h.p. Panhard-Levassor motor, and on her first spin, it is said, achieved a speed of 49 kilometres despite the fact that she was entirely an untried boat. This rate is equal to over 27 knots or slightly faster than the above-noted speed of Napier II. Still, it must be remembered that the last-mentioned has done all her trials in tidal waters more or less, broken, whereas Palaisoto's performance took place on the practically tideless waters of the Seine. The lines of the Palaisoto, so far as her under-water body is concerned, are very much like those of Tellier's fastest boat of last year, Hotchkiss, but she has a longer though not less powerful looking entrance, and is spread out wider aft. She leaves very little wash when driven at full speed.

It is in the third series of racers over 40ft. and not exceeding 60ft. that the giants, in power at least, will be seen. Here the entries are--Pi-ouitt IV, 49ft. 9in., with a Turcat-Mery engine; Le Dubonnet, 55ft. 9in., and Delahaye-Trident, 49ft., with Delahaye motors; Grand-Trefle, 40ft. 9in., engined by Richard Brasier; Dietrich V, 48ft. 9in., fitted with a De Dietrich motor; and Panhard-Levassor, 41ft. 6in., with engines by the makers of the same name.

(Transcribed from the London Times, April 8, 1905, p. 11)

*  *  *

MONACO, April 11.

Racing was resumed to-day in spite of the rain, which at times fell heavily. At 10:40 o'clock a start was made in the 100 kilometres race for racers in the eight to 12 metres classes. The following completed the course:

Finish Boat Driver Time
1 Napier II S.F. Edge 1h. 5min. 54sec.
2 Napier I S.F. Edge 1h. 26min. 28sec.
3 C.G.V. C. Girardot and Voigt 2h. 0min. 28sec.
4 Suzon Hotchkiss Legru and Leblon 3h. 2min. 21sec.
5 Baby II   3h. 35min. 25sec.
DNF Palaisoto I Neubauer and Farman  
DNF Mercedes-Charley C. L. Charley  
DNF La Turquoise Mme. C. du Gast  

The 52 kilometres race for cruisers in the 6m. 50 and eight metres classes started at 9:40. Result:

1 Excelsior VII Celle-Picker-Moccand 11h. 50min. 51sec.
2 Nogentais Caillois 12h. 7min. 59sec.
3 Bigort Breton  
4 Delahaye VI Delahaye and de Cesti 12h. 11min. 59sec.
5 Titan III Delahaye and Pitre 12h. 26min. 58sec.
6 Arion IV Fayand 12h. 30min. 30sec

The 100 kilometres for racers under eight metres started at 1:35 and resulted as follows:

1 La Rapiere R. Lemaire 4h. 1min. 30sec
2 Billancourt Renault Freres & Pitre 4h. 21min. 20sec
3 Antoinette I Levavasseur 4h. 22min. 34sec.
4 Palaisoto II Neubauer and Farman 4h. 28min. 25sec.

(Transcribed from the London Times, April 12, 1905, p. 12. )

*  *  *


The chief event of to-day's racing was the contest in the largest classes of the racing division---namely, for boats between 40ft. and 60ft. Originally six vessels had been entered, but only three figured on the program---Pi-ouit IV, fitted with Turcat-Mery motors: Le Dubonnet, fitted with a Delahaye motor; and Panhard-Levassor, fitted with a Panhard motor. The latter could not be got into racing order, and so the contest resolved itself into a match between Pi-ouit IV and Le Dubonnet. Pi-ouit IV depended upon two 80-horse power motors, while Le Dubonnet relied upon a great 300-horse power Delahaye motor. In an informal trial a few weeks ago Le Dubonnet gave a most excellent account of herself; but when it came to actual racing the lesson which these contests has already pointed out was again emphasized, and the amazingly-powered boat had to give way to the vessel propelled by engines more in keeping with the size of the craft. The course was 100 kilometers, the same as that traversed on Tuesday, when the British boats swept all before them. This enables one or two interesting comparisons to be made, and throws the performance of the Napier boats into greater prominence than ever. Napier II completed the course in 2hrs. 25min. 54sec., but it took Pi-ouit IV 3hrs. 10min. 53sec. to cover the same distance, and this, too, in conditions, if anything, more favourable to fast travelling, as the sea was smoother. Napier's quickest round of 12 1/2 kilometres was covered in 14min. 28sec., while the fastest lap completed by Pi-ouit IV was a shade over 22min. Le Dubonnet's behaviour was most disappointing to her owner, who anticipated a record performance, instead of which she finished over 37min. behind her smaller rival. She broke down in the third round, and could not be set going again for over half an hour, but at no time in the race did her motor work satisfactorily.

A start was made at 10:30, and for the first round the pair kept in fairly close company.

Le Dubonnet then gradually drew ahead and finished the second round with an advantage of over six minutes. The came Le Dubonnet's breakdown, and the remainder of the race was an uninteresting procession. Finishing times:---





Pi-ouit IV




Le Dubonnet




An hour before the start of the big boats seven cruisers of under 12 metres were sent along the coast for a race of about 60 kilometres. The starters were F.I.A.T., owned by the Fabrica Italiana Automobili, Turin; Fefe, owned by M. Rumebe; Berliet, owned by M. Berliet; Tetu, owned by M. A. Jean; Elise, owned by M. Alex Burton; and Delahaye, owned by M. Normand. The race resulted in an easy win for the Italian boat. Finishing times:---

























Chantlers D'Antibes IV









The Italian boat's performance was a very good one. So far the French builders have been very unfortunate in the cruiser classes, as the winner of Tuesday's cruiser race, Excelsior, is of Swiss construction. True, Joliette managed to ride through the storm of Sunday and win; but her slowness was in a way responsible, as she was not up in time to catch the full weight of every squall which drove the fleet to seek shelter.

— Our Correspondent

[Transcribed from the London Times, April 13, 1905, p. 12. ]

{This is the earliest report I have found which expresses disappointment at a race that turned into a "procession" or a "parade." - GWC}

*  *  *


The day comprised only two events, the chief interest centering in the preparations being made by the larger boats for tomorrow's race of 200 kilometres for the Championship of the Sea. In addition to this prize of 10,000f., and prizes of 2,500f., 1,500f., and 100f. will be given to the second third and fourth boats. During these preliminary preparations an exciting scene occurred in the morning, resulting in the loss of Trefle a Quatre, one of the vessels which has been entered for the race. Trefle a Quatre is owned by an Englishman. Last year she won the 100-kilometre race here, and was also successful in a number of other contests. Her owner had a new motor of almost double the power of the old one installed, and with the new machinery the trouble occurred. It could not be got to start properly, and all the morning men had been working at it. Eventually, at a quarter to 12, everything seemed to be in proper order, and the owner accompanied only by an English amateur, though a skilled motorist, cast off the moorings and started the engine. As they did not intend making a run of any length, but only wished to test the machinery, they did not carry any fire-extinguishing apparatus. This proved a great misfortune. The vessel had only gone about 100 yards and was just opening up into a nice turn of speed when the carburettor fired back. In the ordinary course of things this would have been a matter of small importance; but unluckily in the attempts to start the engines in the morning a small quantity of essence had escaped from the carburettors and collected in the bottom of the boat. This caught alight, and as the occupants of the boat had nothing with which to extinguish the flames in the early stage they were forced to seek refuge on the stern of their craft and wait for help from some of the numerous boats with which the harbour was thronged. They were soon taken off, and the burning craft after some unaccountable delay was towed alongside a steam yacht which was moored in the harbour. The yacht's hose was turned on to the unlucky vessel, but the force of the water was very weak, and not much good resulted. Trefle a Quatre was then towed away, and two or three extincteurs were thrown at the centre of the fire by pompiers, but still without any appreciable effect. Once more, amidst scenes of the wildest excitement, nobody seemed to know exactly what to do, the burning craft was towed back to the yacht and the hose was again put into use. The fire, however, gained in intensity, the wooden hull now being well alight. After more indecision the unlucky motor-boat was towed into shallow water, and attempts were made to sink her. A man approached her in a rowing boat and threw heavy stones at her charred sides. Only one shot penetrated her hull, however, and that was well above the water line. Hatchets were eventually employed to make a breach in her under water body, and finally she heeled over and quietly sank. There was no danger of an explosion, as the owner, directly after the fire broke out, disconnected the petrol tank, in which there were nearly 200 litres of essence.

Four boats entered for the cruiser race for boats under 60ft.:---Rotceh, with a Henriod motor; Dietrich II, with a Dietrich motor; Chantlers d'Antibes, with a Gobron-Brille motor; and Mercedes C.P., with a Mercedes motor. A start was made at 9:30, the course being about 125 kilometres. Dietrich was the winner, doing the course in 4hrs. 41min. 25sec., Mercedes coming in second, her time being 5hrs. 21min. 23sec. The other race was for small yachts.
— Our Correspondent

(Transcribed from the London Times, April 14, 1905, p. 11. )

*  *  *


The most interesting event of the week's motor-boat racing at Monaco took place to-day, when 20 vessels started in a 200-kilometre race for the Championship of the Sea. In addition to this proud title the winner was awarded a gold medal and 10,000f., and prizes of 2,500f., 1,500f., and 1,000f. were given to the second, third and fourth boats. Three British boats entered---namely, Napier, owned by Lord Howard De Walden; Napier II, belonging to Mr. S. F. Edge; and Baby, the property of Mr. Brooke, Lowescroft. The two Napiers were driven by Napier motors, and Baby by a Brooke motor. The names of the other starters and the type of motors are as follows:---Le Gobron, Gobron motor; Palaisoto II, Renault motor; La Rapiere, Panhard motor; Billancourt, Renault motor; Madrioto, Renault motor; Suzon Legru, Hotchkiss motor; Mercedes Chapley, Mercedes motor; C.G.V., C.G.V. motor; Pi-ouit IV, Turcat-Mery motor; Le Dubonnet, Delahaye motor; Panhard-Levassor, Panhard motor; F.I.A.T., Fiat motor; Fefe, Arion motor; Tetu, Delahaye motor; Chantiars d'Antibes IV, Filtz motor; Force Pas, Mors motor; Delahaye I, Delahaye motor.

Long before half the distance was completed most of the competitors had dropped out. Panhard-Levassor eventually won easily in the record time of 4hrs. 22min. 54sec. The record was previously held by Trefle a Quatre, which was burned yesterday. Last year she did the distance in 5hrs. 16min. 51sec. Baby soon gave up, as she was not powerfully enough engined, and both Napiers were also forced to retire through breakdowns, Napier II at a time when she seemed certain of the second prize. The day was cloudy, but the sea was smooth. Thousands of spectators lined the terraces to witness the race, the victory of the French boat being naturally very popular.

The start was made at 10, the fleet presenting an extraordinary sight as the boats dashed for the line at full speed amidst clouds of foam. La Rapiere, one of the small French racers, was the first to cross, but the big ones were soon after her. When they settled down to their paces it was seen that Mercedes was leading, with Panhard close up. Then half a minute in the rear came Le Dubonnet, the 400-horse power boat which broke down in Tuesday's big race. Napier II was one length behind her, followed by Rapiere, Napier, Madrioto, C.G.V., Billancourt and Palaisoto. In this order they finished the first round of 12 1/2 kilometres. There were 16 rounds in all, but even at this early stage it was evident that the four prizewinners would be found among the ten boats named. Le Dubonnet was the first to come to grief. Something went wrong with one of her four gigantic cylinders, and she had to give up early in the second round. This gave the rearmost boats a lift; and as they passed the mark-boat at the completion of the second round, the positions of the leading boats were Mercedes, Panhard, Napier II, La Rapiere and Napier.

In the third round a broken crank pin forced Mercedes to retire, and have Panhard the head. Napier II was now lying second, La Rapiere third, and Napier fourth. Madrioto and Palaisoto were well to the fore. In the next flight Panhard continued to draw further ahead, and an hour and a half from the start she had gained about six kilometres from Napier II. Napier was obliged to retire soon after the beginning of the eighth round, having sustained a minor injury to her machinery, but enough to prevent her from going on. When half the course had been completed Panhard had a head of 11 minutes, 22 seconds from Napier II, the times being:

  H M S
Panhard 12 7 39
Napier II 12 19 1

La Rapiere and Madrioto were now respectively third and fourth. In the ninth round Panhard overlapped Napier II, and passed her amidst loud cheers, this being 12 1/2 kilometres to the good. In the 11th round Napier II was forced to give up when to all appearances she had the second prize in her locker. It seems that when she was launched on the previous night one of her plates got damaged, a row of rivets being started. She consequently made some water, but it was kept under by an extra powerful pump. The weakened plate, however, reacted upon one of the girders, and the ultimate effect was that the engines got out of position to such an extent that it was impossible for her to go on. Panhard drew further ahead and won easily. La Rapiere took the second prize. The times were:---

  H M S
Panhard 2 22 54
La Rapiere 3 14 3
Palaisoto 3 22 55
Madrioto 4 46 1
— Our Correspondent

(Transcribed from the London Times, April 15, 1905, p. 13. )

*  *  *



The chief event of the motor-boat race yesterday was the handicap for racers. Twelve vessels started, but the race was annulled through an accident. Panhard-Levassor, winner of the championship race on Friday, sank soon after she had started through coming into collision with a buoy. No lives were lost, but there was great excitement, and the race was postponed until to-morrow. In to-day's racing Le Dubonnet won the mile race, standing start, in 2 min. 30sec., and the flying kilometre in 1 min. 9 sec., La Rapiere taking second prize.

— Our Correspondent

(Transcribed from the London Times, April 17, 1905, p. 10. )

*  *  *

Monte Carlo, April 17

The motor-boat racing at Monaco finished to-day with the handicap race postponed from Saturday and a consolation race. The Spanish boat Madrioto won the handicap, Pi Ouit being second, Palaisoto third, C.G.V. fourth, and the English boat Baby fifth. There were 25 entries for the consolation race, but owing to various causes, mainly machinery defects, only five started. Baby, which has engines of 35-horse power only, but has always made a non-stop run, was the winner.

— Our Correspondent

(Transcribed from the London Times, April 18, 1905, p. 15. )

*  *  *

Monaco Meet

April 9th was the first racing day for power-boats at Monaco.

Start was made at 9:30, course to Nice and return. Starters in cruiser class, 6.5 meters and under were: Avenir VII, Lanturlu, Muguette, Titan IV, Joliette III, Chartiers d'Antibes, Delahaye VI, Takumono, and Delahaye V. The 8-meter class, racers, started at 10:30 for 100 kilometers around Pentagon. In this class there were six starters, as follows: Gobron, Palaisoto II, Rapier, Madrioto, Antoinette II, and Bielancourt.

Then misadventures began. Gobron ran into a scow and was towed ashore; Madrioto was damaged and had the same treatment; guns were fired and the racers all eventually reached the starting point.

The cruisers did not fare so well. After turning the buoy at Nice they found the sea too rough. Some out into Nice, others made for Villafranche. Two kept bravely on. Marguerite shipping a heavy sea was wrecked on the jagged rocks, the crew barely escaping with their lives, while Joliette III, dodging the waves, proceeded leisurely, finished, and was declared the winner, much to the astonishment of the onlookers.

April 10th, profiting by the previous day's mishaps, no races were run, owing to heavy wind and sea.

April 11th, under 12-meter class, racers.

Tuesday was a day of surprises for both French and English contestants, the French for not winning when they considered the race a "cinch." and the British for winning the race with slower speed boats.

Starters were: Napier, Napier II, Suzon, Legru, Palaisoto I, baby II, Mercedes-Charley, Turquoise, and C.G.V. The first round was finished by Mercedes-Charley at a rate exceeding 30 kilometers, or 31 miles per hour, but was compelled to give up before the end of the race on account of heated bearings, poor lubrication it is said, possibly as it was impossible to keep the crank shaft in line.

The crank shaft of Palaisoto I, when close pressed by Napier II, broke, and the race was easily won by Napier II, with Napier easily second. Natural inference from this race is that the French have gone into extreme lightness of construction at the expense of durability.

Under 8 meters class, cruisers.

Contestants were Excelsior VIII, Nogentais, Arion IV, Chantiers d'Antibes II, Titan III, Mets-y-En II, Bigort, Delahaye and Gardner-Serpollet. Course was from Monaco to Nice, to Mentone and return to Monaco. Excelsior VIII won, with Nogentais second, Bigort third and Delahaye fourth, with others withdrawn during the race.

Sunday's unfinished race for 8-meter racers was run in the afternoon, with but four starters, Rapier, Antoinette I, Palaisoto II, and Bielancourt. With a slight break-down at the start, losing a kilometer, Rapier easily won the race, with Bielancourt second and Antoinette I third.

April 12th, 18-meter class, racers.

In the 18-meter class there were but two starters, Dubonnet and Pi Ouit IV. The big Panhard and Levassor which was to have entered, had to be run ashore with a big hole in her.

Break-down succeeded break-down.

First Pi Ouit IV was ahead then Dubonnet; neither ran for any length of time without stopping. Dubonnet finished ahead in the first round, but on the eighth or last, Pi Ouit IV won out. The feeling at Monaco was that Dubonnet's hull was overpowered.

In the 8 to 12-meter class, cruisers, there were six competing boats, as follows: F.I.A.T X, Tetu, Berliet, Elisa, Chantiers d'Antibes IV and Delahaye I. F.I.A.T. X took the lead shortly after crossing the line, maintaining it for the whole race, just two and a half hours, finishing first, with Tetu just four minutes behind.

April 13th, 12 to 18-meters, cruisers.

Starters in the 125-kilometer race were: Mercedes-Charley, Dietrich II, Rotech and Chantiers d'Antibes V. Dietrich II won, with Mercedes-Charley second, one hour astern.

Trefle-a-Quatre, in attempting a trial run, took fire from a "back-fire" from a carburetor. The gasolene was shut off from the tank, and while the owner was attempting to quench the flames alongside S. Y. Velleda, the police boat took charge. Presently a small launch took her in tow and made several trips about the harbor, apparently for the benefit of photographers, and cinematograph operators, after which the police took her in to the shore and chopped few holes in her.

April 14th race for the championship of the sea, open to both cruisers and racers.

There were 20 starters over the 200-kilometer course. Panhard-Levassor won in 4 h., 22 m. and 54 s., an average of 45.36 kilometers an hour, equivalent to 28.17 miles.

Rapier was second, also with Panhard-Levassor engine.

April 15th, 50-kilometer handicap for all classes.

When Panhard-Levassor, the last to leave, had covered 5 kilometers, she suddenly disappeared. Race was stopped by the firing of guns. >From the accounts it appears that in the lumpy sea, going at the tremendous speed, a plank on the bow was crushed in, and she filled like a sugar scoop.

April 16th, Prince of Monaco Cup, one marine mile, standing start, and one kilometer, flying start.

Dubonnet, Rapier and C.G.V. were the principal contestants. Rapier and Dubonnet finished the mile, neck and neck, but little Rapier lost 50 yards in the kilometer. Nautical mile with standing start was finished in 2 m. 30 s., and flying kilometer in 1 m. 9 s., equivalent to a speed of 52.17 kilometers, or 32.41 miles per hour.

April 17th, 50-kilometer handicap was deferred from Saturday, owing to the accident of Panhard-Levassor.

Very few entries and but few spectators to watch the closing event. Rapiere was strained in the previous day's race and did not start. Madriotto was the winner.

It may not be generally understood the difference at Monaco between racers and cruisers. With us a cruiser is a boat with sleeping accommodations, but according to the Automobile Club of France, under whose auspices the races were held, a cruiser is an open launch, or a boat with limited piston displacement, freeboard and passenger capacity, as well as limited power, while in the racer classes there was no limit to the power.

(Transcribed from Power Boat News, April 22, 1905, pp. 35-36.)

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

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