1906 APBA Gold Cup
Chippewa Bay, Thousand Islands, NY, Aug. 20-23, 1906
An Echo Of The Gold Challenge Cup Races
EDITOR OF THE RUDDER: In its November issue, THE RUDDER contained and extensive article critically considering the controversy which has arisen over the lack of finality of the award of the Gold Challenge Cup of the American Power Boat Association. Without attempting to dispute the right of a class journal to pose as a critic and authority in cases of dispute, I earnestly protest against the tone and inference of the article in question, claiming it to be both biased and misleading.
The article states correctly the simple facts of the racing on the St. Lawrence last August for the Gold Cup, then held by the Chippewa Y.C., and for which the "dangerous" challenger was Sparrow, under Riverton Y.C. colors. But in telling how the races developed a dispute in the A.P.B.A., owing to division in sentiment over the right of Chip II to race under the rating given her before the contest, the article, not only, with apparent intent, avoids full consideration of the freakish engine of Chip II -- the subject of the original protest and the entire argument -- but takes a surprising and lone stand among other articles dealing with this case in attempting to detract attention from Chip II by heaping what seems to me undeserved, unfair, and almost untruthful criticism upon Sparrow.
The whole tone of the article shows an inclination to boost the stand of the Executive Committee of the A.P.B.A., in opposition to the opinion of the Regatta Committee, which decided against Chip II and thereby gave Sparrow the cup. Notice, even in irrelevant passages, the slur upon the one side and the rhetorical ointment offered as ingratiating balm to the other. Thus, Chip II is owned by "that enthusiastic racing man, Jonathan Wainwright." who has never raced his own boat in any big contest, while poor Sparrow can claim merely the proprietorship of C. J. Swain, who personally ran his boat on the Hudson in five of the most important races of the season. Note, also, how everything that is offered the Chip II contingent by the Executive Committee is done "by the Executive Committee," while each reference to the opinion or deed of the Regatta Committee "By the Regatta Committee, or rather by the majority of the Committee."
Such phrasing shows where lie the sympathies of THE RUDDER. I have no desire to convince the partisan of the error of his ways. I seek only to prevent the unbiased public from being wrongly influenced by a partisan disguised in the robes of the bench.
The whole discussion arose over a protest with the Regatta Committee against Chip II, which it is frankly acknowledged was built to cheat the rules in measuring and rating. Its engine was the only one ever built of its kind. It was not commercial or intended to be. It was made to get a questionable rating of less than 17 h.p., whereas, as a matter of fact, it must have been about 30 h.p., for the simple reason that that much horse-power in any form or shape would be absolutely necessary to drive a hull such as that of Chip II through the water at the speed she made in the contest for the Gold Cup. The engine had two actuating cylinders of the two-stroke type, each 4-in. bore by 10-in. stroke. It also had a third cylinder -- a double-acting pumping cylinder, 6 1/2 by 6 inches. This pumping cylinder was not measured. The engine rated at 16.75 h.p. and the boat is 54.24. it won. Then, after the races, the Regatta Committee considered the protest, remeasured the engine in Chip II to include the third cylinder, and then gave the boat a new rating of 74.45. It lost; Sparrow by these figures winning all the races instead of but one, and Jewel, a nice, "comfy" sort of family launch, running in ahead of Chip II for second place.
I have no criticism of the A.P.B.A. rules -- only of their application and the unfairness of the Executive Committee in allowing a misapplication whereby one boat is allowed to gain an impossible rating at the expense of all other craft competing in the A.P.B.A. events. Were an extra pumping cylinder added to each pair of cylinders in the engine of Sparrow, her power would be almost doubled; yet, by the principle of rule application sustained by the Executive Committee and the THE RUDDER, its rating would be unchanged.
The article shows decided favoritism, but not half so unfair as the effort to shield the freakishness of Chip II from public gaze by attempting to bring Sparrow under the limelight of criticism. It speaks of her lines, and calls her as different under the water from the usual type of fast launch as day is from night. It speaks of the creation of a "bump" and adds:
"The area of her midship section ... so startled the measurer ... that he dived under the craft to investigate;" which is correct, but not to Sparrow's discredit.
Anyone who is interested in knowing for themselves whether or not Sparrow is characterized as a racing hull by a "bump," will find in another boating publication full-page drawings showing her exact lines; also a description of her hull and of the Packard engine which propelled her.
(Transcribed from The Rudder, February, 1907, p. 130. )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. LF]
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