1906 Hudson River Water Carnival
The carnival week of the M.B.C. of A. which was brought to a close on Saturday evening last in a grand blaze of fireworks, was not the success that the management hoped. An unfortunate accident, together with some miserable weather and some similar management of the races by the Regatta Committee, caused the interest to lag; and, on Saturday, of the thirty-one boats entered but eleven actually competed.
Series racing of power boats is not a success. The contestants learn their chances of winning on the first day, and the entries gradually dwindle away as the trials continue, as in the case of the races for cruising boats, in which both Sheboygan and Tuna had walkovers in their respective classes in the final race. During the week not a single event was started anywhere near on time, resulting naturally in considerable confusion, it being necessary for a contestant to keep within range of the Committee, at times for over an hour, to learn what was happening. In the three days' series of races for all classes, the nearest start to scheduled time was on Friday, when the first boat got off at 3.10 instead of 2.00 P.M.
The Regatta Committee, by their uncommunicative tactics, came in for a lot of adverse criticism, not only from the spectators and the press representatives but from members of the club. With the exception of one of the members of the committee, they were unapproachable' and, in several instances, a respectful request for information brought forth some rather sharp replies. It is an acknowledged fact that the Regatta Committees are an over-worked set of individuals, but it is not necessary to be anything but courteous in the refusal of a request for information.
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Considering the number of so-called high-speed boats entered for the races during Carnival Week, it was confidently expected, by the informed as well as the uninformed, that the thirty mile per hour mark would be knocked to smithereens. But no such occurrence took place, and we have yet to see a boat officially cover the mile in less than two minutes. Standard came very near doing it, but it did not quite do the trick. The Hudson River in the vicinity of New York is a poor place at best for racing power boats, and no place certainly for breaking records. Several owners have claimed to have made better than 30 miles; but, not having done so in competition, the records have but little value.
During the entire week the river was covered with floating driftwood of all descriptions, and several contestants reported collisions with logs.
The M.B.C. of A. contemplates a move to a proposed site on Long Island Sound; and, if they ever desire to hold successful races in the vicinity of their club house, they had better do so.
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So many different accounts have appeared in the daily press concerning the catastrophe, which befell Vesuvius on the second round of the race for her class on Friday, that the correct version is in order.
Vesuvius is an extreme type of speed boat and unfitted for racing under the conditions that were prevalent on the river during Friday's racing. There was considerable sea running, and, in making the turn at the mark off Tubby's Hook, she was seen to swerve several times and finally took a rank sheer in the trough of a particularly steep and short sea; and, when she reappeared on the crest of the wave, the occupants of the mark boat saw that the helmsman and engineer had in some way been thrown out, for they were never again seen.
Every effort was made by boats in the vicinity to render assistance; but, incumbered as the men were, with oilskins, they apparently did not stay on top for a moment and the exact cause of the accident will probably never be known.
Assistance might have been rendered by the mark boat, which was a cabin power boat belonging to a member of the club; but for the fact that the boat was being used without his permission, was not in running order, having been towed up to the mark by another launch and manned by a couple of persons who understood nothing about the engine, they were powerless to render aid.
(Transcribed from Power Boat News, Sep. 22, 1906, p. 550.)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. LF]
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