1906 Hudson River Water Carnival
The decision of the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufacturer's to place their 1906 Carnival in the hands of the Motor Boat Club of America proved to be a wise one, for in point of number of entries, actual competitors, finishers and general results, the meeting held on the Hudson River during the week of September 10 was a huge success. The Motor Boat Club of America is only a newcomer to the field, having been organized last winter, and in attempting a carnival of this size without previous experience or facilities, and carrying it out to a successful conclusion, they have done remarkably well. There were many little points, of course, which will bear improvement, and which doubtless will be seen to before another year. The principal difficulty lay in the lack of help to carry out the multitude of details which are inseparable from such an event. Volunteer help was called for, and while willingly given, of course did not work as efficiently as paid help. But all things considered, the event was a record maker.
The events were started and finished off the floating house of the Motor Boat Club, located at the foot of West 112th Street, on the Hudson River, which was appropriately decorated for the occasion and served its purpose admirably, except in point of view of room for the large number of guests and spectators, who during the latter part of the week filled it to overflowing. Interest in the events grew from day to day, until Saturday the park slope along the bank of the river was lined for blocks, both above and below the clubhouse, with those who were in some way interested in the racers which ran before them. Of course, many were drawn to the river by idle curiosity, but one who went among them could hear considerable intelligible talk, and many showed intimate acquaintance with motorboats and the subject of motorboating in general. The results of the racing show that the high speed boat has arrived. There were breakdowns, of course, but in proportion to the number of entries, they were few, and a large number of them can be directly to the floating refuse which defaces the Hudson in this locality. Many new boats made their debut at the carnival, for the manufacturers are unable to devote their energies to such a class of work during the busy season. There were still other new boats, which, while they were on the entry list, were not completed in time to start. Stories floated around the clubhouse of So-and-So working feverishly in the freight yards up on the Harlem to get his boat off the car in time to enter, or somebody else lacking some important requisite at the last moment. In point of entries, probably only about 50 per cent appeared at the starting line, but this is to be expected at any event.
The Manufacturer's Association last year adopted the rules of the American Power Boat Association, instead of those which they promulgated for last year's events, and all the races with the exception of that for the 12-meter class for the International trophy, were handicapped upon this racing system. The Carnival really gave the first opportunity of judging how far this rating rule falls short of what a rating rule should be. Previous events had indicated that it was unsuitable, but a sufficient number of boats had not been gathered together before to give a good line on its results. There was one change, however, from the A.P.B.A. classification, and that is that under the manufacturers' rule the boats were raced in classes, according to their actual water-line length, instead of, as called for by the A.P.B.A. rule, their rating length. This favors the rule to a certain extent in that, as the boats are bay actual water-line length, the discrepancy in size for similar rating could not be so great, hence should produce better results.
The unfortunate accident by which the crew of the Vesuvius lost their lives cast a gloom over the latter part of the Carnival, and detracted from the enjoyment, but even with this drawback it remains the greatest event of the year.
There were many new boats which made their debut, among which was Standard, our old friend Standard, but strengthened by the addition of a second layer of planking, so as to be able to carry her big double-acting motor without fear of breakdown. Her performance is phenomenal from the point of speed, and is fully narrated elsewhere. Another new one, of which great things were expected, but which suffered from a series of mishaps, was Irene, a 40-footer equipped with two four-cylinder 8 x 7-in. Chadwick motors, operating twin screws. Irene is not only a racer, but is of such breadth and accommodations as to make her a comfortable boat for a considerable party, and in her construction and the installation of her motors great care was taken to guard against breakdown, which, however, occurred outside the boat and could not have been guarded against. The installation of her motors is very prettily worked out, all important parts being duplicated and every requisite located handy for the engineers; indeed, her motor installation is one of the best that the writer has ever seen, and it is to be hoped that her owner has not been discouraged by her misfortunes to abandon his efforts to make records.
Skedaddle is our old friend Onontio masquerading under a new name, and equipped with a new six-cylinder Craig, built somewhat upon the plan of the motors of Onontio and Veritas, but with such improvements as experience had shown to be of value. The motor is beautiful piece of work and would have done considerably better if it had had some running previous to its start in the first race. It is said that up to that time it had not been run over ten hours, and it suffered in consequence. The Skedaddle improved her performance each day, and by the dawn of another season should be tuned up.
Sparrow proved the surprise of the Carnival by winning three events , the reliability, the long distance and the Inter-State Cup. She was built by the Godshalk Co. as the challenger for the gold cup of the A.P.B.A., and only missed winning it by a small margin. Her running throughout the week was phenomenally regular, and her performance shows what can be done by a good designer with a knowledge of the conditions under which his boat is to be raced, and when equipped with a motor of reliability and power. There was some talk of protest against her, but it did not appear, and she must be looked upon as probably the most successful of the season's racing boats.
Our old friend Dixie continued her string of victories, and ran as regularly as a clock. This is her second season and she seems good for an indefinite number. Den, too, made a good performance. She is more of a sprinter than a long-distance boat. XPDNC, the winner of the National Cup last year and of the long-distance event of two years ago, was also present and made remarkable time. Little Durno, the winner of the Inter-State Cup last year, repeated her long trip from Rochester, and entered every event for which she was eligible. This year, however, instead of coming down through the Canal, she made a trip through the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain, and entered the races without repair or replacement of any kind.
Split-the-Wind, that remarkable boat built by one of the younger Herreshoffs, in a city apartment, and of which such great things were expected, failed to make good. She is a clean-looking boat and travels fast, but suffers from a chronic case of accident. Elco is one of the series of genuine automobile boats constructed by The Electric Launch Co., of which Beat It, exhibited at the last show, was the forerunner, and which have proved so successful, both from the point of speed and comfort. Artful is the big Payne Whitney high-speed cruiser built bu the Seabury Gas Engine Co. The long-distance event just suited her. She is the kind of boat that can hit up a good pace and keep it indefinitely.
Vesuvius, the unfortunate, little deserved her end. She suffered throughout the Carnival from a series of undeserved accidents, through being untuned and hurriedly completed. Torino was the only example of the comfortable trunk-cabin cruiser entered in any of the events. She is equipped with a Fiat automobile motor, but runs at low speed and is fully fitted for extended cruising, having electric lights and all conveniences. Tuna is a smart little cruiser, fitted with raised cabin, and later altered so that the cabin is divided by a bridge space. Her appearance is somewhat unusual but rather pleasing, and has proved very useful to her owners throughout the season. Blue Peter is the little Holmes unsinkable fast cruiser, which has so many novelties introduced in her construction. She is an exact duplicate of Guess Again which did so well on the St. Lawrence.
Mercedes U.S.A. and White Fox are almost too well known to require any description, as they have been in the racing game for several years, as has Colonia, the tender of Commodore Bourne's yacht. They all have a long series of victories behind them, and with the exception of the accident to Mercedes, have done well at this Carnival. Ralaco, which competed in the reliability run, is an old navy type cutter which has gone through many changes, and in her present condition took second prize in the reliability test. She was not specially built for this rule, as was Sparrow, but made a remarkable showing.
The Reliability Test
The reliability test scheduled to start at 10 o'clock on Monday had to be postponed some little time because of the difficulty of obtaining competent observers to place aboard the boats, but after considerable persuasion on the part of the committee a full quota was obtained and the starting gun was given at 11:35. The prospect of a ride round and round the course for six hours continuously did not appeal to many, and only those technically interested in the sport and in the results which would be obtained by such a test felt it their duty to go. But the day was bright and clear, and aside from the tedium of a continuous trip, the event had many desirable features for those who have the motor fever. Nine boats appeared for the test, mostly of the high-speed type, but the slow, steady going cruiser was represented by Torino and Ralaco.
The event naturally lacked the spectacular features of a race, and many of those about the clubhouse could not seem to straighten the matter out of their minds and understand that it was not a race. As was bound to be the case, there were brushes between individual boats, and very often several came to the home mark close together, which gave the impression of a race, and also settled many little private differences among the contestants. This event is the first of the kind held in the United States, and was modeled on the very successful reliability tests which have been held for the past two years in England. Practically the same system of marks for determining the relative merits of the contestants was adopted as that used by the British club, but as the rating rule under which the event was run off is different from that in use in Great Britain, it will be necessary another year to change the values attached to different features. For instance, the theoretical speed under the American Power Boat Association's rule for a boat of a given rating is higher than that under the British rules, so that most of the boats failed dismally in this respect; one, in fact, to such an extent to receive minus marks for this factor. Some of the contestants did not appreciate the value of this factor, and so did not maintain their speed at the highest point, and, as a result, they were heavily penalized.
On the score of reliability, all who completed the course with no stops received perfect scores, and only two boats dropped out of the event, one, the Tauntress, through a stoppage in the water pump. She however, made one complete round with only a trickle of water going through her cylinders, which shows what her motor was capable of under the most adverse circumstances. The other withdrawal, the Blue Peter, misjudged her fuel supply, which, by the way, carried two fuel tanks, and so had to give up at the end of the fifth round. The others made their rounds with considerable regularity, Simplex VI only varying from 41:50 to 43:21, and two rounds being within three seconds. Sparrow slowed down during the intermediate rounds, or otherwise would have received additional marks on the score of speed. As she was built especially to race under the A.P.B.A. rules, her score naturally is very high, but this does not detract from the value of her performance. Yvonne was slowed down in the last round so as not to make it necessary to complete the round after the time period was up. This greatly reduced her average speed and cut down her marks in this section. White Fox, the only boat equipped with a two-cycle motor, and rated under the A.P.B.A. rule at a much greater horsepower than her motor was capable of developing, naturally suffered in speed. This year's rule greatly favors the four-cycle motor and proportionately penalizes the two-cycle. White Fox's running, with the exception of one round, was extremely regular, and, in fact, this feature of regularity should be emphasized and given a certain number of marks in future events of this kind.
On the score of condition after trial, the judges considered that all boats had shown up equally well and so awarded the total of 50 marks to each. On economy, the total consumption of gasolene was taken, together with the cost, the time, and the A.P.B.A. rating of the motor, to make up the total number of marks which each boat should receive. Marks for efficiency of reversing, ease of control and for facility of starting were allotted proportionate to the time consumed for the time of giving the gun which was the signal to reverse, gather sternway, stop the motor and restart it. The time given for this test, which, by the way, was given in different rounds so as to surprise them, varied from 33 seconds to 4 minutes and 36 seconds. This test furnished most of the excitement and amusement of the event, as the surprise of most of the competitors was complete; but the fact that doubtless many of them were capable under ordinary conditions of doing much better than is officially recorded would indicate that some other system of determining relative values in this test should be devised. The economy feature should receive more marks, as it is more important than this year's test gives it credit for. Another year the consumption of lubricating oils should also be taken into account and marks allotted for economy in this respect. Through a misunderstanding, the lower stake boat left its station before all of the contestants had rounded it and. therefore, the last round of some of the boats had to be neglected in making calculations, except for economy. It has been generally supposed that the two-cycle motor is less economical in fuel than the four-cycle, but the performance of White Fox, with a two-cycle motor, which received the third greatest marks, on a motor overrated under the rule, would seem to indicate that its economy is at least equal to that of the other type.
From a spectacular standpoint the event was monotonous, as has already been noted, and it is not to be wondered that the crowd on the opening day was not large, but in reality the event was one of the most important of the meet, and its results are worthy of study. Another year should see all builders entered, and although only a few were represented, the results obtained should surely repay them in future business. A fact shown is the presence of the automobile or light high speed motor in overwhelming numbers and its fine showing under severe conditions. The only slow speed motors represented were the Ralaco and the Fiat, installed in Torino, and the latter is also a high speed motor, although in this particular case run at low revolutions. A great deal has been said against the durability and reliability of a high speed motor, but the results of this test should once and for all silence any such comment. The pity is that more slow speed motors were not entered to demonstrate conclusively the standing-up powers of this type.
It was dusk when the last competitors finished, but as each arrived it was sent across the river to refill its tank and to give its figure for gasolene consumption; but as the determination of the winners required an enormous amount of work on the part of the committee, the result could not be given out as promptly as was expected. There were other features scheduled in the prospectus of the test, under which the contestants would receive marks, such as arrangement of fuel tanks, installation of the motor with regard to safety, cleanliness after trial, etc., but as the relative value of these features are largely a matter of personal opinion, the committee decided that they would award no marks under these heads, it being a very difficult matter to decide upon the value when each presented so uniformly good a condition.
The Long-Distance Race
Tuesday, the morning of the long-distance race, opened dull and muggy with all indications of rain, which would make the long struggle all the more difficult and dispiriting to the contestants which were entered for it. The starting time was set for 8:30, so as to give a finish early in the afternoon, for the course is 115 5/8 nautical miles, and some of the entries were not capable of high speed. At the starting time only four boats were present, so that the committee decided to postpone the start until 9:30, and their action was well rewarded by the appearance of five others, making nine starters.
The race was started from one gun, or all together, the handicaps being allowed at the finish, and the start was the prettiest so far seen at the Carnival. With nine boats manoeuvring and then crossing the line at gunfire, close together, the spectacle was very fine. White Fox led off; closely followed by Durno, with Simplex overlapping her. Decoy and Sparrow were also close together, while Artful was only a short distance behind. Skedaddle lost about a hundred yards at the start, and Irene was at least a half mile behind. All these boats going at full speed up the river caused a sea which reminded one of the lower bay when ferryboats and tugs are the thickest. Durno, the smallest boat of the lot, was considerably bothered by the cross waves of all the boats, and steered rather wildly until she could get into fairly open and calm water to set her course. The fleet soon divided, all the boats seeking the shelter of one or the other shore. Artful took the lead of the eastern division, and Skedaddle that of the western. Irene, that powerful 40-footer, offered the prettiest sight of all as she swept up the line with an enormous wing of spray on either side. She was apparently traveling very fast, and reports from a short distance up the river stated that she was in the lead.
As soon as the boats were well away, the Regatta Committee figured out the handicaps and found that the Irene was scratch boat, and gave a handicap of 1 h. 56 m. 14 s. to Artful; 1 h. 15 m. 53 s. to Vesuvius; 2 h. 25 m. 28 s. to Simplex; 52 m. 58 s. to Skedaddle, and so on through the list to the little Durno, which had a handicap of 3 h. 39 m. 45 s. Speculations as to the winner was brisk, but by general consensus the race seemed to lie between Artful and Sparrow, both having very low ratings, while the Philadelphia contingent were willing to back up the chances of Irene with cold cash.
About an hour after the start, a boat going up the river reported that Skedaddle was anchored off Two Hundredth Street, and was out of the race with a broken reverse gear. The next news of the progress of the race was given by a club member with glasses, who reported about 3:30 that Artful was coming down the river at a great pace. She finished at 3:35:33, taking 6 h. 5 m. 33 s. for the run, and making a speed of 19.4 nautical miles, or 21.93 miles per hour. She reported having passes Irene in tow off West Point, and stated that when she passed her, two men were working from the stern, and they presumed that she had attempted to cut across lots and had choked her propeller with weeds. She also reported that Sparrow was the last boat that she had passed, and would probably be the next finisher. The sharps immediately got to work figuring out at what time Sparrow would have to finish in order to win, and win she did, coming in at 4:15:55. She had a little over an hour to spare under her handicap. Her time for the race is 6:45:55, or at the rate of 17.4 nautical miles per hour, or 19.74 statute miles per hour. This gave her the race by a good margin, unless Simplex, which was considered to be the next fastest, should also succeed in saving her handicap. She did not finish, however, until 5:13, making her corrected time 5:18, as against 3:08 for the Sparrow. She reported Decoy, White Fox and Durno as having been passed in the reverse order, and stated that she had also seen Irene in tow, and when she passed, one of Irene's propellers was lying on the after deck, and attention to it was called by one of her crew. >From this it appeared that Irene had gone aground somewhere near West Point, and so damaged her propellers that she was unable to continue.
The short Autumn day was nearly closed before Durno put in an appearance. She could be made out coming through the dusk, as it was almost too dark to make out what boat was approaching, her versatile owner was announcing his arrival by megaphone. She crossed the finish at 6:43:48, almost making third place, being defeated by Simplex by only about six minutes on corrected time. Five minutes later Decoy announced her presence by a blast from her whistle, and crossed the line at 6:49:19. She reported White Fox only a little way behind, and her report was shortly confirmed audibly by the rattle of White Fox's exhaust. The latter crossed the line at 6:52:50. This accounted for all the starters with the exception of Vesuvius, which one of the contestants stated had put n about Yonkers on the trip up and had not been seen since. At the start Vesuvius needed extra supplies of oil and batteries, and sent one of her crew to obtain them, but as he did not return in time for the start, she went away without them. This, doubtless, accounted for her putting in at Yonkers.
This year's long-distance was run against the tide in both directions, and so little chance was given of beating the record made two years ago by XPDNC, with all conditions favorable in both directions, when she made the still unequaled record for the course of 26.29 miles per hour. In point of number of contestants this year's race is far and away beyond that of any previous year, also in the number of boats which finished and which ran with regularity throughout. The handicap rule under which the race was run, however, did not prove equitable in that it unduly favored some of the contestants, Sparrow receiving a handicap of about 50 per cent of her actual time, while Artful received at least 25 per cent handicap. Both of these boats made magnificent performances aside from any handicap whatever, and if the event had been an open one it would not detract from the value of their records.
The Time Trials And Free-For-All
On Wednesday morning the time trials over the mile and kilometer were held and brought out Dixie, Standard, XPDNC, Mercedes U.S.A. and Vesuvius. The event was scheduled at 10 o'clock, but about this time a heavy thunder shower was in progress, so it was postponed until 11:40. As it was expected that phenomenal speed would be made, extensive arrangements were made to secure the accuracy of the results. The nautical mile trials were run over a course measured by the U.S. Government several years ago, and marked at either end by range poles, the lower end of the mile being at about Ninety-second Street, just above the Columbia Yacht Club, and the upper end of the mile at One Hundred and Fourteenth Street, a short distance above the Motor Boat Club house. The kilometer was laid off from the upper end of the mile, 3,080 feet 10 inches south, being surveyed on the morning of the event.
Each boat started separately, the guns being given at three minute intervals. This allowed each contestant three minutes in which to cross the starting line, and the actual time of crossing was taken, the same proceeding being repeated on the run up the river from the lower end of the trial. Two times were located at each end of the mile and at the kilometer, with watches synchronized with the club's chronometer. One of the timers gave the word, while the other counted seconds and took the actual time of starting. This proceeding was carried out at each of the timing stations, and after the event the watches were again compared with the clock for any variation.
The cup for the event was given to the boat which made the best average time for the mile and kilometer, and was won by the Standard, which made the mile with the tide in 2 m. 10 s., and against the tide in 2 m. 34 s., her time for the kilometer being 1:07 with the tide and 1:37 against the tide, giving an average time for the mile of 2 m. 22 s., and for the kilometer 1 m. 22 s. Her rate on the mile with the tide was 27.69 nautical miles per hour, or 31.88 statute miles per hour. Against the tide her speed was 22.37 nautical miles, or 26.91 statute miles. This gives her an average speed of 25.53 nautical miles, or 29.39 statute miles, which we believe is world's record for a mile with and against the tide, and we also believe it to be world's record for nautical mile under any conditions. Dixie made the second best time, her average for the nautical mile being 2 m. 391/2 s., and her rate 221/2 nautical miles against the tide and 25.5 nautical miles with the tide. XPDNC's time averaged 2 m. 42 s. for the nautical mile, and 1 m. 32 s. for the kilometer. Mercedes U.S.A. made an average of 3 m. 8 s. for the mile and 1 m. 47 s. for the kilometer. Vesuvius, which was missing fire on one cylinder on the mile against the tide, averaged 3.21 for the nautical mile and 1.49 for the kilometer.
This event lacked, of course, the spectacular appearance of a race, but the sight of one of these boats traveling at the speed which they made is one which will not soon be forgotten by the spectators. On the mile trial Standard averaged 528 revolutions, and as her motor will give 340 h.p. at 300 revolutions, the power developed must have been considerably in excess of this figure. She was equipped with a three-blade, compound pitch propeller, three feet in diameter, and with a mean pitch of 61/2 feet, which makes the slip figure out at about 25 per cent. After the event, Mr. Riotte stated that he was not fully satisfied with the propeller used, and believed that faster time could be made if a propeller of greater diameter and smaller pitch had been used. The run down the river was made with the tide almost at an ebb and against a wind of about twenty miles velocity, which kicked up a rather nasty sea, and no doubt had considerable influence on the speeds of all the boats in the event. The mile up the river was against the tide and with a favoring wind. The slight variation in the times with and against the tide for the different boats could be accounted for by the slightly different times at which they made their runs and the fact that some, notably the Standard, ran well out in the river where the full force of the tide was encountered, while some of the others ran as close to shore as possible.
The event proved very successful in showing that American motors are rapidly coming to the fore for speed boats. as well as for reliability and hard usage. One point must be borne in mind in comparing American and foreign records. All of the foreign records are made with the automobile type of motors, and generally with motors designed for car work, but placed in light hulls, whereas the records so far made on this side are generally with motors designed on accepted marine engine lines. In general our motors are of lower speed and more robust in construction, and consequently able to stand a much greater amount of wear and hard usage than the lighter motor designed for a car.
The free-for-all event of the afternoon was also late in starting, because of the delay in the mile trials, as the boats entered in this event were those which participated in the mile trials of the morning, and a certain time was allowed for preparation, refilling tanks, etc. This event had nine entries, but because of the times made in the morning many of the entries withdrew, as they saw that there was no possibility of their winning the event. Dixie, Standard and Skedaddle appeared in time to start, the reverse gear of the latter having been repaired after its accident on the previous day.
All the boats manoeuvered well below the line, but at gunfire Standard was seen coming up the river at full speed, closely followed by Dixie, while Skedaddle was further below the line. They crossed in this order, with Standard and Dixie n nearly even terms. They disappeared up the river into the mist which overhung the course and detracted from the beauty of the scene. Standard quickly took the lead, followed by Dixie, both going beautifully, while Skedaddle appeared to be missing fire on some of her cylinders. With boats capable of the speed of these, the wait until they came down the far side of the river on their way to the lower mark was very short, and those with glasses soon made out Standard and Dixie probably a quarter of a mile apart, with Skedaddle a half mile in the rear. Then they disappeared again toward the lower mark, and great surprise was expressed by those at the clubhouse when Dixie was made out coming up to the mark on her first round, which she made in 27 m. 1 s. Skedaddle was close after her, crossing the line at 3:28:44. Shortly after Standard came up in tow on a revenue cutter and tied to the clubhouse, and as she drew alongside, it was seen that her rudder was hanging by the tiller lines. It appears that in rounding the upper mark off Fort Washington, the lower pintle of the rudder was strained and that in rounding the second or lower mark it was was entirely carried away. This was a most unfortunate accident, as without it she would probably have also established a world's record for the course, which was 303/4 nautical miles, or about 35.4 statute miles.
After everyone had talked over the accident and sympathized with her owner and builders, attention was again directed to the course, and everyone watched for Dixie, which was soon made out coming down the backstretch like a racehorse, and, as the weather had cleared somewhat, she could be seen making her lower turn, which she did, taking plenty of room and sweeping in a wide circle. She finished her second round at 3:53:41, or an elapsed time of 26 m. 40 s., which beat her time for the previous round by 21 s. Skedaddle should have put in an appearance about two minutes later, but she did not cross the line in front of the clubhouse until 4:18:32, nearly an hour after her first round. From this everyone figured out that she must have stopped during the course, and that such was the case proved true after the finish, when her owner stated that on account of the large size of her cylinders and the enormous heat that developed she burned out her sparking points nearly as fast as they could be put in. Dixie finished at 4:20:01, also improving her time on the previous round by 20 s., showing a gain for each round of approximately this amount. her time was at the rate of 23.7 nautical miles per hour, or 26.57 statute miles per hour -- a very good record considering that nine turns had to be made.
This event was the free-for-all championship, and is the second free-for-all which Dixie has won this year, the first one being that on the St. Lawrence when she defeated So Long at Alexandria Bay on August 25. Skedaddle finished at 4:44:39, making a time for the course of 1:44:39, but, due to the settling down of the mist at the upper mark, she failed to find it, and therefore could not be considered to have finished the race. The running of Dixie throughout the race, as shown by the times, was extremely regular, indeed the performance of this boat all summer has been marked by this feature of regularity. She can be depended upon to finish in whatever event she is entered, and, while her time has been beaten, she is a remarkable boat considering her size and power.
The Races For The Manufacturers' Cups
Thursday, the day set for the first race for the cups offered by the Manufacturers' Association and the other classes, proved entirely unsatisfactory from the weather standpoint, as about noon the storm which had been brewing all day broke with exceeding violence and necessitated a postponement of over an hour. Squall followed squall until everyone under the awning of the clubhouse was dripping. At the first signal of let up, however, the committee gave the warning signal, and the different classes started at five-minute intervals, as, there being so many entries and divided into so many classes, it was impossible to carry out the races by finishing one before its successor was started. The form of classification adopted last year was carried over to this, and the divisions and classes caused considerable confusion among the competitors. it would be well if for another year some simpler form of classification, or at least designation, of the classes should be adopted.
The class for large cabin boats, B II and B III, had had only one entry each, so that they were run together, the starters being Sheboygan, sister ship to Brush-By, and Torino, which had run in the reliability contest. The signal for the start was one gun, the handicaps in all cases being allowed at the finish, and this probably led to less confusion than would have been the case had the boats in different classes been given their handicaps at the start.
Class C I, for boats 30 to 40 feet, brought out three starters -- Tuna, Anona and Baby Daly. They started at 3:30, Tuna almost immediately after the gun, closely followed by Baby Daly, and with Anona some distance in the rear.
Division II, Classes C I and D I, for open boats, each one had one entry, so they were raced together, Ino and Magneto being the starters; Magneto getting away promptly, but Ino did not start for considerable time, and then only on instructions from the committee.
The class for the International Cup for boats up to 12 metres, or 40 feet in length, without any other restrictions, brought out Dixie, Vesuvius and Irene, which had been repaired since the mishap in the long distance race. These boats were started at 3:50, Dixie making a fine start, with Vesuvius a short distance in the rear, and Irene considerably behind after the gun.
Division III, Class B, for boats over 40 feet in length, the class racing for the National trophy brought out Elco, XPDNC and Skedaddle, the boats of this class being handicapped under the A.P.B.A. rating, as in fact, were all except the 12 meter races. XPDNC made a fine start with Elco only a little in the rear and Skedaddle a quarter of a mile astern. These boats went off at 3:45.
Division III, Class C, for boats under 33 feet in length racing for the Inter-State trophy, brought out Yvonne, Blue Peter, La Petite, Dixie, Durno, Mercedes U.S.A., White Fox, Colonia, Sparrow, Split-the-Wind and Josephine, and the start of such a large class furnished the excitement of the day, for the sight of ten boats crossing the line almost all together at fill speed had the fizz of the Suburban or some other horseracing event. Hardly any time intervened between the start of the 12-meter class and the appearance of Sheboygan, which was running the short course, and which finished the first round at 4:00:32, and from this time on until the finish of the last boat some boat was passing the home mark every few minutes. it very often happened that several passed within a minute, and although possibly racing in different classes, they appeared to be racing against each other. The two courses in use, an eight mile and a ten and a quarter mile, brought the boats around more regularly, and served to maintain the interest until nearly the end of the race.
About 5:30 a large number of the spectators had drifted away, but in doing so missed the most exciting scene of the day, when Mercedes U.S.A., coming up to the home mark on her last lap, stopped within a hundred yards of the finish, and in attempting to start her again, she took fire. As will be remembered, her motor is covered by a hood, and thus is in what is practically a closed compartment, except for the opening at the after end. It seems that in attempting to restart her, the carburetor was flooded and considerable gasolene flowed into the copper pan which covered the entire bottom of the boat about the motor. This vaporized, and a backfire through the carburetor set it off. The flames quickly increased in size, and the intensity of the heat drove her owner, who was aboard, Captain Barr, who by the way is a nephew of Charlie Barr, the famous sailing yacht skipper, and her engineer to the extreme stern, where, after buckling on life preservers, they one after another jumped overboard.
As soon as the fire started, somebody aboard the clubhouse called the attention of J. H. Hoadley, who happened to by lying alongside the float in the Den, to it, and he started out at full speed to give assistance. At the same time the fire was perceived by a cabin motorboat cruising around in the center of the river, and they, too, headed for the burning Mercedes, but were afraid to get too close to the fire to give any real assistance, and also by their position prevented the Den's rendering any aid for some little time. A revenue cutter, which was acting as police boat, hurried up, and while the Den was pulling the captain and engineer out of the water, turned a stream of water on the burning Mercedes, which, of course, had little effect. Mr. Hoadley immediately ordered a boat lowered from Den II, and this tender obtained a mechanical fire extinguisher from the revenue cutter, rowed alongside, and very quickly extinguished the blaze. Mr. Bowden, the owner of Mercedes, had refused to accept any assistance or to leave the water, and as soon as the fire was put out, swam back to the Mercedes and boarded her to see what damage had been done. The revenue cutter took the damaged boat in tow, and brought her to the float, where it was seen that she was really only slightly damaged, the fire having only burnt the paint off the motor, the wood from the handle of the starting crank, and a considerable portion of the after part of the hood. The danger at any time was very slight, but would seem great to anyone not accustomed to gasolene, and who did not know its properties and how to handle it. Mr. Bowden said afterward that he usually carried a chemical fire extinguisher aboard, but had left it ashore for this race, otherwise the fire could have been quickly extinguished and the race completed.
During the excitement caused by the fire, boats were finishing, and Sheboygan, Tuna, Magneto, Dixie, Skedaddle and Sparrow proved the winners of their respective classes. Sheboygan saved her time handily over Torino, as did Tuna in her class, and Anona and Baby Daly finished within a minutes, the former, which was a scratch boat, taking second place. Ino gave up because of heavy weather. Vesuvius ran out of gasolene within 100 yards of the finish and took a tow. As the tide was with her, she would have floated across the line and made her finish without assistance. Irene was unfortunate in having something go wrong with her struts. She made the first round only 2 minutes and 13 seconds slower than Dixie, in spite of the fact that she missed the lower mark, gone up to the home mark, been warned of having missed it, and then gone way back and around it again, and then only fallen behind Dixie by the amount stated. This would seem to show that her speed was greater than that of Dixie, but unfortunately through the breakdown she was not able to show this conclusively, and in reality the fastest boat is the one which can finish.
In the race for the National trophy, Skedaddle won easily, saving her time allowance over Elco and XPDNC. The former ran very consistently, while the latter must have stopped during her first round as her time for this was abnormal. In the Inter-State trophy race, Sparrow won handily, defeating all her competitors without the necessity of her time allowance. Yvonne took second place, Durno third, Colonia fourth and White Fox fifth, the others not finishing, most of them being put out of business by floating logs or other obstructions with which the river seems to abound. In fact, for racing motorboats hardly any more unsuitable place than the Hudson could be found, from this standpoint, as also from the standpoint of tides, which are so strong as to affect the running and make records almost impossible.
The weather gods were also unpropitious on Friday, and while there was not so much rain, still the sky was overcast and dull, and a stiff wind was blowing from the northwest which for the boats which ran the long course, made it difficult about the upper buoy in the wide water in the neighborhood of Tubby Hook. The start was somewhat delayed by weather conditions and by the stake boats not being in position. Sheboygan and Torino got away at 3:10, followed at 3:15 by Tuna, Anona and baby Daly. Ino started in her class, but again mistook the signal and started with he Interstate Trophy contestants. Magneto smashed her reverse gear and was unable to start.
In the twelve-meter racer class, Dixie, Den and Vesuvius started, Irene having been unable to make complete repairs, and although she was present at the start, departed shortly afterward for home. Elco, XPDNC and Skedaddle started in their class, as did Yvonne, Blue Peter, La Petite, Durno, White Fox, Colonia, Sparrow and Josephine in the interstate class. As in the previous day's race, Sheboygan finished her first round soon after the start of the 12-meter class, and the others followed at close intervals, but at slightly slower times than the previous day. Sheboygan, Tuna, Dixie, Skedaddle and Sparrow won in their respective classes, and the committee anxiously looked for Durno, White Fox and Vesuvius, which were the last boats to finish. Durno appeared practically on schedule time, and reported that she had seen Vesuvius floating close to the upper mark with apparently no one on board. This caused a flurry of excitement, and when shortly afterward White Fox came in and reported that the seas were very heavy at the up-river mark, so heavy, in fact, as to fill her with water half-way up the fly-wheel, and make her abandon the race, the anxiety aboard the clubhouse as to the fate of Vesuvius increased. The committee remained at their post until dusk and also sent out boats to look for Vesuvius. it was not until evening that the news of the drowning of her crew reached the office of the secretary.
It seems that in coming up to the upper mark for her last round, she appeared through the mist to the watchers on the stake boat close under the Jersey shore. She took a wide circle out into the river and around the committee boat, and squared away for her run down the river. Those on the committee boat say that just at this time Mr. Odiorne, her steersman and the designer of the Hurd & Haggin motor with which she was equipped, stood up to reach for his watch inside his oilskin coat. Just at this instant Vesuvius took a sudden shear and threw him overboard. The engineer, Ferris, an employee of Hurd & Haggin, saw him fall, quickly shut down the motor and dived overboard after him. The Vesuvius had swung so that the two men in the water could not be seen from the stake boat, but on the Jersey shore was a camp, from which a number were watching the progress of the race. Two chaps, who immediately put off from this camp, clad in bathing suits, in a canoe, went to the rescue, but neither of the crew rose. Doubtless the weight of their clothing -- their heavy oilskins and rubber boots -- was too great to permit them to swim, even if they knew how, which it is said Mr. Odiorne did not.
After the fruitless attempt on the part of the canoemen to rescue the crew of Vesuvius, she floated uninjured down the river until the revenue cutter, which was policing the course, caught sight of the frantic signals from the stake boat, which was without a horn or other means of calling attention except through raising or lowering her mark flag. Finally the revenue cutter came leisurely down the river and took the mark boat in tow. She then went down after the Vesuvius, and instead of taking her in tow astern, fastened alongside and proceeded at a good speed for Inwood. As was to be expected a racing motorboat could not withstand this sort of treatment. Although uninjured, she was soon filled with water from the wash of the steamer and would have sunk had not one of the chaps aboard the stake boat, as a matter of precaution, fastened a strong line about her amidships. The cutter took her in close to the dock at Inwood before she sank, and the line with which she was fastened was made fast to the dock, so as to hold her from drifting down the river. In making the landing at Inwood the revenue cutter did not slow down, as is usual, but reversed at speed. This caught the deck of the Arcadia, the stake boat, under her counter, and smashed in the forward end of the cabin roof. She then proceeded down the river with Arcadia in tow toward the clubhouse, but instead of bringing her in close to the shore, cut her adrift in the middle of the river, and told her to float in. As Arcadia was without lights, and also was minus a spark coil, so that her own engine could not be used, she was at the mercy of the tide and in a very dangerous position from vessels passing up and down the river. Her crew called for help through megaphones, and were finally towed ashore by a friendly launch. It would seem that the conduct of the officer in charge of the revenue cutter should be subject to an official inquiry.
This accident was such as is liable to happen in any sport, for which no one was directly to blame, and which cannot be laid to any fault either in the design of the hull or motor. It is one of those unavoidable occurrences which is liable to happen at any time, but it points very clearly to the necessity of regatta committees requiring not only that racing boats shall be equipped with life preservers but that the crews must be compelled to wear them throughout the race. In a number of the boats entered in this Carnival the crews did wear life preservers. They did not need them, but no one could tell when they might be called for.
In the death of Mr. Odiorne the industry loses one of its brightest young men. He was not widely known, but those who had met him personally could not help but be impressed with his earnestness and honesty. Tall, dark and smooth shaven, he had piercing black eyes which looked straight at you, and impressed even a casual acquaintance with his straightforwardness. He had an extended experience for his years, having been through the university of hard experience and practical work, and the motor which he designed for Hurd & Haggin was winning its way into popularity because of its sterling qualities. The fear of an accident cast a gloom over those at the clubhouse even before it was known to have occurred, and dampened the ardor of all.
Saturday, the final day of the Carnival, opened with brilliant sunshine and a crisp breeze from the northwest, which strove to dispel the gloom which surrounded all the contestants as a result of the accident of the night before. A considerable number of the contestants wished to abandon the races, and to allow the cups to be awarded as the result of the first two days' racing. But, as a number of interests had to be considered, and as precedents under similar conditions pointed to a continuance of the Carnival, it was decided to run off the races. All appreciated and understood the feeling which prompted the proposal to abandon the events, but, as the cups given by the Manufacturer's Association were under a deed of gift which specified three days' racing, and there was a possibility of endless dispute should these conditions not be carried out, it was decided that the band which had been engaged should be dismissed, and that the fireworks display and Venetian fete of the evening should be cut down, if not totally abandoned.
The deliberations and consultations which led up to this decision consumed considerable time, so that the starting gun was not given until 3:25. A number of the contestants dropped out out of respect to Mr. Odiorne, and Sheboygan started in her class alone, as did Tuna and Magneto in theirs. In the 12-meter class Dixie and Den fought it out, as did Elco and Skedaddle in the National trophy race. In the Inter-State event Yvonne, Durno, White Fox, Colonia, Sparrow and Josephine came to the line and made a very pretty start. It was a foregone conclusion that Sheboygan and Tuna would win in their classes, which they did, not being pushed to any great extent. Magneto had been repaired from her accident of Friday, but broke down and did not finish. She, however, wins the event by default, as Ino also did not finish on either of the two days on which they started. For the International trophy Dixie won, making almost as good time as that of the second day, which compares favorably with her time in any event during the regatta. She entered the last race with six points in her favor, and would have won had she not entered for the last day, but, as it is, takes the cup by a safe margin of 8 points against Den's 3. Skedaddle takes the National trophy with 8 points to her credit, as against 4 for Elco and 3 for XPDNC. Skedaddle was not pushed in this last race, and only defeated Elco, which made the best time of her three races by 25 seconds. In the Inter-State trophy race, Yvonne struck a log on her first round, which so damaged her shaft and propeller that she was unable to finish. Sparrow again defeated her competitors without her time allowance, and won the trophy with 24 points, against Colonia's 18, Durno's 14, Yvonne's 13, Josephine's 10, White Fox's 8 and Blue Peter's 6. Durno was the smallest boat entered in point of size, but as she was equipped with a two-cycle motor did not receive the handicap to which she seemed to be entitled under a more equitable rule,
This finished the week's racing, and brought to a close the most successful carnival ever held in America from all points -- number of entries, number of finishers, records made, and general interest.
The Parade Abandoned
On account of the accident to Vesuvius, the illuminated parade, ot Venetian fete scheduled for Saturday evening was called off, but as the fireworks were already put into place it was decided to use them, and the large number who remained aboard the clubhouse were amply repaid for staying. A number of set pieced were used, such as the burgee of the club in colors, the outline of
Simplex, the portrait of the Commodore, with sky rockets and roman candles galore. The evening ended in a blaze of glory which unfortunately set the awning of the clubhouse on fire, but it was quickly extinguished and the Carnival was brought to a close by an illuminated "Good-night."
The performances of Standard in the mile and kilometer trials upon Monday and the record which she made led to a proposal from the Regatta Committee of the Motor Boat Club of America that at the first opportunity during the Carnival week she made six runs over the miles in order to establish an official record under naval conditions of timing, which could leave no doubt as to its validity. It was intended to run off this trial after the Free for All on Wednesday, but unfortunately the accident to her rudder made this impossible. a quick repair was made, however, and on Saturday morning she came up the river in time, so that the trials could be run before the regular events of the afternoon. As Chairman Tower, of the committee, was unavoidably absent, his place on the committee was taken by Dr. Louis Neumann, an old hand at timing, and Standard proceeded up the river for her first run over the mile. Dr, Neumann and M. M. Whitaker were stationed in the after cockpit while E. A. Stevens Jr., was stationed forward with the steersman. The tide was running out, about an hour before the ebb, the weather conditions were not the best for a speed trial as, although the sun was shining brightly, there was a 15-mile breeze from the northwest, which kicked up quite a nasty sea when running up the river against the tide. The course, as will be remembered, was over the government nautical mile, and hence is beyond question as to accuracy of measurement.
Standard ran up the river for about a half mile and then came down at half speed until within a short distance of the start, when Mr. Riotte opened her up and the water commenced to fly. One of the committee was unprovided with a rubber coat and promptly ducked below the cockpit, with only his head and one arm to protect him from spray showing, as he snapped the watch for the start.
One often hears of the exhilaration of high speed, and when Standard is moving at her best one realizes what it means. Even going as she was with the tide and wind, a constant stream of spray flew overhead and cut one's face like a knife. The steady rhythmic beat of the engine and the slight vibration of the shaft as it passed out through the hull, together with the flying spray and the momentary sight of objects as they flew by gave a sensation that one will not soon forget. Things were wet to be sure, but it is not every day that one has an opportunity of riding in a boat that is making a world's record. One's attention is divided between glances at the watch and looking for the range poles which mark the end of the mile. When the watch showed two minutes and only apparently a little distance to go, the expectation of phenomenal speed was the first thing that flashed through the minds of the timers. As the second had traveled round it seemed as though the boat must have slowed down, but the finish was caught at 2:10:2-5, which figures out at 31.73 statute miles per hour, a speed never before made in this country and not equaled anywhere by a motorboat under similar conditions.
Once over the mile the motor was again slowed down and a wide circuit taken down the river to prepare for the return run. Everyone immediately stood up and rubbed the salt water out of his eyes, compared watches, noted down the figures of the different timers, and prepared for the return run against wind and tide. On this run it happened that one of the big Hudson River boats was going over the course, so that in making her return Standard had to cross its wake. On this run against wind and tide, the spray flew even more than on the down trip. In fact there was one consistent stream of water overhead, and at times when looking up one could see nothing but clouds of spray. When Standard struck the wake of the steamer it seemed that the entire Hudson River was lifted overhead. The time on the run was 2:33 1-5.
The other runs on the mile were repetitions of the first two except that the times varied slightly. On the third run with the tide, Mr. Riotte slowed down the motor just before reaching the finish through believing he had passed it, and so increased the time for this run. On flying runs such as these, one cannot remember or realize their sensations until it is all over, in fact, one has hardly time to get breath, but as an experience, it is one to be remembered with pleasure.
The record made by the Standard on this test, figured out upon the Navy system by mean of means, shows that she made the average speed of 25.4525 nautical miles per hour, or 29.503 statute miles per hour. The British mile trials were run four times over the mile as against six for Standard. The best speed made at these trials was that of Napier II, which made 23.69 nautical miles per hour. The best time made at Monaco last spring for the nautical mile was that of Fiat XIII, which made one run over the mile from standing start in 2:25, or 28.6 statute miles per hour. Only one run was made, as there is no tide to speak of in the Mediterranean. Hence it would seem that the record made by Standard is the world's record for a motorboat under admiralty conditions, and at last a record is heralded upon this side of the ocean. Standard's owner and builders deserve the highest credit for the care and study which they have given to designing and building such a wonderful piece of machinery as her motor has turned out to be.
The summary of the trials, with the determination of the mean times, follows:
|Tide||Time||Nautical miles||1st mean||2nd mean||3rd mean||4th mean|
(Transcribed from The Motor Boat, Sep. 25, 1906, pp.1-19 )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. LF]
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 2000