1906 Monte Carlo
The Monaco Meet is on. As this issue is being put to press a fine bunch of new and old flyers are clipping the Mediterranean waters, just about the place where the Prince is, and where play is high, and where, too, notabilities and notorieties from all ends of the earth are looking on. Details have not yet come to hand; they will be published in our April 25th issue. meanwhile a glance rearward will be of interest to the lover of motorboat racing, and perhaps of importance and value to the builder.
This regatta, by far the most important in the world, both in size of entry list and its international character, will probably be even more successful this year than in the past. This is the "third annual," and, while the entry list is not as large as that of last year, the average quality is higher and the entries show a tendency on the part of the makers toward a more rational and useful boat. The racers, especially in the small classes, are not as numerous as heretofore; but in the large class --- 18 meters --- are several craft which seem to herald the coming of motorboats suitable for naval purposes.
In 1904 the entries were numerous, but, as the high-speed motorboat was a new proposition and presented many unsolved problems, the builders were largely experimenting and there were many failures. Such boats as Parisianne, in the light of subsequent experience, had no excuse for being; but on the other hand, while these errors were costly, they showed the way in which the development would be likely to come, and such boats as La Rapee III, with hull by Tellier and motor by the well-known Panhard firm, earned a well-merited success. In the same way, Trefle-a-Quatre, though freaky in appearance, proved that she was built on correct lines for the purpose for which she was intended. Her motor, a Richard Brasier, also earned an enviable reputation which was further augmented by the victory in the Gordon Bennett Cup race (automobiles). Its performance, both on land and water, placed this motor high in the esteem of the public and assured the success of its makers. La Rapee III and Trefle-a-Quatre, in a way were opposite types. While the form below water in both cases was the double wedge, above water they were very dissimilar. These two boats were the founders of types; but the form of La Rapee is more followed than that of Trefle-a-Quatre, as it is more normal in appearance and is more attractive to the eye.
In 1905 the entry list was much larger than that of 1904., and the boats were less freaky and more uniform in quality. A successor of La Rapee III, La Rapiere, was the most consistent performer of the meet, and, though only about 26 feet long, made a record nearly as good in speed as the boats of the next larger class, the 40-footers. During the races of 1904 the sea was practically dead calm, while in 1905 Boreas and Neptune made things warm for the competitors, with the result that nearly all were, at times, put out of the running. To one accustomed to racing on this side, which is generally in sheltered waters or, if on the open sea, is held in comparatively calm days, the conditions at Monaco can hardly be appreciated. here the course is practically in the open sea and the racers are driven at full speed as long as they can stand it. The sight of a races plunging into a head sea and at times jumping half its length out of the water, to come down with a thud and a splash on the next wave, is thrilling in the extreme for the spectator, but rather nerve-racking for the competitor. That any stand the strain is remarkable, and that a few were unequal to it was to be expected.
It speaks well for the construction of these little boats that they were able to stand the racket and, in many cases, to continue racing throughout the season. The course is harder than ours in another way, that is, in the length of the races. In previous years most of the events have been run over a distance of 100 kilometers --- 62 miles --- the course being a pentagon, 12 1/2 kilometers in circuit; but, because of the enormous amount of fuel which the big racing motors consume, the races this year are reduced in a majority of cases to 50 kilometers, and the course laid out is a pentagon of 10 kilometers. This keeps the racers in sight of the spectators and adds interest to the events.
It is not expected that all boats that are entered will appear at the starting line, for it is necessary to make the entries early, and in some cases the building of some of the boats had not even begun when the entry was made; but still, from the number that are known to be ready, the list is a formidable one. Among these boats Antoinette V, one of a series built by Pitre and equipped with Lavavasseur motors, is the most interesting and radical in her construction and power. The Levavasseur motors, which have been described from time to time in THE MOTOR BOAT, have earned a great reputation during the past season from the performances of Antoinette III. The Antoinette series consists of four boats with single twin or triple screws and motors varying in power from 24-h. to 600-h. All these boats have not as yet been completed and may not be completed in time to take part in the Monaco regatta; but Antoinette V, said to be equipped with triple screws and three motors of 200-h. each, should either be a glowing success or a dismal failure. This is the largest power that has ever been installed in a boat of the size and, judging from the success of Antoinette III, the chances of her success are rather good. Still, 600-h.p. in a 40-foot hull presents grave problems.
Various rumors are afloat crediting Antoinette V with a speed from 47 to 53 miles per hour. If the sea is calm, such a thing might be possible, but what the effect of striking a wave might be is difficult to forecast. The hull of this boat was built by Pitre last year for a 250-h. Hotchkiss motor, but it was not completed in time and has never been used. In design it is very similar to that of Mercedes-Charley, the 180-h. boat which last year had wonderful speed but was unable to complete any race through heating of the bearings. The hull is typically French in design and shows a long easy entrance and broad flat stern, well decked in and with motors well protected. It is 39.35 feet long and 5.57 feet wide. In contrast to this the hull of La Rapiere II, built by Tellier, who has turned out so many successful boats in connection with the Panhard motors. Leaving out of account the difference in length, the two hulls show plainly the individuality of their designers.
La Rapiere II, while on the double-wedge principle, has fuller lines forward and creates a greater fuss when traveling at full speed than would Antoinette III, which raced in the same class as her predecessor, La Rapiere I. The rivalry of these two firms of hull builders has always been exceedingly keen and in previous years has furnished the principal excitement in the foreign racing. There is to be an Antoinette this year also in the same class as La Rapiere II, ands also a duplicate hull of La Rapiere II, called Seasick, which is being equipped with a 120-h. Italia motor, while that of La Rapiere II will have a 100-h. Panhard and that of Antoinette, it is said, two 200-h motors driving twin screws. While the power of the motors is different and varies widely among these three competitors, the race is not always to the biggest power and, handled by her designer, La Rapiere II should be a hard nut to crack..
Last year the best records, taking everything into consideration, were made by the 8-meter class; but this year the 12-meter class will probably show the greatest speed, as the entry list is very large and includes some boats which are finely designed and built. In addition to Antoinette V already mentioned, the class will include Yarrow-Napier, a 40-footer equipped with the two motors which drove Napier II with such reliability and regularity last season. Yarrow-Napier has a hull built on lines similar to those of Napier II, but this year her builders have abandoned steel in favor of the well-known Saunders sewn construction. By this means the displacement has been considerably reduced, and it is expected that the resiliency of the sewn construction will obviate the troubles which Napier II had last year due to the buckling of the steel plates under the forefoot.
The form of Yarrow-Napier has a rather blunt bow and is flat from stem to stern, the idea of the design being that the hull will rise to the surface and hence meet with less resistance when at full speed. A glance at the illustration shows the flam which has been worked into the construction of the new hull in place of the whiskers which were formerly attached to the bow of the Napier II to throw the spray away. This form of hull carries what is apparently an enormous bow wave, but is in reality only a thin wall of spray. In Napier Minor and Napier II, before the whiskers were attached, this was exceedingly troublesome to the helmsman. Yarrow-Napier has a double exhaust system which allows the exhaust to be discharged either under the water at the stern or upward through a funnel, and, as the exhaust is water-cooled, the boat has the appearance of a steamer when it is discharged through the funnel. In private trials Yarrow-Napier has shown a speed of 31.4 miles per hour, which will make her a dangerous competitor in any company.
The dark horse of the English contingent is the Siola, another 12-meter racer built by Saunders and engined with the six-cylinder Napier motor. Siola is 39.35 feet long, a little over 5 feet in breadth, with about 15 inches draft. Her hull weighs about 800 pounds and the motor about 2,200. She is owned by Lionel de Rothschild and the speed she has made on trial has been kept sub rosa. In this class is also Rose en Soliel, a racer with nickel-steel hull, owned by Lord Howard de Walden and equipped with two quadruple expansion steam engines and Thornycroft type water tube boilers. The engine has cylinders of 3 3/4, 5, 7 1/2 and 11 inches diameter, and the whole equipment is built by Simpson, Strickland & Co., of Dartmouth, South Devon. Heretofore steam has held rather a minor position in these events, but this year, both in racing and cruising classes, several steamers will try conclusions with the gasolene motors.
In the 18 meter classes there are two boats which should give good account of themselves, notably, Dubonnet, which was the most successful of the class last year, although her performance was erratic. She was equipped with a big four-cylinder 400-h. Delayahe motor, and made the greatest speed for the flying kilometer and mile yet recorded and this, it is said, without the motor running at its full speed, as the torque reaction of the propeller upon the hull made that dangerous. This year Dubonnet, which is 48.18 feet long and 5.07 feet wide, is equipped with two 120-h. De Dietrich motors similar in type to those used so successfully by this company in their racing cars; the cylinders are approximately 7 1/2 inches in diameter and with 6-inch stroke. The installation of the motor is in many respects interesting. Either motor can be started separately, or if the after one is going, the forward one can be started by throwing in the clutch which connects them. The control mechanism for the motors is separated and interdependent, and the revers gear is an improvement of the old belt idea. When going ahead, the propeller is solidly locked to the motor by the friction clutch, while, to reverse, this clutch is disconnected, the belt is tightened, and the propeller revolves in an opposite direction. The hull of Dubonnet is constructed of triple skins, that of the interior running transversally, the next diagonally, and that of the outside fore and aft. The framing is on the longitudinal system with transverse frames spaced about three feet apart, except in the neighborhood of the motor, where heavier frames are fitted and the spacing is reduced. By reference to the numbers of THE MOTOR BOAT of April 10 and 25 of last year, the general appearance of the hull of Dubonnet may be noted. She is another of Tellier's productions and is a beautiful piece of work.
In this class also is another very interesting boat, not so much for its speed as a racer as from its possibilities as a forerunner of the motorboat for naval purposes. This boat is the Mercedes D.L.,
a 17 1/2 meter steel hull equipped with a 200-h. Mercedes marine motor of special design. Mercedes motors have long had an excellent reputation in motor cars, but for marine service, which demands a lower number of revolutions, Herr Jellineck-Mercedes has designed an entirely new type. It has cylinders approximately 6 5/8 diameter and 11 3/4 stroke. The hull is divided into four compartments, the first being a water-tight collision compartment, the second furnished quarters for the crew and is entered through a hatch in the deck, the third contains the motor and fuel --- the latter being under a water-tight cockpit --- and the last compartment, at the stern, is also water-tight, and with that at the bow would furnish sufficient buoyancy to float the hull with the other compartments full of water. In form the hull follows the current French practice for torpedo boats, having the veed transom first brought out by Normand. In appearance the boat resembles the second Dubonnet hull which was built last year. The deck forward has rather a flat crown, but over the living quarters and motor room there is a high crown and of such form to throw aside the water and make the boat capable of good speed in any sea. In purpose she is very similar to the "1176," recently brought out by Yarrow, and the performance of the two boats should furnish interesting data for naval work.
Nautilus-Turgan and La Lorraine are good examples of what the French term cruisers. They would hardly be called cruisers here, only differing from the racers in being restricted as to the freeboard, passenger capacity, and the power of the motor. The type corresponds somewhat to our idea of the fast cruiser or runabout. In general they are fitted with somewhat smaller motors than the out-and-out racers and yet have very good speed. In this class last year Delahaye- Nautilus made a record of over 20 miles an hour and proved very reliable under all conditions. Both of these boats are in the 18-meter class, La Lorraine being 12.8 meters long and Nautilus-Turgan about the same size. The latter's hull exhibits the extreme double-wedge type, very deep and sharp forward and without much evidence of the usual flat stern. She was built by Blondau, who brought out Dietrich-Skimmer last Fall, and will be equipped with a Turgan motor of about 50-h.p. La Lorraine was built by Chantiers d'Antibes and will be equipped with a De Dietrich motor of half the power of Dubonnet. Calipso is also a cruiser but in a smaller class. She is 9 meters long, will be equipped with a 50-h. Mors motor, and has a tunnel stern. These are only a few of the new boats which will make their debut at Monaco, but they illustrate the progress in motorboat construction abroad.
Among the novelties in construction is the motor of La Glaive which, according to report, will have phosphore-bronze cylinders and movable cast iron cylinder heads. This construction, it is said, has been patented and great things are claimed for it. The construction, however, is not new, as it was used in Canada four or five years ago and discarded. The performance of the motor under the hard conditions of the races will, however, be exceedingly interesting. This short description of Monaco and its entrants by no means tells the whole story; but the good ideas brought out at this meet will slowly filter through the press, and users will finally reap the result.
(Transcribed from The Motor Boat, April 10, 1906, pp. 10-14. )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page LF]
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