1906 Palm Beach Regatta
The Florida Race Meet
The Palm Beach motor boat races this year over the excellent Lake Worth courses were generally successful. The entry list was sufficiently large to make the contests interesting at all times and what marked these events distinctively in comparison with former events was the fact that there was a full list of starters each day and few breakdowns on the course.
Two things were lacking to make this meet completely successful; the presence of Dixie and others of her high-powered sisters and an adequate and practical system of handicapping. Regarding the latter, there was much disappointment among the racing men who had hoped that the new A.P.B.A. ratings and time-allowances would work out so well that the coming season could be looked forward to with satisfaction. As it is, the new rules will have to be further revised before the big races of the summer come on. The processions of the first two days were so commonplace and utterly devoid of the spirit of competition and the necessary interest which only comes from ever changing positions and prospects of the racers, that the judges wisely let go all precedent and rearranged the handicaps, basing them on the actual performances of the competing craft in the early races.
When the new schedule was announced there was general feeling of relief expressed on all sides. Theory is a finely-woven subject to discuss on the veranda, but it oftimes looks pretty badly worn and threadbare on the race course. So it was that the later races were more normal and the finished more or less exciting.
Taking up the question of individual performances, there was nothing out of the ordinary from a speed standpoint in the showing of any of the boats. Mercedes, Mr. Bowden's standby, that won the mile trophy race by a wide margin, made unusually slow time compared with established records. Second honors for this race and for the meet as well went to "23," a southern boat, built by George Gingras, of Rockledge, Fla. In fact, the southerners did well in all the classes and won their full share of honors.
Three new boat from the north, Topsy, Carita and Allon, are worthy of note both from the wholesome character of their design and their consistent performances. The first named is a 35-foot, 50-horsepower Electric launch Co. product, one of their standard auto-boat models and she proved her worth to a high degree. She lacked the tuning up necessary for hard racing but her troubles were inconsequential and easily remedied. Carita is a 30-horsepower Godshalk boat of about Topsy's size and hr work was excellent. Allon is credited to Smith & Mabley and is a 30-foot, 30-horsepower stock model of the yacht tender type. All three of these boat are round, sweet, handsome models with high freeboard and good carrying accommodations. There is nothing of the freak about them and their unbounded limit of general usefulness makes their showing in the races extremely creditable. Such craft as these meet the needs of the average motor boat user and cannot help but be appreciated by those who love the sport and love a good, true boat for the sake of it.
In conclusion what benefits to the racing sport will be derived from the experience of those who raced at Palm Beach? Some two score keen racing men took part in the contests, at one time or another and it is a safe presumption that every one took home with him the certain opinion that the classification and rating of motor boats may best be determined by actual trial and that that method is the only one now known that will insure the best results without discrimination. Of course, such a practical method will jar on the technical sensibilities of the experts but it will put a premium on handling of both boat and engine and insure sure success to the efficient motor that runs smoothly under all conditions. Engine builders will spend more time in perfecting a reliable machine than in designing one to beat the rules.
Also the sentiment seems to be growing that one does not need a high-powered, high-priced shell to be successful and to enjoy the racing in the keenest sense. There seems to be a tendency, just as in the sailing sport, to come to a more conservative and useful semi-racing type. This is the most cheering word that has been heard so far and indicated that sound common sense will prevail among racing men and that the sport will rise to a pinnacle of popularity such as it deserves.
(Transcribed from Boating, March, 1906, pp. 90-91. )
[For those interested in the evolution of American English, this is the earliest boating article that uses the term "horsepower" as a single entity, unbroken and unhyphenated - GWC]
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. LF]
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