1907 Hudson River Water Carnival
The Hudson River Carnival
Third Annual Race Meet of the Manufacturer's Association
Held under the Auspices of the Motor Boat Club of America
In spite of bad weather, the Carnival of the Motor Boat Club of America, held on the Hudson during the week of September 23rd, proved very successful, both in the number of entries and in enthusiasm shown. The date set was unfortunate, as it was that of the Equinoctial, but at the time the arrangement of dates was made, none other seemed suitable without clashing with other events. Last Spring, when the date was settled upon, the Gold Cup races on the St. Lawrence and the Carnival at Jamestown loomed big upon the horizon, and the committee tried to arrange a schedule that would allow plenty of time for competitors to take in all three events. As it turned out, only one racing boat, the Dixie, has taken part in two events, those at Jamestown and the Hudson Carnival, and another year will probably see the big event run off near the first of September.
This year's racing on the Hudson has only accentuated the opinion, so freely expressed last year, that this location is totally unsuitable for motorboat racing, principally because of the floating refuse which claimed its portion of victims this year as it did last, Dixie and Den being among the principal sufferers. Another feature of this year's Carnival was a the large number of cruising boats which competed, and which furnished extremely close racing. The racing classes did not bring out quite as many competitors, and fewer new boats were present, Jencick, painted a brilliant red, and entered in the 40-foot class, being the only large racer present with which the public is not already familiar. She came down from New Rochelle on Wednesday to enter the International Trophy class, but, unfortunately, was not sufficiently tuned up before the races, and on her run down heated a bearing, so she was unable to enter. The new Den probably created more interest than any other of the racing division, and she is certainly a remarkable performer. She has not yet been measured, but her length is between 30 and 31 feet. She is very similar to last year's Den in form, but the new boat has a plumb stem and a rounded transom instead of the lines being drawn out as in the former boat. She runs well at full speed with at least a third of her length forward out of water, and her records show that she is among the first flight in this country. She is equipped with a motor the same size as last year's boat, but is undoubtedly capable of a much higher speed.
Among the other new racers id Durno II, a 25-footer equipped with a four-cylinder Rochester motor, which unfortunately burned out a bearing in the reliability trials and was not able to compete again until Saturday's long- distance race to Poughkeepsie. Speedway is another of this year's boats, and, as her name indicates, is a product of the Gas Engine and Power Co. and Chas. L. Seabury Co., Consolidated. She is a 45-footer, built on somewhat similar lines to last year's Speedway, and equipped with a six-cylinder four-cycle motor, with cylinders of 6 1/2-inch bore and 8-inch stroke.
Fairbanks II, although not a new boat, and raced considerably on the Sound last season, made her first appearance on the Hudson in the long-distance race to Poughkeepsie, and made a very creditable performance. Prodigy is another of the new ones, a very trim-looking craft built by the New York Yacht, Launch & Engine Co. and equipped with one of their 20th Century motors. She also competed only in the long-distance race, and then in the cruiser class, as her rating was just under that which would throw her into the racing class. She made the second best time in this event, and will probably come within a narrow margin of winning in her class.
Among the old friends was the Dixie, just back from her very successful European invasion and also from participating in what races were held at Jamestown. There she had the misfortune of striking a log, and breaking her crank-shaft. This was hastily repaired, and she was entered in all the Carnival events, but evidently the damage at Jamestown went further than would appear on the surface, because she suffered from a series of accidents which prevented her from finishing in any of her events, and culminated in the discovery that one of her cylinders was cracked, and as no duplicate cylinders were available, this compelled her retirement from the Carnival. Her series of accidents was very unfortunate as, with the two new boats in her class, the racing would have been the prettiest ever seen on the Hudson. As it was, the results are inconclusive, for she was certainly not running in her usual form. Still Dixie has a well-earned record, extending over several years, such as no other racing boat has ever made, which goes far to prove that the racing motorboat is not an ephemeral creation, but, when properly handled and cared for, does not necessarily become useless after a season's racing.
Skedaddle, which did so well last year, is running in much better form this season, and constantly improving her performance at each appearance. Indeed, it was apparent even to a casual observer that her pace was much improved, and she lifted out of the water much more than before and apparently traveled much more freely. XPDNC, also another of the old corps of racing boats, was present to challenge for the National Trophy, which was won from her last year by Skedaddle, and ran beautifully and uniformly in all her races, but the improvement in the performance of Skedaddle prevented her from regaining the cup.
Irene, which was so unfortunate in her races of last year, this year put up a premier performance and carried everything before her in the speed boat class. Her experience with logs in the river last year prevented her making a finish, and although at that time everyone conceded she was an extremely fast boat, she was not able to make good the predictions of her friends. She is a beamy, comfortable 40-footer, built by John S. Sheppard, of Essington, Pa., from his own designs, and engined with two four-cylinder Chadwick motors of 8-inch bore and 7-inch stroke. She was compelled to retire from one of her races because her ignition apparatus was put down and out in one of the heavy rain squalls which marred the week's racing. However, she deserves the highest credit for her performance and should ne reckoned with among the defenders of the Harmsworth trophy which Dixie brought home. Sparrow, winner of three cups last year, was on hand to bag another crop of trophies and although not as successful as last year, ran as cleanly as ever and apparently made as good time. Indeed, she improved her record in the long-distance event. and had it not been for meeting with a piece of floating wreckage in the reliability trials, which lodges between her rudder and the hull and made it necessary to run at top speed to maintain her schedule and thus used up her remaining supply of gasolene, should would probably have stood a good chance of winning this cup again. Ralaco, which obtained second prize for reliability last year, also contested in this event, and ran with uniformity throughout.
This year's races were run off under the new rating rule gotten up by the Jamestown committee, and adopted by the Motor Boat Club of America, but unfortunately many of the owners put off having their boats measured until the last minute, with the result that the club's measurer was driven nearly crazy. many of the boats were entered subject to measurement after the events were over, but the lack of proper measurement in several of the classes prevents the announcement of the winner until this has been done. This detracted somewhat from the interest in the races, as even now the winners of some of the events are in doubt. It is too early to state how the rule will work out, but a study of the tables would indicate that at least it is no worse than the formula previously used.
The general attendance at the Carnival was not as large as that of last year, but this was largely accounted for by the miserable weather during the first of the week and the uncertainty during the latter part. Those who did attend, however, were very enthusiastic, and certainly there were more close finishes and more excitement than at any other carnival. The gallery on the park slope was also enthusiastic, and the noise and shouting in many instances reminded one of a close finish at the racetrack.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23d, OPENING DAY
Monday, the day set for the reliability trials, dawned dark and gloomy, with one of those Scotch mists which wet an Irishman's bones. The prospect of going around, around and around for six hours was not enticing, and it was remarkable that even eight contestants, one less than last year, appeared out of the entry list of eighteen. About half of the boats were open and had no protection from the weather, so that the committee had some difficulty in obtaining observers for the boats, but both owners and observers showed good sporting blood and enthusiasm.
The event was Started on time, with Durno II, Sparrow, Speedway, Speedway Jr., all open boats, and Mao II, Myosotis, Ralaco and Idler, cruisers. The course was laid off from the club-house at the foot of One Hundred and Eighth Street to a buoy up the river off Fort Washington Point, and from there to another buoy located close to the Jersey shore about opposite Sixty-sixth Street, and from this back to the start at the club-house, the course being ten nautical miles in length. This same course was used throughout the week for all events except the mile trials and the long-distance race. The boats got away well together, but, of course the higher speed contingent immediately pulled away from their slower brothers, and the little knot of spectators at the start settled down to the grind, not much better protected than those in the open boats, for the awning over the club-house roof soon developed a fine assortment of leaks, which kept all hands dodging from place to place, or else taking refuge under umbrellas.
Sparrow and Speedway came round first close together and, in fact, made a very pretty race throughout the whole run until Sparrow ran out of fuel on her ninth round and was compelled to give up. The impromptu race between Sparrow and Speedway, and another equally close between Ralaco and Mao II furnished all the excitement to the onlookers, and it was an open question which of each pair would finish first on each round.
Mao II has been anchored off the club-house much os the Summer, and consequently was the best known of any of the competitors, with the result that, as she appeared on each round, her reception was most enthusiastic, each appearance being greeted with the use of everything that would produce a noise, from the tin pan to a pistol.
As the day advanced the weather became worse rather than better, and rain squalls followed each other in rapid succession. At times the rain shut down so as to hide the opposite bank of the river and some of the competitors had trouble in getting their bearings. The rules under which the event was run off this year give points on a little different basis from those of the previous year, one of the new regulations requiring the boats to be run at uniform speed throughout the six hours. This apparently has worked out well, the variations in times around the course being very small, Sparrow, up to her exit from the event, varying by less than two minutes, and the first three rounds being run off with a variation of only twenty-eight seconds.
As Mao II and Ralaco have not been measured, it is impossible to state the winner of the event at this time. In fact it would be hazardous to prophesy as to what the order of merit would be.
The mile trials were set for Tuesday morning, and the weather gods apparently were favorable insofar as sunlight went, although there was some little wind from the southwest, with promise of more later in the day. Four boats appeared, the Den, Irene, XPDNC and Skedaddle. As some criticism was made last year of the timing methods, the club employed professional timers to clock the different boats. This move turned out to be a mistake, as these timers succeeded in confusing matters to such an extent that the times could not be relied upon, and the committee decided to re-run the event upon the most favorable morning during the week, setting the time at 11 o'clock the next day if conditions could be favorable. The unsatisfactory results of the timing caused considerable disappointment, but under the circumstances the re-run was absolutely necessary. The free-for-all, scheduled for 2 o'clock in the afternoon, was postponed until 4, because of the high sea which prevailed at that time, and as the boats entered were all of the high-speed class, the club wanted to avoid the possibility of the recurrence of any such accident as marred last season's racing.
At 4 o'clock conditions were considerably improved, but only the Dixie was at the club-house, so the event was further postponed until 4:15, by which time Irene had returned and the owners of both Irene and Dixie announced their readiness to start. Den, which during the whole week was anchored alongside the Nushka, which acted as stakeboat opposite the club, was not expected by her owner to take part. Dixie and Irene started within thirty seconds of the gun, Dixie leading Irene by ten seconds. This start was one of the prettiest ever seen on the river. it was with the wind, and the sight of the boats running over the waves and plunging down into the trough, throwing the spray high above them, and at times concealing them, was certainly one to stir the blood of anyone with nautical instinct. Irene proved much the drier of the two boats, and Dixie was let out more than the writer has ever seen her under similar conditions. They could be followed with the eye for up the course by the wings of spray, and when last seen were apparently on even terms. Before they disappeared the roar of Den's engine was heard on the far side of Nushka, and she rounded her stern and started up the course after the leaders, with her bow well out of water, traveling at high speed. Shortly after she disappeared from sight, Skedaddle came across the river, carrying an enormous bone in her teeth, rounded the stakeboat and also started off up the river. After a short interval those with glasses made out two boats coming down the backstretch, and it was seen that Irene was leading Dixie by 200 yards. When about opposite the club-house, Dixie was seen to slow down and stop, and later inquiry developed the fact that she had struck a log, putting her propeller out of business. She was quickly taken in tow, and went up the river to have a new propeller fitted. Irene continued her burst of speed and finished her first round in 25 m. 38 s. actual time from her start. She was followed in about three minutes by Den, who covered the circuit in one second faster actual time than Irene. Skedaddle followed in due course, taking 26 m. 18 s. for the run. Shortly after the boats had passed the home mark a heavy rain squall from the southwest set in, which completely shut out all view of the river and caused considerable anxiety for the safety of the racers. It only lasted about fifteen minutes, but there was a long wait before Irene finally appeared, coming up the river very slowly. She crossed the line at 5:32:53, and caught her mooring at the stern of one of the anchored fleet, giving up the race. Inquiry brought out the fact that the rain squall had so thoroughly soaked her ignition mechanism as to practically stop her, and she was only able to limp home. Den, during the thick part of the squall, struck a log and had to return home. Skedaddle appeared twelve minutes later, coming up the river with a roar, and only had to keep going, as her competitors were eliminated.
Meanwhile the rain had ceased. and while still dark and gloomy and with a high wind, there was very little probability of her not being able to finish. She did finish at 6:08:46, making the best round of the course throughout the Carnival, 24 m. 40 s. When her crew came ashore they stated that on the second round, during the rain squall, the carburetor took fire and they had to stop for several minutes to put out the fire and get things in working order. Skedaddle's total time figures out at a little better than 20 miles per hour, but her fastest round gives a much higher rate than this. She wins the very handsome cup given by Walton Ferguson Jr., for this event.
Wednesday, the first day of the series races for the Manufacturer's Association cups and the cruiser classes, opened fine, with a brisk wind from the southeast, which made it advisable not to attempt to re-run the mile trials, as the possibility of braking records under the conditions was very small. So no event was run off in the morning, but with the starting gun at 2 o'clock for the cruisers, the largest fleet of contestants appeared that has entered in any of the Hudson Carnivals.. It was especially strong in cruisers, but the 33-foot class for the Inter-State cup did not bring out anywhere near as many as last year. The small Class L cruisers started at 2 o'clock with a fleet of six, all of about the same size and rating, Kittu, Juliet, Ralaco, The Rose, Idler and Aquila. Kittu and Juliet are what might properly be called trunk-cabin cruisers, although they are of the modern type, having the sides carried up to form the roof of the deck-house. The Rose is also of this type, while Ralaco is an old acquaintance, and is, we believe, a converted navy cutter. Aquila is also well known through taking part in the first Marblehead race, and Idler is the glass-cabin type of motorboat with raised pilot-house forward. Speedway Jr., which had started with Class E on the first two days, was, on the third day, transferred to this class, as her remeasurement brought her rating within the limit of this class, rather than that of Class E in which she was first placed. She is an open launch of wholesome type, and her speed works out very favorably. She is the type that is useful when the owner does not wish to take too extended runs.
The boats got away close together, and were followed five minuets later by Iris and Ailsa Craig. The former is a very beamy, roomy cruiser with glass cabin, and the latter is the winner of the Bermuda race. Neither of these boats has so far been measured, so that it is impossible to place them, but Ailsa Craig has much higher speed, and made a remarkably pretty sight as she crossed the line.
Class H, containing Mao II, Marie and Wanderlust, got away at 2:10, Wanderlust quickly taking the lead, followed by Marie and Mao II. Considerable rivalry existed between the owners of these boats, and as two of them were sitting close to the committee throughout the race, the chaff and jollying furnished entertainment for the rest of the onlookers. Mao II was enthusiastically received on each of her rounds, as on previous days, even though she brought up the tail end of the procession. All the cruisers were to make two rounds of the circuit of ten miles each, while the racers, which followed, covered a distance of thirty miles.
Class E, for the Inter-State trophy, last year had eleven entries, while this year only six presented themselves. Durno II, owned and raced by that good sportsman, J. H. Durno, is a fast runabout built and engined by the Rochester Gas Engine Co. Flip is an up-the-river flyer which last year captured quite a number of mugs, and has been in training all through the Summer for the class championship. No description of Sparrow is necessary, as she is so well known, but considerable amusement was caused by her carrying a sou-wester, strapped down over her forward exhaust funnel during this race, to prevent the entrance of water, which on Monday had seriously threatened the efficiency of her magneto. Meteor and Artful, two little chaps, completed the class, which got away well together and disappeared up the river.
At 2:20, XPDNC, Skedaddle and Speedway started for the National trophy, XPDNC being the allowing boat, whereas last year Skedaddle gave her time. In the International trophy race only Dixie and Den started, Irene not having had time to dry out her magnetos and get her ignition in good working order. Dixie led over the line, closely followed by Den in a very pretty start, and the onlookers settled down to wait for them to come round. XPDNC came first, followed by Sparrow, with Den close behind, and from then on there was a constant procession of boats flashing across the line. Sparrow and Meteor furnished the best race of their class until the latter abandoned the race for some unknown cause.
The principal interest of the day, at least from the spectator's point of view, was furnished by the racing in Classes A and D, where XPDNC, Skedaddle and Speedway were fighting it out very closely, and the probable time of Den, which was seen to be ahead of Dixie. XPDNC saved her time allowance on Skedaddle, although the latter improved her pace from round to round. Den crossed the line for her first round at 2:50:19, or 25 m. 19 s. elapsed time. She was only a little ahead of Dixie, but the latter stopped a quarter of a mile below the club-house and was later towed in, when it was learned she had broken the gasolene piping close to the union on the carburetor, and had about ten gallons of gasolene in the bottom before the break could be stopped. Den continued her flight -- for it really appears more as a flight than running, when one considers the spray on either side as wings -- and finished the thirty miles in 1:15:52, which figures out at 23 3/4 knots, or 27 1-3 statute miles per hour.
Sparrow finished first in her class by a comfortable margin, Durno burning out a bearing, which necessitated running slowly in order to finish. Aquila had some engine trouble and did not appear after the first round, while Marie also suffered from a hot bearing, which led to more repartee on the part of rival owners, Wanderlust finishing first in this class, while Idler made the best time in her class. Ailsa Craig finished far ahead of her only competitor, and all finished before quarter past 5 except Speedway Jr., which, as has been said before, was racing on this day in Class E.
With the lack of measurement of some of the boats, it was, of course, impossible to assign points in the various classes except for the National trophy, where all the boats had their rating, and XPDNC got three points against Skedaddle's two and Speedway's one. In the International cup race Den won two points. The finishes in Class L were remarkably close, which shows what can be accomplished when classifying the boats closely.
On Thursday morning there was too much wind to run off the mile trials, but the weather was fine, and the boats in the series races were started off as on the previous day. Practically the same boats in the cruiser class started, with the exception of Iris and Marie, but Beldame appeared as a new entry, and made better time than Ailsa Craig, her only competitor. Alabama also started on the second day, and made the best time in her class. Among the racers, Durno was unable to make a repair to her bearings in time to start, and Flip also, for some unknown reason, dropped out of her class. XPDNC, Skedaddle and Speedway started in Class A, while Dixie and Irene fought it out for the International cup., Den having struck a log on the previous day and injured her propeller, which, however, was replaced, but through carelessness of one of her machinists in placing a hammer on top of the storage battery, they were unable to get her motor in operation in time to start. later in the day, however, after the races were all over, she made a private run over the course, and, it is said, made fine time. it appeared later in the day that in attempting to start the motor on the magneto, Mr. herreshoff, who was piloting her, got a back kick which broke his wrist. he, however, gamely stuck to his post and made the three circuits before seeking the attention of a doctor. As on the previous day, the principal interest and excitement centered in the two larger racing classes, and as Skedaddle was going better with each run, there was considerable speculation as to whether XPDNC could save her time allowance, and when Skedaddle finished only three minutes behind, all knew that each had one leg on the cup, and that the final day would be the test. Dixie and Irene were running very closely, with Irene slightly in the lead, and finished the first round with Irene 1 minute 10 seconds ahead. Dixie crossed the line, missing fire, and it was evident that she was not running at her top speed. When she came up for the second round, she stopped just before the club-house and was towed in, when the fact developed that she had cracked her cylinders, and, as no new ones were available, was out of the racing for the rest of the week. it is believed that the cylinders were cracked at the same time that the crank-shaft was broken at the Jamestown regatta, and that this, to a great extent, accounted for her not performing up to the standard which she had set abroad. Her retirement left a clear field for Irene to win a leg on the cup, but Irene's owners were so sure of her that they did not let up in her speed at all and made the following rounds in fast time and completed the course in 1:15:07, the fastest time so far made for 30 miles. Sparrow again led her class by a substantial margin, and unless the unmeasured boats should have remarkably low ratings, it seems very probable that she will again win the Interstate trophy.
On Friday morning the weather gods were propitious for running off the mile trials, and Den and Skedaddle were ready, but, as generally happens in a postponed event, all of the competitors cannot be brought together again, and this proved true in this case, for XPDNC had been hauled out and her propeller changed for one more suitable for long distance work. As a result, her owner did not bring her to the line, nor did Irene appear upon the scene, her captain later stating he preferred to hold his boat for the International trophy. On this occasion the club relied upon their regular timers, the regatta committee assisted by Mr. Davis. To make the record absolutely beyond question, two chronometers were obtained and compared, one being located at the lower range pole of the government mile, with Mr. Davis and Mr. Whitaker, while the other was taken to the upper range pole, in charge of Dr. Neumann and E. A. Stevens Jr. At each end of the mile one timer caught the boat as it passed the range, while the other counted the seconds and both checked the hour and minute, so there was no possibility of error. No attempt was made to read fifth of a second. Each of the boats made three runs with and three runs against the tide, going over the line at will in either direction. The results show that Den made 28.71 statute miles per hour, as worked out by the admiralty system of mean of means, while Skedaddle made 26,909. Den takes the cup, her fastest run with the tide being at the rate of 30.707 miles per hour, as against Standard's fastest of last year of 31.75. When it is considered that the Den's length is only one-half that of Standard -- as a matter of fact she is only running abut two-thirds of her length -- this is a remarkable performance. Skedaddle's fastest mile with the tide works out at 28.787, and it is remarkable to note that all her runs with the current were made in exactly the same time. When one considers that her displacement is over 17,000 pounds, it speaks well for her motors that they are able to drive her at this speed.
The interest in the series races was maintained on the third day, and the same starters, with one or two exceptions, came to the line, Aquila which had finished on the second day, dropping out again and not making the start on the last day. Marie was also in the absent list, with machinists working frantically on her bearings to get her ready for the long distance race on Saturday. Iris evidently felt that she was outclassed and gave up the race after the first day.
Class E was increased by Oriole, a little 30-foot flyer, built by the Electric Launch Co., which had made her first start on the previous day, but had had bad luck through an attempt to improve on the running of the motor. As is sometimes the case, the improvement turned out rather to be a detriment, and she was not able to finish either on the second or third day, cracking a cylinder and being put down and out permanently. Speedway was also absent from Class A because of a broken connecting rod on the previous day. Class D brought out Irene and Den, each with a fierce determination to win. The start of these two boats was uncommon and unique, both boats laying back well from the line until gunfire, and then coming down with a rush which carried them over together. The race between these two boats was the prettiest of the carnival, Irene taking the lead before the first mark was reached, but losing to her quicker adversary on the turn, only to take the lead again on the stretch. She finished the first round 1 m. 1 s. ahead, increasing it on the second to not quite 2 m., and winning finally by not quite 4 m. Den is said to have punched a hole in her after compartment during the mile trials of the morning, and to have run in this race with this compartment partially filled with water. Be this as it may, the race between these two boats was the closest we have known in this country, and the pity is that Dixie could not have been in the race at her top form, when it would have been a contest fit for the gods. As a sporting proposition, a long distance free-for-all between these boats, with XPDNC and Skedaddle included, would offer a sight worth going far to see. Both Irene and Den are remarkable boats, as Irene has accommodations for quite a party and is really very comfortable and dry even at the highest speed. In fact, when one is riding in her in a seaway, the impression is more that of traveling over a rough road in an automobile than being afloat in a motorboat. She is steady and dry and runs with little or no vibration. Den is much smaller than her competitors in overall length, and even at this would run almost as well with a third of her length cut off. It is a pity that some of the foreign flyers, with recorded well above 30, cannot come over here and try conclusions with some of our boats, and it is to be hoped now that the Harmsworth cup is on this side, we shall have a chance to really compare them.
In the National cup race Skedaddle ran perfectly, not only saving her time over XPDNC, but beating her by 4 seconds on actual time. The finish between these two boats was one of the most thrilling ever seen on the Hudson. As they came up to the line it was impossible to distinguish who led, and everybody about the club-house stood up and yelled. Just before crossing the line, XPDNC attempted to cut through the wake of Skedaddle, which threw her over on one side, and it looked for a second as though she were going to capsize. This lost her headway, and Skedaddle finished 4 seconds ahead, which means about a boat length and a half. This gives the International trophy to Irene, who has well earned it, and the National trophy to Skedaddle, who has held it before.
Only two boats finished in the Interstate trophy class, Sparrow and Artful, and as the Sparrow had made the best time each day, there is a strong probability that she will again take this cup home in her locker, unless some boat still unrated received too big a handicap for her to overcome, which is unlikely.
Of the cruisers Speedway Jr. made the best time each day, but her rating is higher than several other boats in the class, and there is a possibility that one of these may defeat her for the trophy. In this class, as in all classes, the time for the course improved each day, with the betterment of the weather, and the corrected results will probably work out very close.
Saturday, the day set for the long distance, dawned dark and gloomy but the weatherman predicted no showers until night, so that by far the largest fleet of the regatta turned out for the trip. The original programme called for the racers to be sent to Albany and return, and the cruisers to poughkeepsie and return, but, as no entries could be obtained for the Albany event, and Poughkeepsie was considered too long a distance for the cruisers, it was finally determined to run the racers to Poughkeepsie as in previous years, and the cruisers to Peekskill, the former giving a distance of 116.3 nautical miles, and the latter 75 nautical miles. In previous years the long distance race had been run off early in the week, but as the danger from logs and breakdowns on such a long trip was too great, and owing to the possibility of the competitors begin rendered hors de combat, the event was shifted to the last day, and the wisdom of this change was amply shown by the resulting field of entries.
Fourteen cruisers started at 8:45 on the run to Peekskill, varying from the small, open launch, Speedway Jr., to the new motor yacht Grayling, a 90-footer which has been doing all kinds of things to the motor yacht speed records throughout the season. The starters were well bunched, but quickly drew out to a long line and disappeared up the river. The committee sent a man up to take the time of the turn at Peekskill, but, unfortunately, Grayling made better time than the New York Central, with the result that it was stated to one competitor when he arrived at Peekskill that the stakeboat had gone uptown to get a drink, Grayling and Prodigy arriving before it had been put in position, and the latter rounded two or three boats carrying flags, to be sure that she had covered the distance
Reports of difficulties began to arrive early, by phone, Marie retiring in the up trip at Tarrytown with her brand new bearing spoiled. Beldame also got into difficulties, nature unknown, and reported that she had given up the race.
At 9:30 the racer division were sent off their long trip to Poughkeepsie and return. The starters included Durno, Den, Sparrow, Speedway, Skedaddle and Fairbanks II, a new entry in the carnival. Irene was not able to get started in time to make the run, owing to the absence of her engineer.
The start between Den and Skedaddle was remarkably close, and these two boats quickly assumed the lead, going up the river so closely together that it was impossible to tell who was leading. The report from the upper stakeboat showed that these two boats rounded within two minutes of each other, which is very remarkable, considering the discrepancy in size and power, Skedaddle for this run carrying a supply of gasolene sufficient for the entire trip, which made her displacement fully 18,500 pounds. Den stopped at the turn to replentish her supply, thereby losing about five minutes. Meanwhile Irene asked the committee to be allowed to make six runs over the mile for a record, under official supervision, but not as a competitor for the mile trials cup. This trial was granted her.
After the Irene's trial, things were very quiet around the club-house until about one o'clock, when Grayling was made out coming down the river, tooting like an Indian to attract attention. She crossed the line at 1:07 flat, having made the run of 75 miles in 4h. 22m., or at the rate of very nearly of 17 1/4 nautical miles per hour, which figures out at very close to 20 statute miles. While this does not come up to the record that she has made on her regular runs on the Hudson, carrying her owner to and from business, it is very good, considering the time she lost (said by her designer to be 10 minutes) in hunting for the stakeboat at Peekskill.
The other cruisers finished at various times throughout the afternoon, and at 6:15, only one, the Pirate, was unaccounted for. Prodigy also made very good time, considering the time lost hunting for the stakeboat, but neither she nor the Grayling seems to stand much show of winning on corrected time, the event apparently going to Idler, which wins from Grayling on time allowance by nearly an hour. Of course it is impossible to state definitely the winner, as one of the unmeasured boats may rate so low as to give a better corrected time than Idler. However, the race will probably be very close on corrected time. In the racer class Den and Skedaddle finished about half past two, within one minute of each other, showing that, boat for boat, in spite of the discrepancy of size and power, they are the most evenly matched pair of racers that this country has produced, even allowing for the five minutes Den lost in replentishing her fuel supply at Poughkeepsie. The finish between these two boats aroused lots of enthusiasm from the gallery. Boat were greeted uproariously. Sparrow finished about an hour behind these boats, but made the course, which is a half mile longer than last year, in about ten minutes better time.
As Den and Fairbanks had not been measured, it is impossible to declare a winner in this class, but the probabilities are that Den will rate higher than 19.55, which would give the race to Skedaddle, unless Fairbanks' rating is very low. The Den's time figures out at very nearly 26 1/4 miles per hour for the entire course, which is very close to the record made by XPDNC two years ago. XPDNC's record was made with favorable tide in both directions, while this year's event only had a favoring tide for a small part of the course. With conditions similar to those under which XPDNC made her record, both Den and Skedaddle would have undoubtedly fractured it to bits.
At 6:15 all boats were accounted for, with the exception of Durno, which should have arrived by that time, had she not met with some trouble, However, no news of her had been received, but it was presumed that she was still in the running and would make a finish. Irene's six trials for the mile record, under admiralty conditions, were run off on Saturday morning after the start of the long distance race, with weather conditions as favorable as could be expected; that is, there was practically no sea, clear but cloudy weather, and little or no wind. On the other hand, she was handicapped in this trial by carrying her timers, Henry Sutphen and E. A. Stevens Jr., on board, as well as a crew of three, and a supply of gasolene sufficient to run her to Poughkeepsie and return. This added at least 1,500 pounds weight to her running condition. As it is, the mean of means works out better than the record made by Standard under similar conditions last year, and gives her the record for this country. In her trials only one of her engines was turning at full speed, 850 r.p.m., it being impossible to bring the other higher than 700 because of improper adjustment of carburetor. her best run with the tide was made in 2:17, at the rate of 30 1/4 statute miles per hour.
The Regatta Committee of the Motor Boat Club of America met on Thursday evening, October 3, and, as a considerable number of boats had been measured since the close of the meet, they were able to announce several of the winners. In the series racing for the Interstate trophy, Sparrow again wins, with a total of 18 points. Artful getting second place with 10 points, Meteor third with 9 points, and Durno, who only competed one day, getting 4 points. In the races for the National trophy, Skedaddle wins with 8 points, XPDNC taking second place with 7 points, and Speedway gaining 1 point. For the International trophy, Irene wins with 4 points to her credit to Den's 3. Skedaddle wins the largest number of cups this year, taking the long distance race to Poughkeepsie for racers, her corrected time being 4h. 44m. 27s., as Den's rating makes her the allowing boat. Skedaddle also wins the free-for-all. Den captures the mile speed trial. In the other classes, all the competitors have not as yet been measured, and it probably will be at least ten days before the winners in these classes can be announced. The official figure for Irene's run on Saturday morning gives her a speed of 25.597 nautical miles per hour, which breaks Standard's record of last year by nearly .2 of a mile.
THE LOT OF AN OBSERVER
The lot of an observer, as I soon found out, was anything but a pleasant one. The day gave promise of rain at the very start, and about half an hour after we had crossed the starting line in the Speedway Jr., a light, drizzling rain started. The judges called this a reliability trial, but with us it developed into an endurance trial. Our boat was a 30-foot open one, the engine being the only thing that had any protection at all. The other two men were fully encased in oilers, but I, unfortunately had come away with nothing but a raincoat and an umbrella, not expecting to go on any boat. By the time we had reached Fort Washington Point on the first round, the raincoat was soaked, and from then on we huddled under an umbrella during the fierce squalls. Needless to say, we were all drenched.
The Speedway Jr., much to my surprise, made a good 10 miles an hour, as the times showed, the first round being done in just 1h. 8m., and the following rounds within a minute or two of that same time. The test of the race was to see if the boats could keep running six consecutive rounds without stopping. This Speedway Jr., successfully accomplished, but she nearly killed her crew doing it. Blue lips, shrunken hands, soaked clothing and chattering teeth were the general order of the day, and when a large, comfortable boat like the Mao II, came past us, with her men all protected in the glass cabin, how we did envy them!
The only comfort we found in the whole trip was the sight of the poor man on the upper stakeboat, in an open boat, who was as soaked and miserable as we were, and we further enlivened him by rolling the mark ball off the top of his launch every time we rounded. The only other point of interest throughout the race was watching the speeders from a dot of black astern, with the spray flying off each side, rapidly approach us, to shoot up a mass of spray that further wet us. In fact, the larger Speedway passed us once in a heavy squall when we were huddled under the umbrella, coming so close that she threw the spray all over us. In one point we were very fortunate. The conditions of the race were that if a boat crossed the finish line five minutes before the six-hour limit, she must continue and go round that course. Luckily for us, our boat came in, finishing her sixth round, just a few minutes after the finishing gun was fired, and there never was a happier crew stepped ashore from a boat than ours when the punishment was over. if I ever have again to go as observer in a boat, I shall take pains to see that it is a cabin boat, and a good large one.
NOTES OF THE CARNIVAL
"The two doctors" had more fun watching their boats race than anyone at the club-house.
A revenue cutter kept the course clear of tugs and scows, but couldn't order off the debris.
C. J. Swain, owner of Sparrow, is dizzy yet from watching his compass spin around like a buzz-saw when he placed the instrument over his batteries.
Floating logs knocked out four boats during the week. Dixie hit one and put her wheel out of shape. Den encountered one right in the worst of Tuesday's squall. White Fox was nearly sunk by ramming one at 155th Street and had to be beached. Sparrow got a piece of 2x4 lumber jammed in her screw. Quite a list of calamities.
Two old maids on Riverside Drive were greatly excited when they looked over the wall at 108th Street during race week. It seems that a White Fox got out of its Den and Skedaddled with XPDNC up along the Fairbanks of the Hudson., like a Meteor chasing a little blue Sparrow. "Marie," said Mao, "do you think the White Fox will catch the Sparrow?" "Oh, Durno," she replied, "it makes me Jencick to think of it."
(Excerpts transcribed from The Motor Boat, Oct. 10, 1907, pp. 1-12.)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]