1907 Hudson River Water Carnival

Thrilling Race of Two Motor Boats
Den and Skedaddle Only 59 Seconds Apart at End of Long Contest
Poughkeepsie and Return
Was First, but May Lose on Time Allowance, to be Decided After the Boat's Measurement

Motor Boat Races on Hudson River
Motorboat Afire in Race
Thrilling Race of  Two Motor Boats
The Hudson River Carnival
National Motor Boat Carnival
National Motor Boat Carnival on the Hudson River

Den and Skedaddle raced from 108th Street to Poughkeepsie and back in the long distance contest for racing boats of the Motor Boat Club Yesterday, and finished within 59 seconds of each other, Den in the lead. As the distance is 116.3 nautical miles the difference in speed was something less than half a second per mile. Which was the winner is not at present known, as Den has not been measured, but in the opinion of most of the experts who witnessed the start and finish from the Motor Boat Club's station, Den will have to concede something of time allowance to her competitor, enough probably to give Skedaddle the first prize. Den's performance was at the average rate of about 22.77 knots or 26.22 miles per hour.

Den and Skedaddle were never very far apart, and it was no one's race until the end. One boat would lead for a few miles and then the other would secure first position. They turned the stakeboat at Poughkeepsie two minutes apart, with Den in the lead. It was probably as close a race as ever was run. There were four other boats in the contest. Speedway broke down on the way up the river, and neither Durno II, Sparrow , nor Fairbanks II could keep near enough to the leaders to make their time allowances of any service. In fact, none were calculated officially, although just to see how the thing looked the Regatta Committee figured that Skedaddle, if she proves to be the boat of largest rating, would have to allow Durno II 2:02:07 and Sparrow 44:35.

There was also a long-distance race for cruising boats. They were sent to Peekskill, and the distance they traveled out and back was seventy-five miles. Fourteen boats started at 8:45 A.M., and the start made as pretty a marine spectacle as was ever seen in a motor boat race in this country. With the exception of Pirate and Grayling, which were handicapped, the former by 26 minutes and the latter by over 7 minutes, the fleet got away in close order, Beldame slightly in the lead, -- Alabama close aboard, Prodigy third, Speedway Jr. fourth and Kittie, Marie, Wanderlust, Idler, Elod, Iris, Ailsa Craig and Pirate in the order named. Marie overheated her bearings at Tarrytown and dropped out. Beldame also gave it up somewhere near the upper mark, and Pirate ahd not been heard from at 6:15 o'clock. Grayling, the largest boat in the fleet, got to Peekskill before the Ambassador of the club could reach that point by train and set a stake boat. She turned around every craft in sight, went on a mile or two beyond the place where the mark boat should have been, marked time for about ten minutes, and then lighted out for home.

She was the first boat of either fleet to cross the finish line, and she was timed at 1:07 o'clock, making her elapsed time 4:22:00. Skipping Den and Skedaddle of the other fleet, which finished at 2:36:28 and 2:37:27 respectively, the next to arrive was Prodigy at 2:39:58. Then came Ailsa Craig at 2:51:54 and Osprey II at 2:54:05. Neither the Prodigy nor the Bermuda Cup winner was entitled to sufficient time allowance to shake Grayling's hold on the first prize., but Osprey II, with nearly three hours concession caused the big boat to fall back into second place. And then, in the course of time, Idler, a wee little boat, , came along, nearly three hours and a half astern of Grayling, and when the mathematicians got through with their calculations, it was found that she was entitled to an allowance of 4 hours 12 minutes and 30 seconds, more than half her elapsed time, and likewise to the first prize, Osprey taking second and Grayling third.

While the long-distance runs were up the river Irene, the Philadelphia boat belonging to J. F. Anderson, ran up and down the measured mile and broke American records. These times she ran each way against and with the tide. The first time she made the mile, breaking the water, in 2:21, and returned, with tide in her favor, in 2:17, an average of 2:19, or at the rate of 25.904 knots, or 29.828 miles per hour. In other runs against the tide she lost two seconds and seven seconds respectively, while she repeated her performance exactly with the tide, and then fell short of it a second. The average of all runs was at the rate of 25.558 knots, or 29.396 miles per hour. In this trial Irene carried five men, two timers besides her own crew, and carried also 300 gallons of gasoline. The Standard's best performance last year was at the rate of 25.325 knots, or 29.172 miles per hour, and that of Den on Friday, 25.176 knots, or 29.989 miles per hour.

(Excerpts transcribed from the New York Times, Sep. 29, 1907.)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]

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Leslie Field, 2001