1907 Monaco Regatta
Monte Carlo, Monaco, April 1-16, 1907


The Monaco Motor Boat Races
The Greatest International Race Meet of the Year, Wherein the Fastest Motor Boats in the World Were Entered,
Representing All the Leading Nations of Europe
F. A. Lefevre

Entries for the Monaco Meeting
Monaco
The Monaco Fiasco
The Racing at Monte Carlo
The Fourth Annual Motor Boat Exhibition and Races at Monaco
The Monaco Motor Boat Races
Automobilism
Marine Motoring
Monaco Records

The fourth annual exposition and race meet at Monaco opened on April 12 under the auspices of the International Sporting Club, and continued until Aril 14. The first three days were devoted to the public exhibition of the launches, 72 being shown at the opening, with three delayed in transit, then two days were allowed for painting, launching and trials, the races opening on Sunday April 7 and continuing over the following Sunday. The Prince of Monaco, an ardent patron of all forms of yachting, who usually opens the exhibition, was absent, and his place was taken by Mr. Roger, governor of the principality, with Mr. Loth, mayor of Monaco and Mr. de Joly, prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes. At 2 P.M. Mr. Camile Blanc of the Club received the officials at the main entrance to the exhibition court and accompanied them on the customary tour from stand to stand, exchanging greeting with the designers and builders; Tellier, Lein, Pitro, Despujols, Quernel, Grenie and many others. A luncheon and speeches followed and the exhibition was under way. The attendance was very large and the launches were carefully studied by many experts and practical yachtsmen of all nationalities.

The launching on Friday and Saturday was greatly facilitated by the excellent plant, a huge electric traveling crane in the exhibition grounds and a railway into the sea with flat cars. The course was a rectangle of 6.25 kilometers (3.37 nautical miles) parallel to the shore line between Monaco and Cape Martin; overlooking it is the Casino and just in front the elevated enclosure known as the "Tir aux Pigeons," devoted to the murder of innocent and defenseless birds in the name of Sport; for the time being this was turned to a better use, being reserved for the members and guests of the International Sporting Club and affording them a fine view of the entire course. While the wonderful times of the two Tellier launches would suggest that this course, with practically four sharp corners to the round and eight rounds for the regular 50 kilometers, is not up to its stated length, the conditions are such as to facilitate an easy and accurate survey from the neighboring shores and this work is usually done with extreme accuracy by the officials of the Monaco meetings.

The starting line was in the center of the short stretch at the head of the rectangle near the Casino; the start was timed from a pole in the Tir aux Pigeons, on which five balls were run up five minutes before the start, one being dropped at the end of each minute. A French torpedo boat, from Toulon, patrolled the course, which was well buoyed and flagged.

The exhibition was interesting in the extreme, all the leading nations but the United States being represented; even little Switzerland, whose "navy" is as much of a by-word as an "Irish hurricane." In view of all that has been printed within the past three or four years of the great Florida meets of speed launches, it seems strange that not one American builder or owner has taken part in this international meet. The launches were of all types, from the most extreme "canot-automobile" to the little "batteau de promenade," a very useful term for which there is no English equivalent, signifying a pleasure launch for a day's outing. The "Vedettes d'Escadres" or Fleet Scouts, represent a new class of gasoline launches for naval use to which special attention has been given by the French Government. The launches were in a general way superior in design and construction to those of previous years, in the auto-boat class much higher speeds were obtained, and though there were many withdrawals and break-downs, the best examples showed a decided advance in strength, seaworthiness and general endurance of hull and engine. There were fewer freaks and many good cruisers and service launches. The hydroplanes were poorly represented and did little to distinguish themselves. The total value of the prizes distributed was 100,000 francs ($20,000).

The classification was as follows:

CRUISERS

1st Series, 6.50 meters (21.32 ft.), cylinder maximum, 2.50 liters

22 entries

2d Series, 8 meters (26 ft.), cylinder maximum, 3.75 liters

7 entries

3d Series, 12 meters (40 ft.), cylinder maximum, 7.50 liters

19 entries

4th Series, 18 meters (60 ft.), cylinder maximum, 15 liters

6 entries

RACERS

1st Series, 8 meters

9 entries

2d Series, over 8 meters

13 entries

Vedettes D'Escadres

13 entries

Hydro-planes

4 entries

Total

93 entries

The weather was very good, while the great speed trial of the year, the Championship of the Sea, was run under a summer sky and on a glassy sea, giving every opportunity for high speed. many of the races were of necessity held under severe weather conditions, rough water and strong winds, which tried hulls and engines to the breaking point; the fact that some launches and engines stood the severe trial most satisfactorily while others failed is of inestimable to the launch and engine industry.

The racing began on the morning of April 7 with the 6 1/2-meter class cruisers, the course being 50 kilometers or 26.98 nautical miles. There were 20 starters, Capoulou III leading with Nautilus-Mutel I second, these two holding their places over the eight rounds of the course. The former finished in 1:35:55, and average speed of 16.43 knots. In the afternoon the 8-meter class of racers started, Tellier steering his new La Rapiere II, successor to the very successful launch of the same name lost by collision with a rock in Lake Geneva. With her were Fiat XV, Seasick and La Mouvette. Mr. Tellier took the turns most skillfully, while Fiat XV was poorly handled, making a very wide sweep at every turn, though she showed a high speed at times. After a poor start, with La Rapiere in the lead, Fiat gained for a time but was obliged to stop, letting Seasick into second place. She soon started up and regained her place, but was unable to catch the leader.

The record for this class over a 50-kilometer course was made by Antoinette in 1906, 1:09:22, but was completely obliterated by the magnificent performance of La Rapiere (55:55).

On the second day, Monday, April 8, there was some wind in the morning when the 8-meter cruising class was started, and it freshened later but not to a serious extent. Seven launches crossed the line. Nautilus B. V. Jacqueline (all one name) leading, with Mais je vais Piquer (also one name) in second place. There was a swell, but the boats were well able to negotiate it; however, three soon withdrew. Nautilus, etc., held the lead easily, with Mais je etc. second, but her helmsman drove her hard against the seas when his position would have allowed him to ease her on this leg, and she shipped so much water that she retired; Lally also giving up. The fourth boat, Dalifol-Petroleum, the only kerosene launch entered, was going easily through at a slow speed; Mais je etc. finished her eight round in 1:38:34, and then Dalifol, at the end of her third round, was called off the course, being awarded the second prize. There was more sea at noon and the afternoon races were postponed, Daimler II was out for a trial run but slipped a key in a flywheel, being obliged to haul out so that her engine could be lifted by the crane, the work of repair lasting well into the night.

On Tuesday the 18-meter cruiser class started at 10:30, La Lorraine II leading the fleet of five over the line and holding first place all day.

The hydro-planes were started at noon; Motogodille-Glisseur, Obus-Nautilus and Glisseur-de Lambert. The latter is built up of a number of separate sections assembled to form a pontoon, an awkward framework on the after end supporting an 8-cylinder Antoinette engine of 70 horsepower, which drives a three-bladed windmill. This windmill is about six feet in diameter and the engine runs at 1,500 revolutions per minute, with a special noise of its own. The rudder is on the fore end. The contraption caught fire shortly after starting and was towed home. Motogodille, with an ordinary water propeller, soon stopped, leaving only Nautilus, also with a water propeller, to finish the course of 10 kilometers in 18:24, at a speed of 17.50 knots.

The race of the 12-meter (40-foot) class, in the afternoon, brought out an interesting fleet; The Italian Jeanette, the French Panhard-Tellier, Lorraine-Dietrich and Mercedes, and the English Daimler II, Daimler III, Flying Fish and New Trefle II. The first three have the Saunders wire-sewn hulls, Flying Fish being the old Yarrow-Napier, winner of the same race in 1906, with her two Napier engines replaced by two Wolseley-Siddeley engines of 80 horsepower each. The start at 3 P.M., was poor, Panhard-Tellier soon taking the lead. There was some sea running and Lorraine-Dietrich gave up on the first round, Jeanette taking second place with Daimler II third and New Trefle II fourth. Daimler III soon gave up and both Flying Fish and New Trefle II were in trouble, the latter having her port side stove in so that some of the interior work fouled the carburetor and she could only be eased down by hand. Daimler II had her bows smashed on the second round and gave up, on the third round Jeanette sprung a leak and also gave up; and on the fourth round Flying Fish withdrew. All this time the Panhard-Tellier was running with most remarkable regularity, as shown by the times of each of the eight rounds: 6:37, 6:49, 6:49, 6:50, 6:52, 6:48, 6:51, 6:51. Her time for the course was 54:27, a speed of 29.20 knots, while on one round she averaged 30.65 knots.

Panhard-Tellier, designed and built by Tellier & Gerard, is a racing launch of the accepted speed model and lightly but very strongly built. Her two Panhard engines are placed one forward of the other, to port and starboard, and not abreast; driving twin screws.

The fourth day was devoted to the larger cruiser class, 12 meters, and to the "vedettes d'escadres." Fourteen cruisers started over the 50-kilometer course, Ulysse leading with Despujols-Mutel second, the latter soon taking the lead. On the third round Despujols-Mutel stopped very suddenly and finally was towed home; with her Mors engine Ulysse ran steadily and fast, covering the course in 1:18:23, greatly surpassing the record of Calypso in the same race in 1906. The next boat, Gallinari II, was nearly four minutes later, with Adele third and La Sec fourth.

There was some sea in the afternoon for the trial of the scouts, but all of the nine starters finished without breakdowns. The winner was B. V. Jacqueline III, with Nautilus B. V. Jacqueline II second and Nautilus- Mutel third. In spite of their names, the boats proved very staunch and serviceable little craft.

The great event of the meeting, the Championship of the Sea, was run on April 11, the fifth day, the course being 200 kilometers (107.92 nautical miles). There were twenty starters, racers and cruisers together; as Mr. Tellier chose to steer La Rapiere, his place on boars Panhard-Tellier was taken by Count Robert de Vogue. La Rapiere led over the line, followed closely by Fiat XV and Panhard-Tellier, the two running very evenly for a time, when Panhard-Tellier speeded up and ran into first place, with La Rapiere second. On the fourth round the magneto of La Rapiere became disconnected and she was compelled to withdraw, leaving Fiat XV in second place until on the 17th round her pump became stopped and she gave up. The performance of Panhard-Tellier was as remarkable in point of regularity as in speed, 26 to 27 minutes to each 25 kilometers (13.50 nautical miles) her crowning triumph coming when she finished 200 kilometers in 3:33:04; and average speed of 30.50 knots or 35 statute miles per hour. While the weather conditions and smooth water favored her, the course was a very short one, requiring 32 rounds, with two sharp turns to each round.

The race of the vedettes d'escadres was started at the same time with but four entries, but proved rather tame; the conditions calling for an endurance run of eight hours. After the finish of the speed race the sea rose, and at the command of the naval representative in charge, the race was stopped when 75 kilometers had been run.

The handicap races set for Friday and Saturday were postpones, until Sunday, when 5 racers and 11 cruisers started. Mercedes D. L., a cruiser of large displacement with a 6-cylinder engine, eon in the racer class in 1:36:27, with Flying Fish second and Seasick third; Lorraine-Dietrich and Mouvette giving up. The cruiser race was won by Resac, a little service launch designed by Mr. Quernel, her time being 3:59:02.

The mile and kilometer trials were then run off; the mile being marked first, from a standing start, continuing on over the kilometer, making a flying start for the latter.

The meeting held over until Monday, when the handicap of the small racers was run off, with the handicap of the cruisers under the new measurement. The sea was smooth in the morning, with a light breeze, but more wind at noon kicked up a bad sea and the course was shortened from four to three rounds; 18.75 kilometers or 10 nautical miles. The two racers were La Mouvette and Flying Fish, with 15 cruisers; all starting at 3 P.M. On the second round La Mouvette gave up, leaving Flying Fish to finish the three rounds alone. Seven cruisers finished but the official results have not been computed. Ulysse was first, in 31:26.

This, the greatest race meet of launches ever held, has proved a well-deserved triumph for Alphonse Tellier, the designer, constructor and helmsman of La Rapee, La Rapiere I, La Rapiere II and Panhard-Tellier, the fastest launches ever floated, with others only second to them in speed and other good qualities. One notable feature of the auto-boat game as played in France, England and America for the past five years has been the number of promoters, advertisers, salesmen and would-be designers of hulls and engines who have butted into it without the slightest warrant, and who have gained more or less temporary positions at the top by sheer persistence and noise. Among the comparatively limited number of competent men who have achieved results on the water and not on paper Alphonse Tellier stands head and shoulders to the front, his work being honest and straight and progressively better year by year; while by way of advertisement he is content to let the official race records speak for him.

(Transcribed from Boating, June 1907, pp. 8-13.)

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


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