1907 Monaco Regatta
Monte Carlo, Monaco, April 1-16, 1907
The Racing at Monte Carlo
This Brilliant Series of Racing was Favored by Beautiful Weather
Weather and Picturesque Crowds in Various Classes
The Race for The "Championship" of the Sea
by Gaston Bossult
Monte Carlo was favored by the brightest and pleasantest kind of weather when the open-air exhibition of racing motor boats which precedes the contests, was opened; but for some reason public interest was less high than last year and. for the first time, the Prince of Monaco failed to officiate at the opening, deputizing the Governor to do so, much to the disappointment of the people. The entry list was a fine one, including not less than 75 boats, some 30 more than were entered last year. These were divided into four classes: racers, in which everything is sacrificed for speed; cruisers, which are not really cruisers at all, but speed machines, slightly modified to comply with the rules; vedettes, which are really cruisers and healthy utility boats, strong, seaworthy and moderately powered; and hydroplanes, the newest thing to racing boats, designed to slip over the water. In this class were Count Lambert's boat, driven by an aerial propeller revolved by a 70 hp Antoinette engine; Obus-Nautilus, a double-hulled affair with engine on one hull and tanks, steering gear and crew on the other; and Motogodille-Glisseur, with all machinery well aft and propeller shaft universal-jointed so it can be raised or lowered at will. Count Lambert's boat was somewhat damaged by a fire started by the ignition of gasolene trickling from a broken pipe, but previous to this aroused great interest by its extraordinary speed over the water.
Most spectacular and therefore most interesting to the sensation-loving crowds was, probably, the contest for the "Championship of the Sea," a race of 200 kilometers (124.22 miles). The weather conditions were absolutely perfect, there being not a breath of wind and the air warm and dry. Nevertheless, out of these seventeen starters only six finished within the time limit of eight hours, and there was the usual fleet of drifting racers with their delicate, over-refined motors out of order. Panhard-Tellier won the race by a wide margin, her time being 3h. 33m. 4s., or an average speed of 34.77 miles an hour. Lorainne crossed the line first, but the Panhard boat almost immediately went to the front and held an ever-increasing lead to the finish. All 'Erta, with Fiat engines, was second, 1h. 13m. 23s. behind the winner; Ulysse, a Mors boat, was third and the English boat Flying Fish, with Wolseley engines, fourth. Another Mors boat, Adele, was fifth, and the only other craft to get over the course within the limit was Mercedes D. L. -- the last boat over the starting line.
Panhard-Tellier is a Tellier-built hull, with twin screws driven by Panhard engines transplanted direct from two Panhard racing cars used in the Grand Prix of 1906. England was represented by two Daimlers and Flying Fish. Daimler II has a light steel hull and three six-cylinder motors of 90 h.p. each, driving triple screws. One screw is centrally located, rather far forward, and the other two well aft, close under the flat-bottomed stern, one on each side.
Other events also were captured by Panhard-Tellier, which proved the champion of the meet; but many races were seriously interfered with by rougher weather than is good for delicate racers. On the last day there was a 25 kilometer race in which only one boat was able to finish owing to the sea that was running. This was the English Flying Fish, which showed surprising rough water qualities for a boat of her type.
Apparently the public abroad is getting a little tired of spectacles that are failures if the water is not smooth; but the occasional sensational performances of the racers have whetted the appetite for useless bursts of speed, and sensible contests between real boats -- boats that are not all engine and that can live out a bit of a blow -- seem excessively tame and dull. Still, many who were real sailors or were otherwise interested watched closely the contests between the wholesome sea-going cruisers, and M. Thomson, French Minister of Marine, was donor of a prize in that class. There seems to be considerably more interest in the United States in the development of the practical marine motor than in the adaptation of automobile engines to high-speed work, and the result is that long-distance cruising races in the open sea, regardless of weather conditions, are encouraged, while only a half-hearted support is given to contests between extreme racing types. So American marine engines, designed expressly for continuous hard service, have reached a degree of development that could never have been obtained through playing with automobile engines in unseaworthy hulls.
(Transcribed from Yachting, June 1907, pp. 386-388.)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. --LF]
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