1907 Palm Beach Mid-Winter Regatta
Palm Beach, FL, Jan. 29-Feb.2, 1907


The Lake Worth Motor Boat Races

A Brilliant Mid-Winter Sporting Event In A Summer Land Of Mirth And Beauty, Impossible As Yet To Gauge The Importance Of The Various Races In Regard To Their Influence Upon Boat Building And Boat Designing

Dixie, However, The Queen Of The Carnival

She Lowered The World's Record For A Nautical Mile In Competition And Performed Consistently Throughout Thrilling Scenes.

by Owen Roberts

Fast Motor Boats in Palm Beach Regatta
Three Wins for Dixie in Palm Beach Races
Dixie Again Leads in Palm Beach Races
Dixie Heads the List in Palm Beach Races
Dixie's Alleged Record
The Lake Worth Carnival
The Palm Beach Races
The Lake Worth Carnival (The Rudder)
The Lake Worth Motor Boat Races

An exact, final estimate of the importance of the motor boat regatta on Lake Worth, not alone from the viewpoint of its probable influence upon the designing and construction of boats and improvements in propulsive power, but upon its effects, good or bad, upon motor boat racing as a popular sport, is quite impossible at the present time. Impressions are too fresh, too bewildering. One can but say that seldom, if ever, in the United States has there been such a notable and illustrative gathering of power craft as were present, either as participants or attendants, upon the events of the past three days, and allow that statement to suffice, at least for the immediate present.

Lessons have been drawn therefrom, without doubt, and morals pointed. When we have sat quietly and balanced the races of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, comparing the various results with deductions taken from contests of past seasons, data of absorbing interest and of no little importance will be at hand. The distracting brilliancy of the setting for the regatta alone would militate against a satisfactory, not to say adequate analysis, at the present writing, and it remains, therefore, after brief consideration of the extraordinary performance of Commodore E. J. Schroeder's 80-footer Dixie, easily the queen of the "carnival," to record, without critical comment, the events of the four days on what has justly been called the American Riviera.

If the regatta needed justification in the world of science, as well as sport, surely Dixie furnished full meed, for naturally an event in which a world's speed record is broken warrants more than passing interest---warrants, it may well be, a paragraph or two in the pages of history. In reducing the record for the motor-boat mile flying start in competition from 2 minutes and 22 seconds to 2 minutes 21.32 seconds, the slim, powerful racer obtained the highest possible honors. In achieving this result Dixie made six time trials, three with the tide and three against the tide. Her best time with the tide was 2 minutes 19 seconds for the nautical mile, which, as distance is measured on land, is a mile and one-sixth. Against the tide her best time was 2 minutes 21 1-5 seconds, the corrected time for all trials was figured by the official timers, Mr. Charles H. Hyde, Lieut. Hugh L. Willoughby and Mr. Leland Sterry, secretary of the Palm Beach Motor Boat Association, as 2 minutes 21.32 seconds. Through this record-breaking performance the Schroeder boat won the Thomas H. Dewar shield and the plaudits of the hundreds of spectators lining the course.

In each trial Dixie performed smoothly and consistently, and so evenly matched was her work in each burst of speed that the stop watches of the timers alone were able to distinguish variations. Fresh honors await this boat in future regattas of the year, it is predicted, and she will enter all events at odds on favorite.

Following is the list of boats entered:

Owner

Boat Name

Length

H.P.

Club

Louis S. Clarke

Winifred II

24'

16

Biscayne Yacht Club

R. F. Yates

Wasp

 

18

Buffalo Yacht Club

J. P. DeBerry

Meteor

 

10

Lake Worth Yacht Club

C. Van Horn

Van Horn

30'

15

 

Hugh L. Willoughby Jr.

Gray Wolf

33'

30

Bristol R.I.

Hugh L. Willoughby

Possum

24'

28

Philadelphia

J. K. Clark

Bruiser

39'

50

Philadelphia

G. J. Paddison

Baby Bullet

30'

12

 

W. L. Huffstetler

Mera

30'

20

West Palm Beach Yacht Club

Geo. D. Dewey

Spray

18'

20

Halifax Yacht Club

M. M. Austin

Show Me

25'

3

Halifax Yacht Club

G. S. Andrews

Errand Boy

23'

12

Lake Worth Yacht Club

W. B. Covar

Planet

25'

5

Lake Worth Yacht Club

S. P. Merrill

Goinsome

26'

16

Lake Worth Yacht Club

T. G. Ronald

Ram

30'

10

Halifax Yacht Club

J. W. Taylor

Fire-Fly

22'

12

Halifax Yacht Club

J. Middleby

Katherine

31'

40

Halifax Yacht Club

Warren C. Sneden

Lamb

33'

18

Halifax Yacht Club

R. F. Davis

Stiletto

26'

12

Biscayne Yacht Club

E. J. Schroeder

Dixie

40'

133

Motor Yacht Club of America

Smith & Mabley

Simplex

32'

35

Motor Yacht Club of America

F. D. Craig

Secret

27'

20

Bay City Yacht Club

C. J. Swain

Swallow

30'

30

Riverton Yacht Club

Smith & Mabley

Simplex

32'

30

Motor Yacht Club of America

The trophies include the one given by Sir Thomas Dewar, which was won last year by Mr. H. E. Bowden, of Boston. The Edson Prize is a handsome silver loving cup, with two heavy handles. The beauty of the cup is enhanced by its lines of simplicity. The Pommery Cup, presented by Messrs, Francis Draz & Co., is silver, urn-shaped and of colonial design, with heavily beaded bands and beautifully engraved. The third cup is a three-handled silver loving cup, with a design of grape leaves, tendrils and bunches of grapes, in repousse, which prize has been offered by Messrs. William Ottman & Co., of New York City.

Tuesday, fulfilling the promise of the previous evening, dawned gloriously. The lake was like glass, and in every way in brief the conditions for the day's events were ideal. In addition to the myriads of craft lining the course the shores were crowded with spectators on motor cars or wheel chairs, or afoot, and the sun shining with genial ardor lighted a scene that was nothing less than entrancing. It was announced that on the first day of racing handicaps would be based on the rating measurements of the American Power Boat Association, and that on the three succeeding days of the regatta the handicaps would be based on the actual performances of the boats.

The first event started at 11 o'clock, a 5-mile race, one lap around the lake, for boats of 80 rating and under. Eight started in this event and all finished. Mr. H. Broessel's Simplex IX, of New York, with a handicap of 1 minute 6 seconds, won the trophy, the boat's actual running time being 17 minutes 44 seconds. Hot-Stuff, owned by Mr. D. J. Southall, of Miami, Fla., finished second, its actual running time being 19 minutes 12 seconds. Lieut. Hugh L. Willoughby's Possum, the scratch boat, finished third, covering the distance in 18 minutes 48 seconds.

The 10-mile race, for boats of 80 rating and above, was won by Mr. Middleby's Katherine, of Boston. Katherine had a handicap of 4 minutes and 8 seconds from Mr. E. J. Schroeder's Dixie, the scratch boat, and covered the distance in 28 minutes 26 seconds. Gray Wolf, Mr. E. J. Willoughby, Jr., of Newport, finished second in the actual time of 31 minutes 41 seconds. Bruiser, owned by Mr. James K. Clarke, of Ardmore, Pa., finished third, in actual running time of 31 minutes 27 seconds. Dixie completed the first lap of 5 miles at the rate of 28,3 miles per hour. Shortly after finishing this lap the Dixie burned our a bearing and was out of further racing for the day.

This closed the racing for the morning, but in the afternoon three more events were run off. The first event of the afternoon, a 5-mile contest for boats rating 80 and below, called out six starters, all of which finished. This event, like the similar one run off in the morning, ended in a victory for Simplex IX, the New York boat. Lieut. Willoughby's Possum crossed the finish line second, Mr. D. J. Southall's Hot-Stuff coming in third.

Then came a 5-mile event for boats rating 80 and above, Gray Wolf, Katherine and Bruiser starting. So accurate was the handicapping in this event that a stirring finish roused the blood of every one. Gray Wolf won this event, though a Boston boat, Katherine, was pushing it hard and shot across the finish line only a short length behind Gray Wolf. Bruiser, the scratch boat, finished last.

The last race, at 10 miles, proved to be one of the best contests of the day. Again, this victory went to a New York boat, Mr. H. Broessel's Simplex IX, finishing first, and scoring its third victory. The winning boat was the third to get away, under the handicaps. At the end of the first lap it was in second place. Bruiser, the scratch boat, finished fifth. In this event Katherine and Gray Wolf, finishing second and third respectively, again had a close finish, only about a length separating them.

The first event run off on Thursday morning was a 5-mile contest for boats with a speed of 18 miles an hour and under. Seven started. Planet, of West Palm Beach, got away first and Simplex IX, of New York made the start from scratch, 18 minutes 11 seconds later. It was a one lap race and the handicap of Planet was too much for Simplex to overcome, victory going to the limit boat in 34 minutes 54 seconds. Simplex finished in second place, almost 2 minutes behind Planet, but covering the 5 miles in 17 minutes 59 seconds. Capt. George Andrews' Errand Boy, of West Palm Beach, finished third.

The second race, open only to boats with a speed of more than 18 miles per hour and for a distance of 5 miles, found but two starters, Gray Wolf and Dixie. Dixie gave Gray Wolf an allowance of 3 minutes 41 seconds for the 5 miles and then with another exhibition of speedy going pushed around to the finish line a winner. The Dixie's time was 11 minutes 16 seconds.

The last event of the morning was the 5-mile event for all boats. Seven started in this race Planet again being the limit boat, and having a handicap of 23 minutes 69 seconds. One after another the boats fell into line, Dixie again starting from the scratch and taking up what proved to be a hopeless chase after Planet. Though Planet again pushed its nose across the line a winner, Dixie drove into second place after a most magnificent finish, only 12 seconds behind her. Planet's time for the distance was 34 minutes 59 seconds. Dixie covered the same lap in 11 minutes 1 second. Blanche II finished third.

The first race of the afternoon was a 5-mile contest for boats of a speed of 18 miles an hour and under. Five started with Simplex IX on scratch. This time the victory went to Possum. Errand Boy was second and the little Baby Bullet crossed the finish line third.

The next event was a walkover for Dixie, no boat entering against her for the 5 miles open to boats of more speed than 18 miles an hour. Eight boats in addition to Dixie started in the 15-mile race, among them being Swallow, of Camden, N.J. After covering the course three times Swallow crossed first over the finish line only about two lengths ahead of Meteor, a West Palm Beach boat. Blanche II finished third. Then came the word that the Swallow, which had arrived in the morning, had exceeded her 3 per cent allowance for increase of speed on the handicap, and that therefore she was out of it and victory went to the Meteor. C. J. Coggin, of Rockledge, owner of Blanche II, protested the award on the ground that Meteor carried no reversing gear, as required under the rules. The regatta committee will consider the protest.

In the second day's racing Dixie was the prominent boat. The first event on the programme was a 5-mile race for boats 35 feet and under. Five started and all finished. The winner was Mera, owned by Mr. W. I. Hiffstetter, of West Palm Beach. Her time was 20 minutes 59 seconds. Planet, owned by Mr. W. V. Covar, was second and Blanche II, owned by Mr. C. J. Coggin, of Rockledge, was third. Blanche made the fastest time, 19 minutes 20 seconds, but was beaten by the allowances the others received.

The second race was at 10 miles and was won by Dixie. Katherine was second and Gray Wolf third. In the 10-mile race for boats over 35 feet Baby Bullet was first. Capt. Andrews' Errand Boy was second and Mera finished third.

The 5-mile event for boats 35 feet and over went to Dixie. Gray Wolf finished second and Simplex IX finished third. The 15-mile race was won by Dixie also. Errand Boy made a strong bid for first place, and actually she finished first, but an error was made in the allowance of 38 minutes and the race went to Dixie, second boat to finish.

The 1-mile event in six trials was the only race scheduled for Friday morning, and was won by Dixie, which broke the world's record, as told in the foregoing. In the afternoon there was a consolation race, open only to those boats which had not finished in first place. There were but two starters, Errand Boy and Gray Wolf. Gray Wolf gave a handicap of 4 minutes 41 seconds to Errand Boy, and won when the latter boat had almost finished. The regatta wound up with an endurance run over a 20-mile course. All boats were handicapped according to their performances with Dixie on scratch. The boom of the finishing gun sounded, a hearty cheer was given for the winner and the regatta proper was ended. In the evening there was a reproduction of the famous midnight carnival of Venice, and then the boats moved on to Miami for the flag to flag race.

(Transcribed from Yachting, March, 1907, pp.141-143, 184-188.)

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


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