1908 APBA Gold Cup
Dixie II Wins the
Gold Challenge Cup
Fresh From Her Triumph Over Wolseley-Siddeley On Long Island Sound, The Winner Of The Harmsworth Cup Went Up To Chippewa Bay And Captured The Gold Challenge Prize, The Most Famous Of American Power Boat Trophies
Rough Were The Seas And High The Winds On The Race Day, But The Schroeder Boat, Embodying Design And Power, Was Triumphant
by Francis J. Lindsay
Decisive and convincing was the defeat of the Chip III by Dixie II in the power-boat races for the Gold Challenge Cup on Chippewa Bay in the Thousand Islands. Built in accordance with the most advanced ideas as to the effect of design on speed, driven by engines which had been under the eyes of experts in exhaustive tests extending through several months, she simply played with the defender of the cup and won the three races as she pleased.
Four years had the Chippewa Bay Yacht Club been successful in winning the trophy of the American Power Boat Association. This organization had officers who were accustomed to look ahead, and when they set about preparing plans for the defense of the famous prize they proceeded in a workmanlike manner and left nothing undone that would insure success. This year saw no deviation in this course. Chip III was a good boat, a grand boat; next to Dixie II there was no other racer in her class. But this same Dixie had Chip's number, as the saying is, and the St. Lawrence yachtsmen simply had to stand by and see their well-formed plans go for naught.
And what a boat Chip III! Beamy, powerful in appearance, with rows of extra pipes along either side of her engines bearing strong resemblance to organ pipes, she suggested the very epitome of power. And she snorted along through the water with a roar like the voice of a tornado. The visual impression of physical energy was as striking as the aural, and between the two the spectator would have been willing to hazard the opinion that Chip III was reeling off at least 40 knots an hour, whereas she was not going more than two-thirds as fast as the sleek, smooth-moving Dixie. This boat made little fuss in the water, her engines were well nigh "noiseless," and one had to study his watch for an adequate idea as to the speed which the craft was making. The races were attended by all the circumstances which regattas of such importance deserved. There were more pleasure craft gathered to witness the events than ever attended a motorboat race in this country, and with the judge's boat anchored off Cedar Island instead of in a remote position everyone had a chance to see and be seen. The Chippewa Yacht Club provided the house boat Lysander for the use of members and invited guests, and a large and enthusiastic party viewed the contests from the deck of this boat.
The American Power Boat Association officers were censured from holding a race at a time of year when squalls are frequent on the St. Lawrence---July or September being pronounced as the most propitious time for such events---but otherwise no one had a complaint to make, the races were fairly conducted and fairly contested and, in short, everything was conducive to the good of the sport.
As a delightful prelude to the events, a number of motor boats, including such cracks as Irene II, Merge, Eronel, Tip Top, Puffin II, and others, left this city on August 11 and started for the Thousand Islands. On the way up the Hudson, the fleet, which left the Columbia Yacht Club at the foot of West Eighty-seventh street, were joined by other craft until a fleet of nearly a score started from Albany along the Erie Canal to Syracuse. There was plenty of sport on the way up. The natives along the banks of the raging ditch came out in ever-increasing numbers to view this inland marine procession and foraging incidents, adventures with mischief-loving canalers or surly lock tenders, and other events incidental to such a cruise gave the voyagers much to talk about when at last they reached their journey's end. From Syracuse the boats went through the Oswego Canal to the city which bears that name, and thence into Lake Ontario. Down this turbulent inland sea they traveled, and Clayton was reached without untoward incident. Clayton being at the head of the St. Lawrence River, the way to Alexandria Bay and the Thousand Islands was clear. The cruisers found themselves lost in the midst of the immense concourse of motor craft which had assembled for the important series of races, but they received a greeting which showed that their importance was appreciated and their presence welcomed.
On August 20 the gun for the start of the first race was fired at three o'clock, and the "get-away" was undoubtedly the prettiest thing ever seen in motor-boat racing. The eight fliers shot over the line, with Dixie II holding the advantage. She never lost it. At the end of a half mile she had forged 200 yards in the lead. When the racers had gone half-way around the course they ran into a terrific rainstorm which somewhat quieted the surface of the river.
This was the first race in which Chip III had started, and it was the first view the public had been permitted to have of her. She created a terrible fuss in the water and did not take kindly to the high waves, which impeded her speed more than any of the other contestants. The exhausts were badly placed, for this weight, even though very slight, being high and on the extreme side, caused her to sway far more, than if they had been in the center of the boat. This race was won by Dixie II, whose time was 1 hour 1 minute and 38 seconds, or 19 seconds better than the time of Chip III.
The float upon which the judges and other officials were was anchored about 250 yards off Cedar Island, and from this the course lay up the river to a buoy south of Whiskey Island, back down the Canadian Channel to another buoy at the foot of Cedar Island, then back to the starting point. The boats went around this course twice, making it a total race of 30 miles.
Dixie II triumphed in the second race. Although only a few seconds ahead of Chip III in crossing the finish line it would have been easy for her to have won by about 10 minutes. But she really played with the other boats and on several occasions eased down to allow Chip to catch up and would then run away from the latter as if she was at anchor. All the racers got away to a good start except U.S.A. and Stranger, both of which lagged a little, but before the boats had gone an eighth of a mile Dixie had assumes a commanding lead which she never let slip away. Owing to extremely rough water the start in this race was delayed until four o'clock, but nothing was gained by the wait.
The second heat was noteworthy for two reasons. The first was that both Dixie and Chip covered the 30 miles in less than an hour; the second that Pirate took exactly the same time, even to a second, to cover the first half of the course on this day that she did on the first. On each occasion she required 33 minutes and 34 seconds to travel 15 miles.
On the last day Dixie won again amid a great tooting of whistles and other salutes, and so cinched the Gold challenge cup for the Thousand Islands Yacht Club, which she represented, and over whose course, near Alexandria Bay, the races will be held next year.
Owing to the extremely rough water the judges postponed the start until 5 o'clock on the last day; but the waves had not abated any at that time. All the contestants got away quickly at the start, but before Dixie had gone half a mile she broke down and Chip obtained a lead of at least a mile, while Dixie lay tossing about in the mountainous waves for over two minutes. When started again Dixie soon overhauled the other racers and on the back stretch she was really running at full speed and led by a mile. Then she was eased down and simply played with Chip, her only competitor, after that. Shortly after starting Stranger broke her clutch and was towed in by a launch belonging to Commodore Inglis.
The following judges officiated during the entire series of races: J. H. McIntosh, representing the American Power Boat Association; R. H. Eggleston, representing the challenging Thousand Islands Yacht Club; and S. G. Averell, representing the defending Chippewa Yacht Club. Ernest Serrell was the measurer, but as the only requirement for qualifying this year was that the boats must not be over 40 feet water line, no records of the engines were made.
(Transcribed from Yachting, October, 1908, pp. 185-187.)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page LF]
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 2001