1908 APBA Gold Cup
Chippewa Bay, Alexandria Bay NY, August 20, 1908

The Gold Challenge Cup Races
Lloyd E. Brown

Famous Dixie II Beats the Chip III
Motorboat Dixie Again Leads the Way
Dixie II Captures Gold Challenge Cup
The Gold Challenge Cup Races
Dixie II Wins the Gold Challenge Cup
Gold Challenge Cup Races
Dixie II Wins the Gold Challenge Cup at Chippewa Bay

While the St. Lawrence River was being lashed by one of the fiercest gales of the year, the first heat of the three in the contest for the Gold Challenge Cup, emblematic of the speed championship of America, was run off. Yachts began to arrive at the scene of the races early in the day and by starting time hundreds of river craft had assembled in the lee of cedar Island which furnished a desirable shelter from the heavy wind. At 2:55 the preparatory gun was fired and the red flag hoisted which was followed by a banging and cannonading as the powerful engines began to set in motion the fast boats which then quickly assumed their racing positions. At 3 o'clock the red flag dropped, the starting gun spoke forth and the eight starters flew past the judges' boat like a flash. As they gained full headway and entered the more open waters the contestants began to cut into the heavy seas, throwing the seething foam high above their sides as they shot through the blinding sheets of flying water.

From the start it was the race of a life time, with the eight fleet craft in close form, racing through the awful sea; the thousands of spectators from island shores and yachts held their very breath in the fever of excitement and admiration of the rare sight. From the start it was Dixie's race, for she crept inch by inch into the lead, and before she had covered the first four miles of the course several lengths separated her from the following boats. Going over the starting line, Pirate was second, Jan, third; Chip III, fourth: Stranger, fifth; Duquesne, sixth, and Pawnee, seventh. Unfortunately, the U.S.A., after covering about two miles and a half of the course, became disabled and was compelled to drop out of the race.

`Ere seven miles of the course had been traversed Chip III had forged her way into second place, and was fighting desperately to overtake Dixie, but the gap between the two boats opened wider and wider. As the boats passed the judges' stand for the second round their order had changed somewhat. Dixie was a safe first, Chip II second, and at intervals of several seconds the other boats straggled around. Chip III made a final spurt when nearing the finish line, but the gap was too big and Dixie II won by 19 seconds.

It was generally regretted that the U.S.A. was unable to complete the race for she would have made it more exciting, owing to her being able to stay with the first two boats. During the running of the race a perfect downpour descended from the heavens, drenching spectators to the skin, but never for a moment did the boats waver as they dashed through an almost fog-like mist.

Dixie II, as all the world knows, is a very graceful boat in the water, and runs, when going at top speed, without creating much of a stir. This quality helped her immensely in the choppy seas. Chip III is a more crude sort of a boat and makes an ungainly appearance. her lines are not so trim and she has an extremely wide beam, which, with her pipe organ exhaust, gave her a very odd look. In the water she is not so easy to manage, especially when it is rough, for she pounds the waves instead of slipping through them. This seriously retarded her speed.

Dixie II captured the second heat in Friday, with 6 seconds to spare, as her crew drew the finish a little fine for she could easily have been a couple of miles in the lead. The river was even wilder than on the preceding day, and the start was postponed until 4 o'clock. All the entries started with the exception of the Duquesne. The start was again good with Dixie soon in the lead, and Chip III her nearest competitor. The U.S.A. again conveniently broke down and spoiled her chance of pushing the leaders at the finish. Two other racers fought out a duel all the way around the course for third and fourth place. Jan won the former, while Pirate got the latter, thus reversing the order of their finish from that made on the preceding day.

Dashing through the flying spray and cutting the huge waves like a knife, Dixie II won the third and final heat of the series, on Saturday, amidst a tremendous salute of whistles and racket from the on-looking boats. Dixie won in spite of an unintentional handicap, for, after going about 200 yards from the starting line, she stopped and it took her crew about 2 minutes to get her started. At the eighth mile she caught and passed Chip, in spite of the lead of a mile the latter had gained while Dixie was being started, and yet only 33 seconds separated these boats at the finish, so even a layman can see that Dixie did not run at full speed all the way.

On the last day the race was postponed at 5 o'clock, in the hope that a new world's record could be made, but nothing was gained by the delay, for it was as rough as ever when approaching darkness compelled the start to be made.

The Chippewa Yacht Club had secured the large houseboat Lysander, for its members and their friends to use as a club house, and its deck was thronged with fashionably gowned women who took an intense interest in what was going on. The judges were J. H. McIntosh, representing the American Power Boat Association; S. G. Averell, for the Chippewa Yacht Club; R. H. Eggleston, for the Thousand Islands Yacht Club.

(Transcribed from Power Boating, October 1908, pp.498-501)

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

Hydroplane History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at wildturnip@gmail.com
Leslie Field, 2001