1908 Bay City Boat Club Regatta

Racing at Bay City
"General II," "Stork," "Brooks No. 525" and "Lemon" Engage in Championship Contest
by Glenn B. Hiller

Twenty thousand people gathered on the shores of Saginaw bay, off Wenona beach, on Labor Day to witness the motorboat race for the championship of the valley, which was again retained by General II, owned by E. J. Paradis, who also held the championship of Saginaw River, won at the mid-Summer races under the auspices of the Bay City Boat Club. Stork, a new racer launched two days before the races, took second place, with Brooks No. 525, also a new flyer, third, and Lemon fourth.

The races were decided by General II taking two heats out of three, the last heat being unnecessary. a racehorse start was used, which proved beyond a doubt that this is the only form of starting that is a sure success. The boats drew for place, and came to the line with their bows almost on a direct line and were sent off in both heats in this manner with not a small fraction of a second difference. a fact that made the races remarkable and decidedly interesting was that each of the four boats was equipped with engines of the same horsepower, all of the same bore and stroke, and each of three-cylinders. This fact made the result depend entirely upon engine efficiency, models of the hulls, and seamanship. Before the race General was the only known quantity, the others never having been in a race before. Lemon was once entered, but failed to finish. Indeed it would have taken an expert to judge which boat would win, so closely were they matched.

General II, with Mr. Paradis' fox terrier on the stern as mascot, took the lead in both races, the most closely matched races being the Brooks boat and the Stork racer. General II finished the first heat 3m. 10s. ahead of the next contender, the last three being exactly 30 seconds apart across the line. In the second heat the same time almost to a second was made by the boats, though General II beat her former time by six seconds.

The course was eleven miles in length with three turns. General's time was 26 minutes 10 seconds in the first heat, and 26 minutes 4 seconds in the next.

Lemon is owned by Guy Warner and is equipped with a three-cylinder, 15-hp. Smalley motor. Brooks No. 525 is owned by the Brooks Boat Manufacturing Company and the Erd Motor Company, and is equipped with an Erd motor. Stork is owned by the Stork Motor Company and has an engine of that make installed, and General II is equipped with a 15-hp. Smalley of the latest type.

A novelty in the racing game of this locality will be given next year. Three hydroplanes are just being completed and are nearly ready for Fall trials, though no racing will be done till 1909. None of these freaks are patterned entirely after the original hydroplane. George Miskin, who is building a 39-foot 10-inch hydroplane, has introduced two wings on the bottom, on which he has obtained a patent, and which he plans on being able to lift the boat when it is in motion. They are adjustable to any angle. The boat is also different in that the rudder is placed at the bow instead of at the stern. It is of 4-foot beam and will be equipped with a 100-hp. Pierce six cylinder engine. Another has been completed by George Weatherwax, former head of the Bay City Boat Building Company, and equipped with a Smalley engine. It is neither exactly a hydroplane nor an ordinary shaped boat, but is of peculiar shape. The bottom is concave, and sides project several inches in the water, calculated to hold a volume of water when in motion to lift the hull so that but two inches will be submerged. A spray of 20 feet in length was thrown during the first trial, since then the boat has been pulled out of the water undergoing slight changes to overcome this. The third hydroplane in question is built by the Brooks Boat Manufacturing Company, of Saginaw, and is nearest to the original hydroplane. It is only 20 feet long and has a 5-foot beam, and will be equipped with a three-cylinder Erd motor of 15-hp.

The Saginaw Boat Club, a recent organization, which started with 30 charter members, now has over 125 on the rolls, and will hold its first annual cruise, regatta and picnic, at Melbourne Island, Saginaw River, on Sept. 29 The club was organized principally for clearing the river of deadheads, fish stakes, and other menaces to boating, also to enforce navigation rules regarding carrying lights and to stop pillaging of boats and boathouses during the night time.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Sep. 25, 1908, p. 36. )

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


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Leslie Field, 2001