1908 Bay City Boat Club Regatta

The Bay City Boat Club's First Regatta
by Glen B. Hiller

The first annual power boat regatta of the Bay City Boat Club was a big success. There were two races, a free-for-all and a handicap, the former being run to determine the handicaps of the racers in the second event. The handicapping system was the most satisfactory ever used here, the boats being rated on their actual performance in the free-for-all. If any boat exceeded the time made in the free-for-all by 3 per cent, it disqualified her. The entries were General II, Arrow, Eye Opener, Genevieve, Humming Bird, Lemon, Teddy, Two Howards and Wonder.

A remarkable performance was witnessed between General II and Arrow. These boats were the favorites in the race and interest naturally centered in the results. The course was 10 miles in length. In the free-for-all, Arrow won, being the first to cross the line on the start and on the finish, though General beat her on elapsed time by exactly one second. In the handicap race, all the boats were considerably slower, but General II won, defeating Arrow by exactly one second again. Neither boat had the slightest trouble, and they maintained their respective positions over the entire course.

Another feature of the races was, that seven of the nine starters were equipped with 3-cylinder engines, all of 15 to 20 horse-power, and all but two of these had one make of engine, making the result depend largely on skill in handling the boat, and on the model of the hull.

The types of the boats were varied from the deceptive Arrow to the freak Lemon. General II, Lemon, Teddy and Wonder were strictly freaks, everything being sacrificed for speed, even to the appearances of the craft. Painted a flaring lemon color, the boat bearing that name made a striking appearance as it tore through the water throwing a spray that made the boat almost invisible at times. This resistance against the water proved her undoing, however, for it takes power to throw such a spectacular spray. Arrow is one of the smoothest-running boats in the world, making little fuss. Her engine keeps up a continual buzz that is distinctly different from the loud roar of the other boats in her class. This quietness of going makes her deceptive as to speed, for she moves much faster than one would suppose.

None of the boats made the speed claimed for them before the race, but General II got the best time over the course, which was 23:22 for the 10 miles.

General II was stripped of every seat and all weight that was unnecessary, leaving merely a shell. Wonder's construction created considerable interest. She is built of 1/16 inch steel plates and weighs but 320 pounds without the engine.

Teddy is another light boat and the narrowest racing machine in the contest, being but 3 feet beam and 25 feet long. Eye Opener is of the more steadier and permanent type and runs smoothly.

General II is a sister boat to General I, and is owned by E. R. Walker, of Detroit. The latter gave the Dixie the hardest brush she ever had at Palm beach, and led the former owner, E. J. Paradis, to construct another boat on practically the same model, but without the long bow.

The experiment with boats having a skeg bottom is practically at an end around Bay City. Boat builders are now turning to the flat-bottomed boats when speed is wanted, and are trying to take away the resistance at the bow, which is created by boats of the skeg-bottom type. These flat-bottomed boat, like General I, General II, Teddy, Arrow and others, make much less fuss in the water, run more smoothly and do not leave a tumult in their wake.

(Transcribed from Yachting, December, 1908, p. 297. )

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

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