1908 Harmsworth Trophy
Huntington Bay, New York, July 27-28, 1908
Crew In Collapse As Dixie II Wins Cup
America won the British International Motorboat Cup race yesterday in Huntington Bay, L.I. with the defending boat, Dixie II, beating the Duke of Westminster's English challenger, Wolseley-Siddeley over a thirty nautical mile course by 49 seconds official time, although by actual running time her margin of victory was only 38 seconds.
The finish was greeted with loud tooting of whistles and congratulatory megaphone shouts from the large fleet of steam yachts, power craft, and sailboats in the bay. These joyous greetings were quickly changed to anxiety for the welfare of the men on the winning boat, Capt. S. Barklay Pearce and Albert Rappuhn, the engineer, the same men who had charge of Dixie last year in England, when she brought the International cup to this country.
As Dixie II shot by the committee boat Pearce was standing on the forward part of the cockpit shaking Rappuhn violently by the shoulder. Instead of stopping Dixie II plowed straight up the bay toward Northport. It was plain to be seen that the engineer was in a state of collapse, if nothing worse, and launched immediately put out after the fleeting boat, one carrying a doctor. Then it was a ascertained that owing to the intense heat thrown back by the mufflers the gasoline fumes had overpowered Rappuhn a mile beyond the second turn and he had fainted. After being revived he stated that, realizing he was lapsing into unconsciousness, he opened up the engines to their full power, and explains the reason why Dixie II's average speed for the third round was the fastest of the race. As soon as he toppled over Pearce leaned forward and with one hand dashing up water from the spray thrown back from the bow he tried heroically to revive the fainting engineer, while with the other hand he steered the craft to victory. Rappuhn was only partially revived, and it was easy to see why the boat had finished careening from side to side in an unusual manner.
Rappuhn was revived by means of artificial respiration and stimulants as soon as the rescuing launch reached him, and then, under the nervous tension of the hard fought race, Capt. Pearce collapsed from nervous exhaustion, and he was immediately put to bed for the rest of the day in the hotel of the Cafe des Beaux Arts. Rappuhn, however, suffered no ill-effects, and freely discussed the exciting features of the race afterward with the keenest interest.
Of the five boats that started, three were American, the deed of gift limiting each country to three entries. Besides the challenger, England also sent over Daimler II, owned by Lord Howard de Walden. Dixie II is owned by ex-commodore E. F. Schroeder of the Motorboat Club of America. She is a new creation, designed by Clinton H. Crane and equipped with an eight-cylinder 200 horse power Crane & Whitman engine. She is 39 feet 6 inches in length, the maximum cup racing length being a shade under 40 feet.
The two other boats were Den, owned by Commodore Joseph H. Hoadley of the Motorboat Club of America, equipped with an eighty horse power American and British Company engine, and U.S.A., formerly the Irene, owned by Capt. John Sheppard of the Riverton (N.J.) Yacht Club. She is under 40 feet in length and equipped with two q00 horse power Chadwick engines.
Wolseley-Siddeley is 39 feet 6 inches long and has two six-cylinder Wolseley engines of 200 horse power each, while Daimler II is about four inches longer and equipped with three eight-cylinder engines.
The course was triangular, running out to a stake boat in the Sound beyond Eaton's Neck, then across the Sound to a mark off Lloyd's Neck, and then back to the starting line. Rear-Commodore Wilson P. Foss's power yacht Cactus II and the revenue cutter Manhattan were anchored off the first mark, and the revenue cutter Mohawk was at the second mark.
All of the boats, except U.S.A., ran a trifle too far to the west on the first leg, but those persons with strong glasses could see that Dixie II, Daimler II and Wolseley-Siddeley were the ones that were making a race of it. Daimler II was going like a streak and seemed to be overhauling Dixie II, when, just after turning the second mark, a piston in one of her starboard engines seized, breaking a connecting rod, and she was helplessly out of it.
In rounding the first mark Dixie II led Wolseley-Siddeley by 37 seconds. The second round was exciting, for Capt. Robbins let his boat out to her top notch, gaining 21 seconds on his rival, but still leaving Dixie II 16 seconds in the lead at the end of the second round. They passed close to the committee tug in rounding, Wolseley-Siddeley finishing past in a wave of white spray, making a graceful turn not more than six feet from the bow of the tug.
"Will Dixie II hold out?" "The English will surely win if she keeps that up," were some of the expressions in the midst of the excitement by the watchers on the tug. Before the first mark out in the Sound was reached, however, Dixie II had widened the gap, and as the two dark forms, barely discernible above the water, came down on the final leg, the long line of white spray behind them indicating the speed of the race, Dixie II was so much in the lead that nothing barring accident could snatch victory from her. She gained thirty-thee seconds over the English boat in that run, giving her the cup in 49 seconds elapsed time. U.S.A. was third, 10 minutes 14 seconds behind the winner, and Den, which really made a splendid showing for her limited horse power, was 15 minutes 50 seconds behind Dixie II.
Dixie's average speed for her actual running time was twenty-eight nautical miles per hour, equivalent to 32.15 statute miles. This is the fastest time ever made in a motorboat race in this country. Wolseley-Siddeley has a record over the Admiralty nautical mile course in the Solent of 30.2 miles, or 34.7 statute miles.
(Transcribed from the New York Times, Aug. 4, 1908, p.1)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. LF]
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