1908 Harmsworth Trophy
Huntington Bay, New York, July 27-28, 1908

International Trophy Challenge
Conditions of the Race

Challenger for the International Trophy
International Trophy Challenge
Nine Boats Ready to Defend the Trophy
International Trials Postponed Until July 27 and 28
Dixie II Will Help Defend Motor Cup
Waiting for Motorboats
English Motorboats Here
Motorboats Race To-Day
The International Cup
Motorboat Race Off
Predict Fast Time for Motorboats
The International Motor-Boat Cup
Crew in Collapse as Dixie II Wins Cup
International Motor Boat Race for the Harmsworth Trophy
The British International Trophy Race
British International Trophy Race
Preparations for the International
How Dixie II Defended the Harmsworth Trophy
International Trophy Race of 1908

Saturday, August 1st, is the day on which a race for the British International Trophy for motorboats will be run in this country. This date was decided upon at a meeting of the board of governors of the Motor Boat Club of America held on February 28. The course has not yet been decided upon, but it will probably be laid off either at the western end of the Sound in a triangle, two angles of which will be in Hempstead Harbor and off Larchmont, respectively, or else in Huntington Harbor and waters adjacent thereto. The Regatta committee of the club has been instructed by the board of Governors to make a report as to the availability of the waters of each section for the purposes of racing.

The rules stipulate that the race shall be run in sheltered waters. This phrase is construed on this side of the Atlantic to mean in waters of a width from shore to shore not more than three times, and the action of the government in placing racing buoys in various localities in the western end of the Sound makes it a comparatively simple matter to lay off the course at either of the places mentioned. As will be seen by the rules appended, the course, if practically straightaway, must be hexagonal on either end, inasmuch as it is stipulated that the boats shall not be compelled to turn an angle of less than 120 degrees.

The challenge for the contest came from the Motor Yacht Club of Great Britain, and was received by Secretary Bieling of the Motor Boat Club of America just prior to February 1st, the last date on which a challenge for any year may be received. As the rules also stipulate that no race shall be run within six months of the reception of the challenge, August 1st is the earliest day on which the race may take place. A challenge having been received previous to February 1st, the entry of boats from other countries may be received at any time prior to July 1st. Each country competing may be represented by not more than three boats. If there are more than three entries of american boats, it will be necessary to hold elimination races some time prior to August 1st. As it is known that at least four boats are being built or in contemplation, it is practically assured that the Motor Boat Club of America will be called upon to hold elimination races. These will probably be held during the second week of July, far enough in advance of the actual contest to allow the competitors three weeks' time for any work which may be necessary on their boats.

The rules under which the race this year must be held are those adopted by the British International Cup Commission in September, 1905, inasmuch as the deed of gift stipulates that no alteration shall be made in the rules in any one year after the receipt of a challenge. The deed of gift and the rules as approved at the last meeting of the Commission are given below.

The British International Cup for Motor Boats
Conditions Under the Deed of Gift and Rules pursuant thereto, as Approved at the last Meeting of the Commission, on 11th September, 1905

Conditions Under the Deed of Gift

  1. The Cup shall be for International competition, and the trustees of the same shall be the Motor Yacht Club
  2. The Cup or Trophy shall be competed for in every year, and at such time and such place as hereinafter appears, but shall be under the rules for the time being of the Marine Motor Association of the United Kingdom.
  3. There shall be not more than three vessels representing each country.
  4. Each competing vessel shall be constructed wholly in every particular in the country which it represents.
  5. No limitation shall be placed on the form or description of the motive power, provided that the motive power is wholly mechanical, except as may be modified by any rule hereinafter appearing.
  6. Each vessel shall carry not less than two hands, of whom the helmsman shall be a member of the competing club, and all hands shall be natives or naturalized subjects of the country which they represent.
  7. Vessels representing a country shall be selected by a recognized club of that country. If there be any dispute as to what is a recognized club of the country, the trustees shall decide, and their decision shall be absolutely binding.
  8. The club holding the Cup for the time being shall make all the necessary arrangements for organizing the race, and shall bear all the costs relating to such organization.
  9. The club shall make such charges by way of entry fees and the like for defraying the costs of all necessary arrangements for or in connection with the said race as they shall think proper.
  10. All questions arising out of the running of the races shall be dealt with by an International Commission, composed as follows: One representative of each of the competing clubs, and one representative of the donor, and in case of equality in the number of votes, then the representative of the donor shall, in addition to his ordinary vote, have also a casting vote. The proceedings of such International Commission shall be conducted in the English language.
  11. Rules affecting the conduct of the race and restricting the length and nature of the course, the measurements and equipment of the vessels, size or horsepower of the engines, and all such other rules and regulations as are necessary for the proper conduct of the said race, shall be settled by a committee composed of representatives of the Marine Motor Association of the United Kingdom, of the Motor Yacht Club and of the donor. Any alterations of the rules which may subsequently become necessary shall be made by a committee consisting of one representative of the Marine Motor Association of the United Kingdom, one representative of the Motor Yacht Club, one representative of the donor, and one representative of each of the clubs which competed in the last previous race for the Cup.
  12. No alteration in the said rules shall be valid unless arrived at unanimously, except in such cases where the only objector is the holder of the Cup or the representative of the club holding the Cup for the time being, and in that case the question shall be referred to the donor or his representative for the time being present at the meeting of the committee, whose decision shall be final.
  13. In the event of any alteration in the rules being required or necessary, no alteration shall be made to such in any one year, after the receipt of a challenge, in accordance with the foregoing conditions.


  1. The Cup or Trophy shall be handed to the Club of the winning boat, and held by such Club of the winning boat, and held by such Club for one year or any other further period by the consent of the committee hereinafter mentioned, provided a succeeding competition shall not take place within one year, but if the said Club are called upon by the trustees, then they shall forthwith return the same on demand at any time after the expiration of 12 months from the date of the race at which the same was won.
  2. On the said Cup being handed over to the winning Club, such Club shall thereby become and be deemed to be the custodians of the said Cup, and shall be deemed to undertake for the safe custody of the same, and shall also insure the same for 500 pounds, or such other sum or sums as the committee shall decide, and the insurance premium for that year shall be paid by the Club holding the same. Such insurance shall not only cover loss by fire, but also any other loss or damage whatsoever.
  3. The race shall be held over a suitable course in sheltered waters of the country holding the Cup, or failing that in similar waters in Great Britain or Ireland.
  4. The length of the course shall not be less than 30 or more than 35 nautical miles, and shall be so arranged as to avoid any angle in the course of less than 120 deg., and there shall be a distance of at least 100 yards between any two marks. The length of each round shall not be less than 5 nautical miles.
  5. The course shall be determined by the Club holding the Cup, and the particulars thereof shall be sent to all Clubs which have challenged within twenty-eight days of the receipt of a challenge. In any case the course shall conform to Nos. 3 and 4 of these rules.
  6. The start shall be a flying start, and all competitors shall be started together by signal, five minutes after the preparatory signal. Both these signals shall consist of flag and sound signals. That boat of which any portion of the hull first crosses the finishing line shall be adjudged the winner of the race.
  7. Measurements and starting of the competing vessels and the judging of the race shall be carried out under the directions of the International Commission defined by condition 10 hereof, who also shall be the Racing Committee referred to in the Racing Rules of the Marine Motor Association for the purpose of considering protests.
  8. The only limitation of the size of the competing vessels shall be in the over all length of the hull, which shall not exceed 39 feet 11 inches, or 12.18 metres.
  9. Each boat shall carry a distinguishing flag, which may be of any material, and which shall not be less than 12 inches hoist nor 15 inches fly, and shall be carried at a height of not less than 2 feet clear of the deck.
  10. There shall be no restriction on the number, size, or horsepower of the engines or motors, except that each boat taking part in any race shall contain and be fitted with such mechanical power as will drive her astern at a rate of speed of not less than four knots an hour in still water.
  11. If none of the competitors are able to complete the course at an average over the whole length thereof of 12 knots an hour from any cause whatsoever, then the race shall be abandoned for the day, and the same shall be run on a day to be agreed upon and fixed by the International Commission, but such day shall not be more than three days after the abandoned race. If only one of the competitors is then ready, the competitor shall go over the course and shall be adjudged the winner of the Cup. If none of the said competitors are ready with the three days hereinbefore mentioned, the race shall again be postponed to a date to be decided by the International Commission, and if again no vessel is ready, the event shall be again postponed, and so on until one boat goes over the course on one of the dates to be fixed as aforesaid by the International Commission, and such boat shall be deemed the winner of the Cup.
  12. In the event of any temporary accident to or derangement of any one of the competing vessels during the race, no assistance shall be rendered to the boat other than by the two hands carried by the said boat. If the accident or derangement is of such an nature that outside assistance shall be necessary, the distinguishing flag shall be hauled down and the vessel shall take no further part in the races. Outside assistance may not be given or rendered or procured until the distinguishing flag has been hauled down, but after the same has been hauled down assistance may be given, but the vessel shall be immediately removed from the course, and shall not interfere in any way with the other competitors.
  13. In the case of an accident to one of the competitors the other competitors shall continue the race and finish the course. In the event of one competitor going to the assistance of another the committee shall decide whether the race shall be run again.
  14. In the case of no challenge having been received by the Club holding the Cup on or before the 1st February in any year, no race can take place for the Cup during that year; and in no case shall a race take place within six months from the date of receipt of a challenge; and the last date at which an entry may be received is July 1st in any year.
  15. If in the opinion of the International Commission, constituted as provided in Condition 10 of the Deed of Gift, a postponement of the race or an alteration of the course shall be desirable, owing to unfavorable weather or any unforeseen cause, this Commission shall have power to take such action as may be necessary; but in any case the course must conform to Nos. 3 and 4 of these Rules.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Mar. 10, 1908, pp. 10-11.)

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

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Leslie Field, 2001