1908 Harmsworth Trophy
Huntington Bay, New York, July 27-28, 1908
The International Motor Boat Race for the Harmsworth Trophy
After a postponement of two days owing to rough weather, the International Motor Boat Race for the Harmsworth Trophy was held in Huntington bay on Long Island Sound, August 3. There were but 2 English boats sent to America to challenge for the trophy, which was brought here last year by the "Dixie" of Mr. E. J. Schroeder, while America was represented by a trio consisting of the "Dixie II," the "U.S.A.," and the "Den." These three boats had been selected out of eight or more that were entered, as they were the only boats to put in an appearance or to demonstrate their ability to race in the preliminary trials, only one of which was held.
The race was started at 3 P.M. under splendid weather conditions, the Sound was smooth, and the boats were able to make very fast time. The course was a triangular one, 10 nautical miles in length, the apex of the triangle being in the harbor, and the base of it in Long Island Sound. The "Dixie" was first to cross the line, which it did 14 seconds after the starting whistle blew. The "Den" crossed the line second, and was quickly followed by the "Daimler II" and the "Wolseley-Siddeley." The "U.S.A." was late in starting on account of a slight accident, but after it did get away, it soon passed the "Den," which dropped to the last place.
While traversing the base of the triangle in the first round of 10 nautical miles, the "Daimler II" had trouble with one of her engines, and was passed by the "Wolseley-Siddeley." The former boat abandoned the race at this time, and throughout the balance of it the other English boat tried, in vain, to catch the "Dixie II." On the second round she gained 21 seconds on the "Dixie II," but in the first part of the third and final round the "Dixie" regained her lead, and finally finished 49 seconds ahead of the fast British racer of double her power. The elapsed times of these two boats were 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 57 seconds (corresponding to an average speed of 27.71 knots, or 31.94 statute miles an hour) and 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 46 seconds (corresponding to 27.34 knots, or 31.51 statute miles an hour). The "U.S.A." and the "Den" finished in 1:15:11 and 1:20:47, or at average speeds of 23.9 knots (27.55 miles an hour) and 22.3 knots (25.70 miles an hour).
As the result of this extraordinary performance of the "Dixie," The beautiful trophy will remain in this country another year. The hull of the defender was designed by Clinton H. Crane and built by Frank Woods. It is of light construction, 39½ feet long and 5¼ feet beam, and is fitted with an 8-cylinder, V-type gasoline engine of slightly over 200 horse- power. The engine was built by Messrs. Crane and Whitman. Its cylinders are 7¼ x 7¼ inches, and at the average of 825 R.P.M., which is about what it made in the race, the engine is capable of developing about 225 horse-power. The valves are located in the heads of the cylinders, each pair being operated by a single rocker arm worked from one camshaft. The complete power plant, consisting of engine, clutch, and reversing gear, weighs between 2,100 and 2,200 pounds, while the displacement of the boat with supplies and crew was about 4,700 pounds. A metal-to-metal cone clutch is used in combination with a positive jaw clutch. The engine is thoroughly lubricated by oil pumped through the hollow crankshaft. The propeller used is a three-bladed one, 26½ inches in diameter and 49-inch pitch.
The "Wolseley-Siddeley" and her engines were illustrated in our issue of June 13. The second English boat had triple screws driven by three 8-cylinder, V-type engines of about 170 horse-power each. This boat showed excellent speed, and would have stood a good chance of winning i one of the engines had not given out. The "U.S.A." was fitted with two 4-cylinder Chadwick engines of 100 horse-power each. This boat ran very smoothly, but did not have sufficient power to drive her at the speed of the leaders. The "Den" was the smallest boat in the race. She is equipped with a 4-cylinder engine of 80 horse-power. The hull of this boat was designed by Charles Herreshoff. When traveling at full speed, the first half of the boat was entirely out of water.
It is due to her excellent lines that the "Dixie II," in a private speed test held last week, was able to average 35.85 statute miles an hour over a 1.1 nautical mile course. This is the fastest speed over an accurately measured course that has ever been made by any motor boat.
(Transcribed From Scientific American, Aug. 15, 1908, p. 111. )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page]
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