1908 Hudson River Carnival
The National Motor Boat Carnival
The National Motor Boat Carnival held on the Hudson River September 21 to 25, inclusively, under the auspices of the Colonial Yacht Club, of New York City, was certainly a success, and the regatta committee is to be congratulated upon the businesslike methods in which it was conducted.
In this series of events there no "last-minute" notices, and no opportunity for any contestant to complain of lack of due notification. Nor was there lacking anything which would tend to the comfort and convenience of the contestants and their guests. Long before the races, notices of the events had been posted in various club-houses and mailed to motor-boat owners. The entries, made well in advance, were tabulated in printed form, making the task of the contestants and the spectators to keep tab on the events a particularly easy one.
The races were called promptly, except when weather conditions absolutely forbade the strict adherence to schedule. The number of entries was particularly good, and the percentage of boats that actually started, particularly in the cruising classes, was more than encouraging.
The foresight of the National Association in having the regatta held where the start could be witnessed by thousands of spectators from the Riverside Drive is deserving of high commendation. And to the Colonial Yacht Club, who places the club-house and grounds at the disposal of the contestants and their friends, a vote of thanks is due from every one who enjoyed the races there as a participant or a spectator.
Situated on a high bank between the railroad tracks and the river just north of 138th Street, the club-house offered an advantageous spot from which to view the start and finish. Along the wall which separated Riverside Drive from the tracks there were rows of stone benches, which served as a standing place for thousands of interested spectators who watched the start and finish of some of the best-contested events in the history of the motor boat.
Although there were six entries for the mile championship events scheduled to start at 2:30 P.M. on the first day of the regatta -- Monday, September 21 -- but three of the speed boats started. These were E. J. Schroeder's Dixie II, J. H. Hoadley's Den and Geo. F. Baker Jr.'s Vim. Vision, owned by F. F. Goodman, had sunk during an attempt to tow around from Rockaway Point, and Bullet, owned by W, J, Taylor, and Chas. L. Seabury's Speedway 1920 did not cross the line.
On Tuesday, September 22, in the free-for-all American championship event, a distance of 30 nautical miles, there were entered Dixie II, Vision, Mercury, Den and Vim. Of these, Dixie II and Den started, the former crossing the line at 2:40:20 and Dixie following 2.3 seconds later.
In the long-distance championship, contested by the speed boats over a course to Poughkeepsie and return, and for the cruising boats to Peekskill and return, the two classes were scheduled to start at 9:30 and 9:35 A.M., respectively.
But when Wednesday morning came, a dense, dark, low-hanging fog covered the river from shore to shore, and gave every promise of making the contest an exceptionally dangerous one for the high-powered, swift-moving speed craft. The cruisers started off at 10:10 A.M.. Most of the contestants got across the line in a very pretty bunch. S. W. Granbery's Irene had evidently been figuring on getting over just the instant as the gun was fired, but miscalculated the distance a trifle, and the result was there were only two boats astern when she crossed. E. J. Steiner's Wanderlust and R. C. Annett's Aquilla crossed the line close inshore and out of the tide, neck and neck, so to speak, and were at nip and tuck as far as they could be followed by the eye. The Alabama got away about the middle of the bunch, but before she was out of sight led the fleet with a good distance of water between her stern and their bows.
By 11 o'clock the fog had lifted sufficiently for the racers to feel reasonably certain that they could spot a floating log before they collided with it, and the Artful, owned by H. Coon, W. J. Brainard's Mercury, F. H. Tucker Jr.'s Macon, Geo. F. Blake's Vim, and Chas Seabury's Speedway 1920 said that they were ready to go.
By very careful and skillful jockeying, Mr. Seabury's Speedway 1920 crossed the line first, close into the shore and well out of the tide. The last of the remaining starters were over the line and out of sight up the river when H. R. Sutphen, who had been looking down the river through a pair of glasses, and trying to act as if he was not impatient, sped his boat, the Elco, coming up stream with a bone in her teeth.
The race had been started without her, as it was feared that, on account of the fog, which was thicker down the river, it would be impossible to count on her getting to the starting line in time. As she came up on the jump, her flag was handed over to her as if it had been something hot of which the dispenser was glad to get rid, and over she went with 3 minutes 47 seconds between her and the last of the predecessors over the line.
Eagle was disabled and did not finish until 8:29:19. Joker was protested, on the ground of having removed her top, and therefore being converted into an open launch, which took her out of the class in which she had entered the event.
In the racing class the starters were H. R. Sutphen's Elco, H. Coon's Artful, a 22-foot craft, with N. J. Brainard's Mercury, a 28-footer, which was disabled and did not finish; Macon, owned by F. H. Tucker Jr., steered by Maurice Whittaker, while Vim, the winner of the contest, won in corrected time 3:47:59.
The events for Thursday, the 24th; Friday, the 25th, and Saturday, the 26th, were a series of races for:
The winning boats for the week's contest were as follows:
(Transcribed from Yachting, November 1908, pp. 244, 245, 284, 286. )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Leslie Field, 2001