1908 Huntington Bay Regatta

Race Week of the Motorboat Club of America

Motorboats to Race
Motorboats in Storm
Den Leads Motorboats
Race Week of the Motorboat Club of America

In making plans for the season, the Motor Boat Club of America outlines a series of races covering a full week, to follow the race for the British International Trophy, originally scheduled for Saturday, August 1st. The postponement of that event until Monday, August 3rd, disarranged the plans for the race week, and moreover the work of preparation attracted much less attention than would have been the case if all interest had not been centered upon the International event. For the races scheduled for Monday, August 3rd, and Tuesday, August 4th, there were no entries. They were races for unclassified boats, mile speed trials, and a free-for-all.

Series races for all classes to cover three days were planned originally to begin on Wednesday, August 5th, but the delay in running off the international event made necessary a postponement of the beginning of these races until Thursday, August 6th. On that day eleven boats were ready to start. For the first time in several weeks the sky was heavily overcast at the hour of starting, and both racing men and the Committee realized that they had hardly an even chance of carrying out the day's programme. The start was made, however, soon after 3 o'clock and eleven boats crossed the line. They were Den and XPDNC of high power, racing together at ratings of 91.8 and 100.2 respectively; Marie, Scioto and Red devil, also of the racing division and rating from 72 to slightly over 80 feet; Durno II and Artful, the one slightly under and the other something over 58 feet, and a little unclassified boat from Northport known as Go-Bang, which came rushing up at the last minute, and two cabin cruisers, Royal Flush, rating at 65.30, and Muskeget figured at 45:45.

The course for the racing boats was twice around a triangle, from the starting point at the head of Huntington Bay to the Lump buoy off Eaton's Point; thence to the bell buoy off Lloyd's Point, and thence to the starting point. The triangle measured 11 3-4 nautical miles and the full course therefore was 23 1-2 miles. The cruising boats were directed to go around the course once. Before any of the boats had finished the first round, the fiercest squall of the season broke over the Bay. In a very few minutes the wind blew a full gale, a heavy sea was kicked up immediately, the rain fell in torrents, and it was impossible to see a distance of one hundred feet. Den and XPDNC and one or two of the other boats managed to make the first round and started off bravely on the second, but very soon the skippers discovered that it was impossible to complete the race and every one made for shelter. The racing officials became much more concerned in the safety of the boats and their skippers than in any racing results. At the height of the storm Commodore Hoadley's steam yacht Nushka, and several large cruising motorboats went out of the harbor in search of the racing craft, but all the latter managed to get into sheltered water without assistance, although it was not known until late in the evening that the last of the little fellows was safe. The day was therefore of necessity cut out of the racing calendar.

On Friday, August 7th, the weather at the hour scheduled for the start, 2:30, looked almost at threatening as it did on the day previous, and such boats as were around the starting line scurried for shelter. There was something of a squall and rain-fall, but the sea remained fairly smooth, and by 4 o'clock the weather had cleared up. At 4:35 seven boats were started. Den, alone in her class, as XPDNC had gone home, raced against the best corrected time of any next larger class; Red Devil, Marie and Scioto classed together, Artful and Durno II also opponents, and little Go-Bang, a free lance still unmeasured. Den covered the 23 1-2 knots in 1:13:45. The elapsed time of the Red Devil was 1:35:08, but she lost to Marie, whose corrected time, with an allowance of 8:42 over Red Devil, 1:30:44. Scioto completed the first round, but came to grief before the end of the race. Artful finished the course in 1:40:13, but with an allowance of 2:59, Durno's corrected time was 1:39:37. Little Go-Bang did not finish.

Saturday was a beautiful day for racing, and the intention of the regatta committee was to start one race at 11 o'clock and a second one at 3 o'clock, in order to give the racing boats their series of three races, but at the morning hour only three boats were ready. The impression was that others desired to race, but a short period of waiting caused the skippers of the three to take rather more interest for the moment in dinner than in high speed. A race was started at 2 o'clock, the course being this time 24 miles, as the starting line was drawn from the end of the Chateaux des Beaux Arts pier to the gas buoy at the mouth of Northport Harbor. There were only three starters; Den, which covered the course in 1:04:21, Durno II, which finished in 1:45:27, and Artful, whose elapsed time was 1:41:21. Artful won ion her class, with something over a minute to spare, as Durno's allowance was 3:03. By an error in calculation the night before on the part of the statistician of the regatta committee in figuring the time allowance of Durno on the basis of a rating of 58 feet for Artful, instead of 58.8, it had been announced that Artful was the winner; therefore on Saturday afternoon as apparently Artful had won two races, neither her skipper nor Mr. Durno, owner of Durno II, cared for a third race. Scioto was still disabled, Red Devil declined to race any more, as according to her skipper she had no chance of winning, and therefore the races came to an end. A revision of the figures of Friday's race shows that Durno II won over Artful on that day. Therefore Artful and Durno II will each get a cup for winning a single race.

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, Aug. 25, 1908, p. 40)

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

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Leslie Field, 2001