1908 Monaco Regatta
Monte Carlo, Monaco, April 1-13, 1908


Monaco -- The Race Meet of the Year
W. F. Bradley

Entries for the Monaco Meeting
Monaco -- The Race Meet of the Year
Monaco Races
Motor-Boat Racing (April 4-9)
Motor Boat Racing (April 10-12)
Aftermath of Monaco
1908 Monaco by Kevin Desmond
The Motor Yacht Race Week at Monaco

Mr. Bradley was there. When he left New York for Paris a few weeks ago he said he would like to serve as our staff representative on the Continent and would begin his work at Monaco. it seemed worth while because the Monaco race meet is the most important international power boat regatta of the year. it holds all records for speed and although it may sound un-American to admit it, the boats which compete under the shadow of Monte Carlo set the pace for the whole world. On that account we have spared nothing in giving our readers an accurate personal story that is indeed interesting and may be preserved for reference in the annals of the sport.

Editor

The fifth annual Monaco motor boat meeting has had as one of its main results, the production of three remarkably fast boats -- Wolseley-Siddeley, a Britisher; Panhard-Levassor, a Frenchman, as its name indicates; and Rapiere III, which, although suffering a temporary setback, will undoubtedly give good account of herself later. it must not be imagined that the interest was confined to these three boats, for of the 70 craft united in the exhibition ground and on the blue waters of the Mediterranean there were numbers, both cruisers and racers, worthy of close attention.

The fast speed boats, however, always get the lion's share of attention, and the two which stand our most prominently this year are the French Panhard-Levassor and the British Wolseley-Siddeley. it is difficult to say which of the two is the faster craft, for, although the Britisher has beaten the Frenchman, the latter was not running well on one of its engines at the time of the encounter, and better results are to be expected when the boat has been more thoroughly tuned up. Honors are at present about equally divided, for Wolseley-Siddeley captured the first place in the 50-kilometers race, at an average speed of 33.38 miles an hour, while Panhard-Levassor took off the main prize, the Championship of the Sea, at an average speed of 33.13 miles an hour over a distance of 200 kilometers.

When Wolseley-Siddeley won first place for the Union jack on the second day of the meet she had lined up against her Panhard-Levassor, Jeannette, an Italian boat engined by Itala and owned by Chavalier Florio, Lorraine, and Brasier's Grand-Trefle, with three sets of four-cylinder engines. From the outset the struggle lay between Panhard-Levassor and Wolseley-Siddeley. Grand-Trefle suffering from injuries received a few hours before in a collision, Lorraine being a slow boat, and Jeannette a two-year-old craft that could not be expected to compete on equal terms with this year's models.

Comte Robert de Vogue, who was piloting the Panhard, got the better start, but before he had completed a round Wolseley-Siddeley had crept up and when the starting line was reached again the two boats went around together in magnificent style. it was a sight that is not often seen among big racers, even at Monaco, and there was plenty of excitement among the groups of English and French sportsmen lining the Terrace. After the first round Wolseley-Siddeley began to forge ahead and gradually crept away until at the end of the race she had a lead of rather more than two minutes. Jeannette came up in a fairly good third, but both Lorraine and Grand-Trefle had to abandon, one on the fourth and the other on the fifth round.

When the Championship of the Sea was started on the fifth day of the meeting, public interest centered almost entirely on Panhard-Levassor and Wolseley-Siddeley. Unfortunately the English boat had no sooner got to the starting line when it was discovered that one of her clutches was defective and she had to be withdrawn and the very commencement of the contest. This left 20 boats to compete for the $2,600 offered as cash prizes. half the boats, however, were but fast cruisers incapable of competing against racing boats with several hundred horsepower in their hulls, and at the outset the struggle was regarded as centering around Panhard-Levassor, Rapiere III, Grand-Trefle and Jeannette. Vincenzo Florio's Itala engines refused to be started, and it was not until Panhard-Levassor, which had left the line sharp on the starting signal, was 37 minutes ahead that the Italian amateur pilot went over the line in what appeared to be a hopeless chase. The Panhard boat soon showed that she was the fastest of the lot, for on the completion of the first of the eight rounds she was so far ahead as to be unbeatable, barring accidents. At one time the fast racer was in danger of being stopped owing to the sufferings of her crew, almost asphyxiated by the fumes from the engine. Two of the men were overcome, and but for the determination of the third, who stuck to the post and dragged his companions into a position where they could breathe pure atmosphere, the race might have been lost.

Grand-Trefle and Rapiere, unable to compete in speed with the Panhard-Levassor, struggled together for four consecutive rounds for second position. On the straightaway, Rapiere forged ahead, but invariably lost whatever she had gained going round the buoys. it was one of the most thrilling scenes of the meet to watch the two boats, about equally matched for speed, struggling for supremacy, first one being ahead, then the other, Rapiere and Grand-Trefle alternately gaining the inside of the course. On the tenth round Grand-Trefle began to lose, the amount of water she had been shipping having a considerable retarding influence. a few minutes later she ran for port and Rapiere was left apparently sure of second position.

But while this exciting struggle was going on. Jeannette, handicapped by her late start, had been forging ahead with remarkable regularity, and from last place had worked up to fifth position, those ahead of her being the two racers, Panhard-Levassor and Rapiere, and two cruisers, Delahaye-Nautilus and Calypso-Mors. The two latter were passed and there remained the difficult task of overtaking the two racers. As far as the Panhard-Levassor was concerned it was an impossible task, and it might have been very hard to catch Rapiere had not that boat suddenly stopped and signaled for a tug to take her to port. Jeannette was second, though finishing more than an hour behind the winner. The time for the Panhard-Levassor was 3:46:02, which gives an average speed of 33.13 miles an hour. Jeannette finished in 4:56:56, the others to continue to the end being the four cruisers, Delahaye-Nautilus, Calypso-Mors, Lorraine and Isabelle-Gnome.

The withdrawal of Rapiere was in no way due to her four-cylinder Panhard engine, but to the breakdown of her transmission. The boat, which is of a very original design, being partially gliding boat and partially displacement, is fitted with a 155-millimeter bore engine completely aft. her engine shaft is carried forward to a point about amidships, where it is geared direct to the propeller being directly under the engine. There is a reduction gear between the engine shafts and the propeller shaft, but it is used only for starting up, the craft normally running with direct drive through from one shaft to the other. As the engine turns over at 1,000 to 1,200 revolutions a minutes, and gives 100 horsepower on the brake, there is an enormous strain on the bevel gear; the strain, indeed, was too much for the gear, the breakdown of this organ about 12 miles from the finish putting the craft entirely hors de combat.

The Wolseley Tool and Engine Co. built Wolseley-Siddeley with a view to capturing the International Cup, formerly known as the Harmsworth Cup, now held by the American challenger Dixie. Saunders, who is responsible for the hull, has certainly turned out an excellent piece of work, having profited considerably from his experience with Flying Fish last year, and the engine makers have not been a whit behind in their share of the task. The two eight-cylinder engines, each declared to develop 200 horsepower, are placed side by side in the hull, with a slight outward inclination to give additional space for the mechanics. The cylinders are cast in pairs, and are fitted with light copper jackets screwed on. Valves are all on the inside and have little that is distinctive. Ignition is by high tension magneto with storage batteries as a stand-by and for starting up. Total weight of each engine is 1,670 pounds, total weight of machinery being 4,200 pounds.

In Panhard-Levassor there are four four-cylinder engines, the bore of which is variously given as 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 inches. Cylinders are separate steel with copper jackets, and ignition is by high tension Eisnemann magneto.

One of the regrettable features of the meeting was the total loss of Fiat-Gallinari, a new Italian boat fitted with a couple of Fiat six-cylinder engines. The craft, which had come up from Livourne, a distance of 200 kilometers, under her own power and without a stop, was the mystery of the meet, all sorts of fantastic stories going abroad as to her power plant and speed ability. On the last day of the trials the Fiat was taken out into the bay for speed tests, and when opposite the Tir aux Pigeons was seen to suddenly send up a cloud of smoke, to burst into flames, burn down to the water's edge and disappear, the whole taking place in an incredibly short space of time. it appears that the fire was caused by short circuiting at the plugs, which were of defective quality, the hot flame causing the gasoline vapors in the ill-ventilated engine room to ignite. The woodwork took hold immediately, and the six men forming the crew had only time to shut off the gasoline flow and jump overboard for their lives. As the boat went down in deep water it is not thought worth while to attempt to regain the engines.

La Rapiere had all her glory the opening day of the meeting, when in the 50-kilometers race for boats fitted with engines built under the Grand Prix rules -- not more than 155 millimeters bore for four cylinders -- she finished in 58:42. Delahaye-Nautilus finished second in 1:00:37, followed by Ricochet, a small hydroplane, and Scarlet Runner, a slow but regular English boats.

Of the many races for cruisers one of the most interesting was the 50-kilometer contest for boats with single cylinder engines of not more than 3.9 inches bore, won by a little Sizaire-Naudin in 2:20:16, being an average of more than 15 miles an hour. The engine used in the boat is declared to be the one employed on this firm's little runabout racer victorious in a voiturette race last fall. The use of automobile engines in Monaco racing craft is too common a practice to cause comment.

The handicap events which occupied the last three days of the Monaco meet had an opening spectacle which might be regarded as ludicrous or unfortunate according to the temperament of the spectator. LorraineDietrich, a slow, sea-going cruiser, came in first, beating such fast boats as Wolseley-Siddeley, Jeannette and Delahaye-Nautilus, much to the consternation of the handicappers. if the pilot of the vedette had forced his engines a little the spectators might have seen the winner come home before the scratch boat was given a start. The explanation was found in the fact that immediately before the race the builder had changed the propeller of the boat, and, as much to his surprise as that of the handicappers, had obtained an increase in speed of almost 25 per cent. Under such conditions it was impossible to record the results as official.

The finest piece of racing in connection with the meeting was witnessed on the last day, when Panhard-Levassor and Wolseley-Siddeley struggled for supremacy and the French boat finally won by the narrowest of margins. Each boat first ran in its own class for the mile and kilometer, and in this preliminary event Wolseley-Siddeley, after cutting the line diagonally, gained on the Panhard, made almost a dead heat at the mile, and, gradually forging ahead, finished with an advantage of five seconds.

Blasts from every British siren in the bay and cheers from the hundreds of British throats greeted the victory of the Union Jack. Indeed it was impossible for those who had been hoping to see the rival craft victorious to refrain from sending up a shout at the termination of the finest bit of racing ever witnessed at Monaco.

When the final was announced perfect silence fell over the 10,000 persons filling the various points of vantage on the steep, picturesque cliffs. There were four starters, Panhard-Levassor, Wolseley-Siddeley, Rapiere III and Delahaye-Nautilus, but all attention was centered on the first two boats. Robbins, who was handling the British racer, went over the line in a slightly oblique manner at the moment the fifth ball was descending. He had a slight advantage over the Panhard-Levassor which was the smallest fraction of a second late in getting away. But the Frenchman gained a few inches he had lost, and when the mile standing start had been finished the boats were dead heat, time 2:01 1-5.

Here the Panhard began to show her nose ahead of the rival craft from across the channel, and inch by inch she began to pull away until at the end she had an advantage of 2 3-5 seconds, her time for the flying kilometer being 1:02 4-5, compared with 1:05 1-5 for the Britisher, the two races, standing mile and flying kilometer, run in immediate succession, gave an average speed for the winner of 34.67 miles an hour.

Then the pent up enthusiasm of the French spectators was given free course. On land and water, human and mechanical sound producers vied with each other in their efforts to produce the greatest volume of sound. "Vive la France" mingled with the harsh notes of sirens and horns, and the fair members forgot decorum as they cried "Bravo, Bravo." When, at the end of a quarter of an hour, enthusiasm calmed down a little it was only for a few minutes that quietness was allowed to reign. On the pilot and crew coming ashore there was another outburst, and Tellier, the young naval architect responsible for the Panhard hull, had to be carried around in triumph.

The little Rapiere, generally looked upon as good for third place, disappointed by breaking down when more than half the distance had been run. She had made a successful showing in her series but had to retire in the final owing to the second disablement of the driving gear between her engine shaft and propeller shaft. The new gear, which had been put in very hurriedly proved to be incapable of standing the strain. Delahaye-Nautilus thus finished a poor third.

Next May the international nautical conference will take place, and in all probability the Monaco regulations will appear in June. it is declared in well-informed circles that an international cup will be created, to be competed for somewhat on the lines of the Gordon Bennett Cup, by three or four boats per nation. it is not yet known whether or not the power of the boats will be limited.

SUMMARIES OF MONACO RACES

 April 5, 1908

Small Racers--course 50 kilos. 

Cruisers--class II--course 50 kilos

Weather, Fine, Calm

Weather, Wet, Rough 

 Boat

Length feet

Power H. P.

Elapsed Time

Speed Knots

Boat

Length

H.P.

Time

Speed

Rapiere III

26.5

100

57:42

28.1

Mais je-vais-Piquer II

21.6

38

1:42:50

15.5

Delahaye-Nautilus X

26.5

100

1:00:37

26.9

S.I.A.M. Scat

21.6

38

1:52:08 

13.9

Ricochet XVI

18 (?)

10

1:30:58

17.8

Delahaye-Nautilus VII

21.6

40

1:56:11

- -

Scarlet Runner

27

75

1:39:46

17.3

Lanturla VI

21.6

25

1:56:41

- -

Ricochet

18(?)

17(?)

1:44:12

- -

 Maurice Rene II  21.6  30  1:56:51 - - 

 April 6, 1908

Big Racers--course 50 kilos

Dinghy Class--course 50 kilos

Weather, Fine, Smooth

Weather, Rough

Wolseley-Siddeley

40

400

56:17

28.7

Sizaire-Naudin

20

15

2:20:16

11.5

Panhard-Levassor

49

480

58:30

27.8

Anzini-Nautilus

21

15

3:10:58

8.6

Jeannette

39.5

170

1:00:54

26.5

 

 April 7, 1908

Cruisers--class III--course 50 kilos

Cruisers--class IV--course 50 kilos

Weather, Fine, Smooth

Weather, Fine 

Mors Ulysse

26.5

50

1:30:37

17.9

Delahaye-Nautilus VIII

35

60

1:17:42

21.6

Mais je-vais-Piquer

23

50

1:34:40

17.1

Mors Calypso

35 (?)

65

1:18:03

21.5

Lanturla IV

26.5

35

1:39:17

16.2

Mais je-vais-Quand-Meme

27

68

1:30:18

17.9

Excelsior Buire II

26

50

1:39:18

16.2

Isabelle Gnome

27

65

1:32:08

17.6

Labor II

24

40

1:52:50

14.4

 

Essembi

26

35

1:54:36

14.1

Fleche-Mutel

26.5

50

1:55:40

14.0

 April 8, 1908
Cruisers--class V--course 50 kilos Cruiser's Handicap--course 25 kilos

Weather, Fine, Smooth

Weather, Fine, Smooth 

Lorraine III

55

80

1:37:50

 Takumono

3:10:00

4:21:40

Jacqueline IV

47

70

2:35:54

Mirane-Mutel

3:20:00

4:23:08

Togo

55

- -

3:15:58

Isabelle Gnome

3:45:00

4:25:23

 

Togo

3:02:00

4:25:28

Lorraine III

3:42:00

4:25:43

Sec

3:46:00

4:28:01

Fleche-Mutel

3:37:00

4:28:27

 April 9, 1908

Championship of the Sea--course, 200 kilos. Weather, Fine, Smooth

 

Length

H. P.

Time

Knots

Panhard-Levassor

49

480

3:40:20

28.3

Jeannette

40

170

4:57:46

26.1

Delahaye-Nautilus VIII

35

60

5:07:59

23.9

Mors Calypso

35

60

5:08:14

23.8

La Lorraine

40

80

5:38:17

19.1

Isabelle Gnome

28

50

5:39:08

19.1

Grand Trefle

40

415

2:06:52

25.5

Rapiere III

26.5

100

3:06:30

25.9

Scarlet Runner

27

75

1:49:39

14.8

 April 10, 1908

Cruiser's Handicap--course 50 kilos, Weather, Moderate 

 

Length 

H.P.

Start

Finish

Time

Knots

Lolette

35 

60

10:16:00

11:49:30

1:33:30

17.3

Jacqueline IV

50 

80

9:28:00

11:52:12

2:14:12

11.2

Pionnier II

23 

35

9:52:00

11:52:16

2:00:16

13.4

Isabelle Gnome

27(?)

55

10:35:00

11:58:00

1:23:00

19.5

Essembi

26

35

10:08:00

12:01;)0

1:53:00

14.3

Togo

55

 

9:20:00

12:01:05

2:41:05 

10.0

Mais je-vais-Piquer

23

50

10:03:00

12:01:10

1:58:10

13.7

Mors Calypso

35(?)

60

9:52:00

12:01:15

2:09:15

12.5

S.I.A.M. Scat

21.6

38

10:12:00

12:01:52

1:49:52

14.7

Excelsior

26

50

10:10:00

12:10:51

2:00:51

13.4

Racer's handicap--course 50 kilos, Weather, Fine, Moderate

Lorraine- Dietrich

50(?) 

80

2:18:00

4:06:24

1:48:44

14.9

Mouette

35(?) 

80

2:30:00

4:22:29

1:52:29

14.4

Jacqueline IV

50

80

2:18:00

4:24:27

2:06:47

12.8

Wolseley-Siddeley

40

400

3:36:00

4:30:37

54:57

29.6

Delahaye-Nautilus X

25.6

100

3:31:00

4:31:38

1:00:38

26.7

Jeannette

40

170

3:31:00

4:39:51

1:08:51

23.6

 April 12, 1908

Course, Nautical Mile and kilometer. Weather, Fine, Smooth

  Nautical Mile

Kilometer 

   
  Time  

Time

 

Time

 
 

Length

H.P. 

M.S.

Knots

M.S.

Knots

M.S.

Remarks

Small Racer Heat

Rapiere III

26.5

100 

2:12 2-5

27.2

1:09

28.2

3:21 2-5

Hydroplane

Delahaye-Nautilus X

26.5 

100  2:20 2-5

25.6

1:12

27.0

3:32 2-5

 

Big Racer Heat

Wolseley-Siddeley

40

400 

2:05 3-5

28.7

1:04 2-5

30.2

3:10

 

Panhard-Levassor

49 

480  2:07

28.4

1:03 2-5

30.7

3:10 2-5

30.7 knots, fastest
of meeting

Racers Final

Panhard-Levassor

 

 

2:011-5

29.7

1:04 

30.4

3:05 1-5

 

Wolseley-Siddeley

 

 

2:01 1-5

29.7

1:05 1-5

28.8

3:06 2-5

 

Delahaye-Nautilus X

 

 

2:20

25.7

1:14 2-5

26.1

3:34 2-5

 

Rapiere III

 

 

2:22

25.0

     

Broke down

Small Cruiser Heat

Excelsior Buire II

26

50 

3:28 3-5

17.3

1:35 1-5

20.5

5:04

 

Mors Ulysse

26.5

50 

3:21 4-5

17.9

1:45 1-5

18.45

5:07

 

Mais-je-vais-Piquer II

21.6

38 

3:30

17.1

1:44 4-5

18.55

5:14 4-5

 

Lanturla IV

26.5

35 

3:32

17.0

1:47 2-5

18.1

5:19 1-5

 

Big Cruiser Heat

Delahaye-Nautilus VIII

35

60 

2:47

21.6

1:28

22.1

4:15

 

Mors Calypso

35(?)

65 

2:55

20.6

1:29 2-5

21.75

4:24 2-5

 

Isabelle Gnome

27(?)

65 

3:04

19.6

1:55

20.45 

4:39  

Lolette

35

60 

4:00

15.0

2:23 2-5

13.55 

4:23 2-5  

Cruiser Final

Delahaye-Nautilus VIII

 

 

2:45

21.8

1:28 2-5

22.0

4:13 2-5

 

Mors Calypso

 

 

3:23 1-5

17.7

1:30 4-5 

21.4

4:54

Bad Start

Excelsior Buire II

 

 

3:15 2-5

18.4

1:39

19.6

4:54 2-5

 

Mors Ulysse

 

 

3:23 1-5

17.7

1:32 4-5 

20.9

4:56

 

(Transcribed from PowerBoating, June 1908, pp.287-292)

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

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