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


The Motor Yacht Race Week at Monaco

The British Flyer Wolseley-Siddeley and the French Boat Panhard et Levassor Made Great Racing
With the Final Laurels Going to Panhard
Other Events of the Week -- The Success of the Hydroplane -- Details of the Contests
by Gaston Bossult

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

The Monaco motor yacht meeting, under the auspices of the International Sporting Club, was a decided success. Bringing together, as it did, the French champion Panhard et Levassor and the swift boat in which are embodied all the hopes of British power yachtsmen, Wolseley-Siddeley, there was sufficient material for interest and speculation to make any regatta successful. Then, too, there were the hydroplanes, the latest developments in the art of construction of these curious craft. it is yet too early to say just what part they will ultimately play in the sport, but the record of La Rapiere III must necessarily give pause to all who have been prone to decry them as worthless. For practical purposes this may well be so, but in the development of high speed over given courses they have their distinct place.

The defeat of the British challenger for the Harmsworth Cup, now held by the Motor Boat Club of America, by Panhard et Levassor in the handicap races on the last day of the week at Monaco may be regarded by Americans as significant or otherwise, as a person may feel. But this must be remembered: The British boat left the French racer astern in the first meeting between the two flyers, averaging something over 30 miles an hour. The day on which the Siddeley's colors were lowered by the Panhard, the British boat may not have been in the best condition. In any event she was disabled the previous day by engine troubles, and this may well have had the effect of reducing her speed in the final test. Whatever the reason, however, the Siddeley will have the advantage of additional tuning up at Nice and elsewhere, so that when she finally arrives in America she should be in shape to worthily represent the great maritime nation whose flag she bears.

The week of racing was marked by exceptionally fine weather with, however, considerably rough water, which may have had deleterious effects upon times.

Sunday morning, the day set for the first races of the week, dawned "wondrous fair." but before the first event was started at 10:30 o'clock, the clouds were lowering. The sea was running rather high. Nevertheless every contestant got away "on the gun."

Mais je vais piquer completed the full course of 50 kilometres, of 31.05 miles, in 1 hour 42 minutes 50 3-5 seconds. S.I.A.M. S.C.A.T. flashed by the finish line in second place, her time being given as 4.52.8 2-5; Delahaye Nautilus was third, her time being 4.56.11 2-5. The English boat, Takumono, after going around the course once, quit the race.

In the afternoon the worth of the hydroplane at least for speeding was significantly demonstrated. Bounding through, or rather over, the rough waters like some wonderful dolphin, Rapiere III lost all her competitors, made them seem slow. There were eight consecutive rounds to the course, and the freak made a trifle over seven minutes per round for eight consecutive rounds, averaging for the course about 32 miles an hour.

On Monday, the third of the week's series races started at 9:30 o'clock. it was for the Prix de International Sporting Club for cruisers. There was a good swing to the sea and the waves were sizable, but the sky overhead was purest blue serene. The going was too strenuous for most of the entrants, and so only six out of fifteen which were supposed to start got away. Sizaire et Naudin got the advantage at the outset and held it to the finish. Madeline and Levica dropped out after the first round, and Steno went them one better and then retired also. Lanturlu VI, was tearing along at a great rate on the first round, when something went wrong, and she was towed in ignominiously. Anzani Nautilus finished second.

The second race was of great interest to the British spectators, inasmuch as it brought out the champion Wolseley-Siddeley. She got off "on the gun," with her great rival Panhard et Levassor astern. They had a hot fight to the first flag, the French flyer taking the lead and rounding first. On the return the Siddeley forged ahead, and at the third turn was 50 yards ahead of all competitors. At the end of this round, Grand Trefle, driven by her reckless engineer, gave up. Wolseley-Siddeley, despite the best that Panhard et Levassor could do, maintained her lead, speeding cleanly and noiselessly past the finish line. The speed of the Siddeley worked out at 30.39 miles.

The race for the Prix de la Mediterranee on Tuesday morning brought seven racers to the line. The course was 50 kilometres and Excelsior-Buire II led for three laps. Then Mors-Ulysee caught her and won the race in 1.30.37. The Swiss entrant Mais je vais piquer was second in 1.34.39. In the afternoon there was the race for the Prix de la Cote d'Azur. Ten boats, mainly freaks, started. Delahaye nautilus VIII won, her time being 1.17.42 2/5. Mors Calypso was second.

Three boats started on Wednesday morning for the Prix de la Riviera, open to cruisers of the 12 to 18-metre class. Lorraine II got away first and never lost the lead in what proved to be a procession. The 35-kilometre handicap race in the afternoon was won by the English boat Takumono. She started at 3.10 P.M., and finished at 4.21.40, winning by two minutes over Miraine Mutel.

When the boats put out to the line for the great race of the week for the Championship of the Sea, the British enthusiasts were bitterly disappointed to learn that because of a broken clutch in the dog brake, Wolseley-Siddeley would be unable to start. The interest was centered, therefore, in the race between Rapiere III, the hydroplane, and the Panhard et Levassor. The Panhard had an easy time in beating the freak, doing the course in 3.45.28. La Rapiere III gave up on the twenty-fourth round. The noise machine, Jeanette, was second. There were thirty-two rounds.

The first race on Friday was for cruisers, and the boats were started on their handicaps between eight and a quarter to eleven. The handicapping was excellent, and six boats finished within 15 seconds. The winner was Lolotte, and she finished at 11.49.30 A.M. Jacqueline IV, the second boat, finished at 11.52.12 A.M.

The last races of the Monaco meeting took place Sunday. The events--there were separate series for cruisers and racers--were the standing mile and the flying kilometre, the times of the two being combined for the result.

{Excerpts transcribed from Yachting, June 1908, pp. 346-348, 370.)

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


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