1908 Palm Beach Mid-Winter Carnival
Lake Worth, Palm Beach, Florida, March 17-20, 1908


The Lake Worth Regatta

The Fourth Annual Race Week of the Palm Beach Power Association Was Successful In Every Particular
Swift Boats From All Parts of the Country Competed in the Various Events
Dixie broke the World's Record in the Contest For the Dewar Shield
by Warren Hapgood

The Annual Power Boat Regatta at Palm Beach
Palm Beach Races
Power Boat Races
The Florida Races
The Lake Worth Regatta

To the northerner who in the Ides of March journeys from say New York or Chicago to Florida,"land of perpetual summer," the transition is nothing less than startling. The change is complete. As though by a brief rub on some genii's ring, the sojourner is hurried from a land of fur coats and tippets of grip and pneumonia to a domain of genial sunlight, of caressing zephyrs, of drowsy waters. Laughter is here, and song, and color. Dull care is flouted because people have come here to Palm beach for the precise purpose of flouting everything that annoys or worries, or carks the soul; everyone is happy, or seems so, which amounts to the same thing so far as the observer is concerned, and all the women are beautiful and all the men brave and gallant, and.

But it is not the province of the writer to pen in this article a word picture of a famous winter resort. It was the Fourth Annual Regatta Week of the Palm Beach Power Boat Association which brought him here, and the success of this important event and the influence which it may have upon the sport at large well warrants more attention than the space in this magazine allows. But inasmuch as environment, and sights, and sounds attendant upon any sporting event have their definite place, the foregoing description may be pardoned.

Of the four days racing it may be said that Lake Worth nor any other body of water in this country, ever saw better. Swift boats participated in every event, records were broken and the course on each day was lined by craft of every size and description, from launches and houseboats to steam yachts. Hundreds of enthusiastic partisans crowded the decks and cheered their favorite racers on to victory. The sea wall was lined with hundreds in brilliant costumes and, surely, there was every incentive for the motor boat men to do their best. And so they did. It was interesting to note the familiarity with the machinery of the boat which the spectators displayed, and one heard of exhaust--it was entirely the thing to be conversant with every point which concerned a fast-flying motor boat, and the man or woman who had not at least a fund of motor boat small talk was hopelessly out of it. it is the same at Newport when the yachts arrive, you must be able to talk about the sport.

When the General, for instance, appeared on the course making her long sweeping preliminary practice turns, or the Dixie, with her mahogany hull, or the Dolphin or any other boat, put out for the starting line, it was a dull spectator indeed who could not identify them without even glancing at the racing number.

Of course the hero of the week was Dixie, the New Jersey Flyer. She not only won the Dewar Trophy Shield for the fastest mile, but in so doing she broke the world's record. This was on the last day of racing. On the six runs of a mile each Dixie's time was as follows:

First run south, 2.18 4-5; second run north, 2.20 2-5; third run south, 2.19 4-5; fourth run north, 2.19 3-5; fifth run south, 2.18 4-5; sixth run north, 2.18 3-5..

This makes an average of 29.728 miles an hour, the record for the course and considerably faster than the record for the Hudson River course, which is 29.622 miles an hour. On this day, also, Dixie won the twenty-mile endurance reliability race.

On this day four boats entered in the five-mile race for Florida built boats. Bruiser started at 5.23.41 and finished at 5.40.10. Trente-Sept started at 5.24.21 and finished at 5.37.59 1/2. Trente-Sept was the winner and Bruiser second. Red Bird did not round buoys and Baby Bullet did not finish.

The weather on the opening day of the regatta, Tuesday, march 17th, was ideal, the water quiet and the course generally ideal with the exception that it was a bit shallow for boats of Dixie's class. Each side and turn of the course was marked with white flags and at each stake on each turn and at the middle stake on each side of the course was anchored a white barrel. Stakes and barrels were to be left on the port hand, the penalty being disqualification, and shoal water was marked by stakes bearing red flags. All such marks were to be left to starboard. The starting and finishing line was due west of the Royal Ponciana dock and from the porch of that hotel a full view of the course was had.

The committee boat was the auxiliary sloop Amber Jack, and a mighty busy boat it was. The first race, starting at 10.30 o'clock, was open to boats in Class A for the Beinecke and company Cup. The course was five miles.

All in all, this day was Dolphin's day, taking as she did first prize in two races and second in a third. The fifteen-mile race in the afternoon was a rattling event. Irene, Kitty Sparks II, Secret, Dolphin, Bruiser, Trente-Sept, General and Dixie got off in the order named. Irene and Bruiser led at the end of the first lap. On the second lap, the most thrilling of the regatta, Bruiser came plunging up, leading all the boats, with Dolphin pressing her close and Trente-Sept and General close aboard. it was motor boat racing at its best. At the end of the third lap came Bruiser, still in the lead, Dolphin, General and Trente-Sept. At the last, by a great dash, Irene won.

On the second day interest in the regatta had grown to fever heat. The events, quite properly, were so times that everyone had opportunity to attend the noon concert at the Breakers, and in the afternoon to take tea in the cocoanut grove.

The last event in the afternoon was the most exciting and satisfactory of the day. This was the fifteen-mile race for the Percival Cup. The boats went to the starting line as follows: Red Bird, baby Bullet, Kitty Sparks, Ferro, Lamb, Dolphin, Secret, Bruiser, Trente-Sept, General and Dixie. At the end of the first lap there was no appreciable change in the position of the boats, and this was also the case at the end of the second lap at which time Bruiser, Trente-Sept and General were fighting hard for supremacy. Finally, General, the Detroit boat, shot by Trente-Sept, and later, opposite the church on the west side and in full view of the cheering spectators, she shot ahead of the Clarke boat. At the end of the third lap the whole bunch of boats could be seen coming up to the stake nearly abreast. Red Bird it was seen later was in the lead, but off Fleur d'Eau, General passed her in an exciting dash and won the race. Trente-Sept was second, Red Bird third, Ferro fourth, and then Bruiser, Lamb, Secret and Baby Bullet.

The importance of Thursday's races was to some degree diminished by the absence of Dixie, which did not enter any of the events.

In the sixth event Ferro made a beautiful start while Trente-Sept lost twenty seconds through engine trouble, a complaint which Secret had the day before, and a complaint, it may be added, which was rare on all regatta days. Ferro finished the first lap first, General overtook Trente-Sept soon after the start, but lost in making too wide a turn, Trente- Sept gaining appreciably on her rival at all turns. Dolphin crossed the line first at the end of the second lap, with Ferro next and Bruiser in hot pursuit. General was next, having lost Trente-Sept. Dixolite had dropped to last place.

(Excerpts transcribed from Yachting, May 1908, pp. 263-265, 306)

{Dixie's record was, in fact, not a world but a United States speed record. And for those who, like me, were confounded by the word "cark," it is an archaic use meaning to burden, trouble or impose upon - GWC}

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


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