1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Regatta
Lake Washington, Seattle, WA, July 3-10, 1909

Captain Spencer Talks About Wonderful Run of the Wolff II

A.-Y.-P. Exposition Speed Boat Regatta

Fast Speed-boats Will Start on the Lake Tomorrow

Motor-boats to Speed Up Today

Wolff II Fast in Speed-boat Race

Captain Spencer Talks About Wonderful Run of Wolff II

Wolff II and Pacer Win Races

Wolff II Again Defeats Pacer

Portland Motor Boat is Sure-Enough Flyer

Thirty-Two-Foot Class Motor Boats Race Today

Wolff II Wins in Final Heat

Wolff II of Portland Again Defeats Pacer

Endurance Motor Boat Race Today

Fast Motor Boat Breaks Propeller

Pacer Breaks Propeller and has to Quit Race

Exposition Races at Seattle

Regatta of the Northwestern International Yacht Racing Association on Puget Sound

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Speed Boat Regatta

After winning the big thirty-mile speed boat race in 56 minutes 25 1-5 seconds, which is claimed to be a world’s record,, the Wolff II, of Portland, was run to her moorings at Howard’s shipyard, Madison park, and tied up for the night. With the expectation of a slight abrasion which she received through another boat backing into her, she came through the first real test she has ever had without a mishap of any kind, and is in fine condition for the races scheduled for this week.

Capt. J. E. Wolff and Capt. H. E. W. Spencer, owners of the Wolff II, were highly pleased with the result of the race, and especially with the behavior of their phantom-like flyer. During the entire thirty-mile run the phantom did not make a skip. Her 90-110 Smalley six-cylinder engine worked absolutely perfect, but that is not surprising, considering the care and attention Capt. Wolff gave to every detail prior to the moment Paul W. Howard shoved the frail craft out from between Frank Egan’s houseboat and the tiny houseboat Burr, at 1:45 o’clock in the afternoon, and a little later Capt. Wolff set the engine humming. Capt. Spencer, stripped for action, and in fine condition after a thorough course of training which kept him busy in the final hours before the great contest, was at the wheel. There was not an ounce of extra weight carried. The boat, which is 39 feet 9 inches long, weighs only one ton, including the engine.

The way the Wolff got off the mark in her start for Union bay; where the races commenced and finished, made Mr. Howard remark that any boat which would beat her would come pretty close to making a world’s record.

Women Were Anxious

Mrs. Wolff and Mrs. Spencer, who came up from Portland with their husbands when the now famous craft was brought to Seattle, were at Madison park until a short time before the Wolff was set in action. They were confident of winning, but still anxious. After wishing the two navigators good luck, Mrs. Wolff and Mrs. Spencer went to the exposition grounds on one of the Anderson Company’s steamers. From the shore they watched the races and when they were certain that the Wolff II had won the race, beating the Pacer by about five minutes, they immediately went to their hotel, and were later joined by the victorious "sailors."

The Wolff II proved that she can make about thirty-three miles an hour and when the significance of this is fully realized the wonderful achievement of Capt. Wolff, the builder, commences to dawn on one.

Capt. Wolff turned out a craft, which beat a boat, the Pacer, built in the East and brought here for the special purpose of winning this race. The Pacer has more power of those with a mathematical turn of mind can figure when they know that the area of each of the six cylinders of the Pacer has 23 2-7 square inches as compared with 22 6-7 square inches for the Wolff II.

Claims the Record

Capt. Wolff claims the world’s record and as he is especially well informed in such matters what he says is entitled to serious consideration.

The Dixie may be credited with greater speed but she has a much greater power. One thing is certain, the Wolff II got her record under conditions that cannot be questioned.

It is the opinion of Capt. Spencer that the course is more than thirty miles, or that the triangle is greater than ten miles. The boat went around the triangle three times to get her record. The government chart indicates that Capt. Spencer is correct. If possible, a new survey will be had to establish the claim or show that the distance was exactly thirty miles.

Figuring the corners the Wolff II had to turn the time she made would figure something amazing if the course had been a straightaway.

Conditions Were Perfect

"The conditions," said Capt. Spencer last night, "were perfect. We could not have had better water. Outside of a delay in starting the races everything went off smoothly. From the racing viewpoint it was not as exciting as it might have been. We took a standing start, and the Pacer got away on the run. The lead the Pacer got was wiped out before we reached the final point of land, and after that it was a walkaway. The engine worked absolutely without a hitch of any kind, and we made one of the circles, ten miles, in about seventeen minutes. I have not the slightest doubt that the Wolff II established a new world’s record."

(Transcribed from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 4, 1909, p. 4.)

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

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Leslie Field, 2002