1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Regatta
Wolff IIWins in Final Heat
The motor boat race which was to have decided the championship in the 32-foot class yesterday afternoon did not take place as per scheduled, as the judges awarded first place and the trophy to the Pacer, owned by Robert Cox, of Portland, after they had assembled at the exposition wharf, the start of the race.
The Pacer had two firsts to her credit, by her victories in the first two days racing, and as the Seattle Spirit did not finish either of the previous heats, the Lawana was the only other boat which had scored any points, and the Pacer had the race cinched win or lose, consequently the judges awarded first place to Coxs entry without a third race.
The supporters of the Pacer then raised the point that their boat was entitled to another race with the Wolff II before the championship and trophy in the 40-foor class could be claimed by John Wolff and E. W. Spencer, the crew and joint owners. The judges gave first place to the Wolff II last Tuesday afternoon, after the white phantom had twice decisively defeated the Pacer, without running off the third heat. Exception was taken to this award inasmuch as the Pacer had a chance to score as many points as the successful boat in case the Wolff should suffer a mishap in the final race, which would not entitle her to a point in the score. By her victory Tuesday the Wolff had six points to her credit against four by the Pacer. Pacer supporters argued that with a victory for their boat in the third heat, in competition against the Portland marvel, the Wolff II would still have the edge on the Cox boat, but in case the Wolff II should fail to finish, the two boats would be tied in points and a fourth race would have to be run to decide the championship. This was reasoning down to a fine point, but the Pacer and her crew like the drowning man were willing to grasp at a straw and the judges reversed their former decision, and requested Spencer and Wolff to enter their boat against the Pacer.
Wolff Gains at Start
The Rose City craft gained fully fifty yards on her rival at the start of the race, and after that was never headed.
When the Wolff II entered Union bay on the last leg of the ten-mile triangle, the Pacer was not in sight, and the Wolff II had approached to within a half mile of the last stake buoy before the Pacer made an appearance around the point. The Pacer was making slow time at this point, and about half a mile from the buoy stopped entirely. Roesch, having trouble with his engine on the first leg of the race and the Pacer was obliged to run with five cylinders. It required about fifteen minutes of valuable time to fix things, and Wolff passed the Pacer on her second trip.
Roesch did not attempt to start the race again, while the Wolff II finished the final mile of the thirty-mile course running like clockwork, proving her unquestioned superiority over her smaller rival.
The race was delayed about two hours because of a failure to mark the course by the officials of the Seattle Motor Boat Club.
No Stake Buoys
The judges were forced to place stake buoys in the lake at short notice, and according to Capt. Spencer did not mark the course correctly, making the triangle eleven miles instead of the official ten. However, this may have been, the Wolff II did not make the remarkable time with which she was credited on the first days racing, making the thirty miles in 61 minutes 44 seconds. The same boat hung up a better mark on Tuesday against a strong wind and choppy water, going the course in 61 minutes 7 seconds.
The Wolff made the first ten miles in 19 minutes 47 1-5 seconds, the second ten miles in 18 minutes 32 1-5 seconds, and the last ten miles in 22 minutes 24 3-5 seconds, the owners being content to ease up on the last lap with no rival in sight.
Claims Worlds Record
Frank M. Foulser, secretary of the pacific International Power Boat Association, is certain the course was exactly ten miles when the Wolff II made the thirty miles in 56 minutes 25 1-5 seconds, a new worlds record, and will ask the National Power Boat Association to accept this record.
The last days exposition races will be pulled off next Saturday afternoon at 2 oclock. The first event will be a twenty-mile handicap open to any power boat, each entry to be handicapped according to actual time made in competition. The second race will be a sixty-six-mile race for any of the motor boats that have so far qualified for the exposition races. None of the boats will be handicapped in this free-for-all event.
The feature event of the exposition race programme was scheduled for 100 miles, but the owner of the Pacer requested the judges to shorten the route, as the tanks in his boat are not large enough to carry gasoline for such a long trip.
This change in the distance of the race was agreed to by the owners of the Wolff II, and the two rivals will fight it out for the honors again.
Races Not Patronized
The races this year have not been a glorious success, although they have been extensively advertised, and entries received from all over the country. Secretary Foulser made a trip down the coast to arouse enthusiasm for the contest, and received entries from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and many other Southern points.
Letters were written to all the power boat associations in the country, but the boats themselves did not materialize. This was partly due to the fact that the railroads refused to make rates in shipping the boats to this city.
Manufacturers of engines for motor boats did not send entries because they were not allowed to make as extensive a display of their engines at the exposition as they had expected. A plan was on foot to erect a building especially for their exhibits, but after most of the money was raised for the structure the exposition officials nipped the proposition in the bud, and it is thought affected the entry list for the exposition races. Not over ten boats have raced for the handsome trophies thus far, and three cups were virtually given away because there was but one entry in three class events. The Wolff II is the only visiting boat in the races.
(Transcribed from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 9, 1909. p. 10)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]
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