1909 Fourth of July Regatta
Willamette River, Portland OR, July 5, 1909


Fourth of July Regatta on the Willamette River
By James B. Welch

Fourth of July Regatta on the Willamette River
Happy Heine Winner

July fifth marked the climax of motor boat races given by the Willamette Motor Boat Club. There had been a number of race meets by the club, but July 5th brought out more entries and much better speeds were made than ever before. The only thing to mar the pleasure were those everlasting leaky clouds. Every set of races held by the club has been attended with rain. There seems to be a hoodoo in this respect.

The first race was a two-mile event in which there were four entries. A new boat in the club named Kenney-mic, owned by Dr. Mecklin and operated by his son, won first place in this race, making the two miles in 16 minutes and 30 seconds. The Jug, owned and engineered by L. J. Scareth, finished second. The first boat over the line was Lonesome, owned by Roy Jameson, but owing to the fact that she ran over her 3 per cent limit, she was disqualified. The fourth entry for this class was the popular boat of H. J. Kahlin, The Sterling. Kahlin had the misfortune of getting his spark coil wet just before the start and had to withdraw from the race.

The second race of the afternoon was the most interesting of all. There were six entries and all of the boats were well-known and very popular on the local river. The race was over a four-mile course. The first three boats to finish were Lillian, owned by Fred Peterson; Billikin, owned by Dr. Jack Yates, and Alta, owned by Siegfried Bros. They finished in the order named above, but all three were disqualified for exceeding their speed limit of 3 per cent. The Happy Heinie finished fourth and was given the first prize. She made the four miles in 11 minutes and 9 seconds. Happy Heine is now owned by Capt. Milton Smith, of Rainier, Oregon, but in the race she was handled by her old crew, Otto Ranft and Al Klingbeil, who have never known defeat with this speedy little craft. The only boat to make it at all interesting for Heinie was Augusta, owned by A. Groeger, and if this boat had run as fast in the race as she did in the tryouts she would have made it even more interesting for the Heine.

The third race was the race in which the Vixen, owned by Dr. C. B. Brown, was entered against the Happy Heine for an eight-mile race. It was over a four-mile course of two laps. The first lap was exciting and the two boats kept pretty well together, but on the second lap the Vixen slowed down and landed at the club float. Mr. Brown said it was impossible to get the middle cylinder to work, and that was the reason for quitting. The Heine finished the course and was awarded first prize, making two first prizes for this little boat in the one regatta.

This set of races so successfully pulled off only adds another feather to the cap of the racing committee, composed of A. Fleming, George Kinnear, L. M. Myers, Dr. W. V. Spencer and D. Mecklin. This committee had quite a lot of trouble in getting the boats together.

Commodore George J. Kelly was absent from the races by no fault of his own. He left the club early in the morning of the day of the races with a party of friends for a cruise up the river. They made a landing up the river for lunch at noon and about one o’clock Mr. Kelly took his boat and headed back for the races, but he found that in making his landing to let his crowd off he had gotten some sand in the water pump, which caused him all kinds of trouble, otherwise he would have been on hand. In his absence Vice-Commodore George Kinnear acted as master of ceremonies.

There has been more or less dissatisfaction in the system used by the club in starting the boats in the races and the committee in charge of this set of races tried out a new system of starting. Instead of starting from the middle of the river, as formerly, all boats were tied to a large float in front of the club house and at their starting gun they were turned loose from the float. This system worked well and will be used in the future, as the racers and officials are within talking distance all the time and it also leaves no chance for jockeying with boats.

(Transcribed from Pacific Motor Boat, August 1909, p. 32.)

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


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