1909 Harmsworth Trophy
No International Motor Boat Race
In the failure of England to live up to her challenge for the British International Trophy there is felt keen disappointment here and abroad. The reason for the challenge at a late date appears to have been on account of the failure to obtain a suitable challenger. With the racing both in England and on the Continent confined to the 15-meter or 50-foot class no one could be found willing to finance the building of a boat that would be of value only for this race and, in the event of her failure here, utterly useless to her owner. In the 50-foot class, England has been remarkably successful, as witness Monaco this year, and such men at the Duke of Westminster and Lord Howard de Walden, owners of last year’s challengers, and others who are devoted to the sport, have gone in for the larger class and, naturally, are not keen to build 40-footers with the uncertainty as to the outcome.
In England they are already saying that we will have to change the Deed of Gift of the trophy to include 50-foot boats if we are to have races in the future (talk that reminds one strongly of America’s Cup racing), and undoubtedly they are right, so long as the present tendency is towards large boats on the other side. They have an idea that they can beat us handily in the 50-foot class, and, judging from the performance of Standard at Monaco, they are justified in that belief. But they were just as sure when they came last year with Wolseley-Siddeley that they would take the trophy home with them; and yet, Dixie showed them the way. We are not prepared, of course, with a 50-foot boat, and we might be found wanting with out limited experience in boats of that size, but if they are waiting on the other side because they think they have a better chance in the larger class they may find that our Monaco experience with Standard has furnished us with a valuable lesson.
If a British challenger had arrived on time it would, doubtless, have found us as unprepared as last year. We have the new Dixie, of course, and it appears as if we were content to sit still and pin our faith to her. She has been doing better than at Monaco, and in some recent racing she did as high as 35½ miles per hour. This is a higher speed than was attained in the international races last year, and yet not as high as Dixie II attained later in the year; and a challenger that showed any approach to the new Wolseley’s speed at Monaco would have made the cup totter.
We certainly ought to be doing more in the line of fast boats, especially in the larger class. We also ought to be getting some experience in racing boats with two and three engines. It is not safe to wait until the last moment and trust to a designer’s ingenuity to turn out a world beater. Even designers must learn by experience. We hope to see America represented at Monaco next year, and we also hope to see England send a boat after the Harmsworth Trophy next summer, but we also want to see our boat and engine designers given a reasonable amount of experience on which to turn out a winning boat.
(Transcribed from Yachting, September 1909, p. 232.)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page LF]
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