1909 Monaco Regatta
Motor-Boat Races at Monaco
The motor-boat races at Monaco last week were very interesting. Among the competitors were the "Dixie II," which won the international race in Long Island Sound last fall, and the "Standard," another new American boat, with very powerful double-acting gasoline engines.
The chief race, the first day, was for the prize of Monte Carlo. This race was for the high-powered racers, and was over a 50-kilometer (31.07-mile) course. There were five starters, the first boat across the line being the "Alla-Va," which was one of the hydroplane type. The "Panhard-Levassor," which has the same power plant as last year, namely, four 4-cylinder, 120-horsepower motors connected together in [pairs and driving twin propellers, crossed the line second, and was closely followed by the "Wolseley-Siddeley II." The last-named boat quickly overhauled the Panhard, and was in first place before the first round was half over. The Alla-Va abandoned the race in the first round. The Wolseley-Siddeley and the Panhard ran a very close race. The Wolseley increased her lead up to the last round, but in this round the Panhard gained three seconds, and at the finish she was showing greater speed than at any other time. The Dixie II could not be driven at full speed on account of the rough sea. The official times of the English, French and American boats were 49 minutes 4-5 second (37.95 miles an hour), 49 minutes 14 3-5 seconds (37.85 miles an hour), and 1 hour 28 minutes 2-5 second (23.08 miles an hour). The failure of the Dixie to make her usual speed on account of the rough sea was a disappointment to American enthusiasts. Those interested in hydroplanes were also shown that these speed craft could not operate in rough water. The pounding of the waves on their flat bottoms would soon demolish them. An incident of the first day was the sinking of the German racer "Prinz Heinrich." This boat was built and launched in seventeen days, but she was so flimsy that the hull split open and the boat sank. All the crew were rescued. Another race on the first day, April 5th, was for single-cylinder cruisers A 50-kilometer course was covered by the "Sizaire-Naudin" in 1:43:13, and the "Nautilus-Anzaul II" was second in 2:12:33.
The second day was taken up with races for the 8 and 12-meter cruisers. These races were run under good weather conditions, although the sea was more or less agitated. Fifteen boats started in the 8-meter cruiser race, and six abandoned the race before it was half over, one of these being Mr. Moore-Brabazon's "Brabanconne," which was the favorite. The race was won by another English boat, the "Gyrinus II," which was built and engined by Thornycroft. She covered 50 kilometers in 1 hour 21 minutes 53 seconds, at an average speed of 20.29 miles an hour. The "Fleur d'Eau," a Swiss boat, was second, and the "Excelsior Buire V," a French boat, was third. In another 50-kilometer race, in which ten boats started, there were four hydroplanes. All of these craft suffered from vibration and pounding of the waves. The race was won by a boat of the ordinary type, the Lisolette," the hull of which was built by Tellier and fitted with Mercedes engines The time was 1:6:37--an average speed of 27.98 miles an hour. The Fauber hydroplane, fitted with a Motobloc engine, was second in 1:16:11, and the "Ricochet XII," third in 1:22:29. The 12 meter boat race was won by the "Delahaye" hydroplane, which shot ahead at the start and maintained its position to the finish, although buffeted by a heavy sea. The time of the winner was 1:13:55. The "Alexander-Mercedes II" was second in 1:23:46, and the "Megevet-Picker IV" third in 1:24:50.
On the morning of the third day three 18-meter cruisers covered the 50-kilometer course in fast time. The sea was calm, which enabled them to make an excellent performance. The winner was the "Chanticleer," fitted with a Brasier engine, its time being 1:9:2. The "Tele Mors" was second in 1:13:50; and the "Lorraine" third in 1:28:20. In the afternoon the eliminating contest for the French boats for the international Grand Prize Race was held. The Panhard led throughout, and finished the 50 kilometers in 1:47:24, an average of 17.37 miles an hour. The Ricochet was second in 2 hours 17 minutes, and the Fauber third in 2 hours 52 minutes. The last two boats mentioned were hydroplanes. They and the Panhard were the only boats that finished out of eleven starters.
The long distance race was held on the fourth day. Out of 33 cruisers which started in this 200-kilometer (124.3-miles) race, only five finished. The winner was the Chanticleer. Her time was 4:45:58 corresponding to an average speed of 26.08 miles an hour. The Tele Mors was second in 5:6:36, and the Alexander-Mercedes II was third in 5:42:27. The Megevet-picker IV and the Odette were the only other boats that finished. The Gallinari held third place until; within half a mile of the finish, when she broke down.
The most important race, called the "Coupe des Nations," was run under ideal weather conditions on April 9th. The distance was 100 kilometers (62.14 miles). There were seven starters. France was represented by the Panhard-Levassor, the Fauber-Labor-Motobloc and the Ricochet XII; Germany by the Lisolette; Italy by the Niblo; Great Britain by the Wolseley-Siddeley II; and America by the Dixie II. The Standard, which had been practically rebuilt, cracked one of her cylinders while being tried out, and was unable to enter the race. The start was a fine one, the Wolseley leading over the line and being closely followed by the Dixie II, the Panhard, and the Lisolette. At the end of the first round, the Wolseley led the Panhard-Levassor by but 20 seconds, while she was a full minute ahead of the American boat. The other craft were left far behind. On the second round the Panhard appeared to be losing, and at the end of the fourth round the British boat was three minutes ahead of her, was running better than usual, and taking the turns at high speed. An exciting moment was a at the end of the fifth round, when the Dixie II, which had been gradually gaining over the Panhard, caught her at one of the turns, the two boats rounding the buoy together. After three more buoys had been passed, the Panhard again forged ahead of the Dixie, but the latter made faster time on the straightaway, and before the end of another round she again passed and left behind the Panhard. At the end of the eleventh round the Wolseley was 9 minutes ahead of the Dixie, and the latter was two minutes ahead of the Panhard. The Lisolette was lagging far behind, but running steadily. Just after finishing the thirteenth round the Dixie II abandoned the race, owing to the breaking of its water circulating pump. Two minutes later the Panhard came to a stop, a connecting rod had broken and punched a hole in the bottom of the boat. She was towed to the pier and sank just after reaching it. With these two boats out of the race the Wolseley-Siddeley won easily in 1:55:3-5. her average speed was 32.25 miles an hour. Both the Fauber and the Ricochet hydroplanes had engine trouble during the race. The latter boat abandoned the race in the tenth round. The Italian boat covered but three rounds. late in the afternoon the Gobron racer took fore and was considerably damaged.
(Transcribed from Scientific American, Apr. 17, 1909, p. 295 )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page LF]
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