1910 Astoria Regatta
Columbia River, Astoria OR, August 29-31, 1910

Astoria’s Great Regatta
The Regatta of the West
by Francis K. Masters

bullet Astoria Regatta to be the Big Event
bullet Admiral's Staff Off For Regatta
bullet Regatta Opening Most Auspicious
bullet Portland Entry Wins Speed Race
bullet Greenhorn Wins Handicap Event
bullet Astoria's Great Regatta

A great many years ago when the salmon fishing industry on the Columbia River was still in its infancy, when the multitude of fishermen flocked to Astoria to celebrate the close of the fishing season and spend their summer’s earnings, their only recreation or relaxation from the strenuous labors of the summer was to be found in the dance hall and saloon. But some twenty years ago some of Astoria’s progressive men got together and decided upon a regatta which would afford the recreation without the recriminations of the "day after."

So on account of the fact that the Astoria regatta is an established institution and the knowledge gained through experience, the regatta of today is modern and up-to-date in every respect.

Originally the races were between fish boats, of the Columbia River type, Shoalwater Bay Plungers, and a few yachts, but all sailing races, with the accompanying land sports such as tugs-of-war and foot races.

But the regatta of today has all the land sports eliminated and consists wholly of motor boat races, speed boat races, cruiser races, power fish boat races, cannery tender or work boat races and a few skipjack and fish boat sailing races lasting three full days.

So the Fifteenth Annual Regatta with all the lessons of the past to study could be nothing but the greatest success.

But honor of having made it so great a success is due to the regatta committee, consisting of E C Judd, chairman; Chester Fox, secretary, and F L Bishop, treasurer, for these three men have worked night and day for weeks past in their endeavors to make it the success it was.

Then of course we have that scintillating mass of gold braid, the admiral and his staff, for no well regulated regatta would be a success without them. Long may they live, for they are all good fellow, and here they are:

Admiral—W W Robinson, Portland.

Vice Admirals—Blue, C H Callender, Astoria; red, Commander J M Ellicott, U.S.A.; white, Gen. C F Beebe, Portland; white, Maj. J F McIndoe, U.S.A.; white, Judge E L Havens, Catalina Islands; white, Mayor Joseph Simon, Portland.

Rear Admirals—Blue, Chas. Richardson, U.S.L.H.T. Columbine, squadron commander; red, Wm. W Gregory, U.S.L.H.T. America, squadron commander; white, P J Byrne, U.S.L.H.T. Manzaneta squadron commander; white, Emil Hammerstrom, U.S.L.H.T. Heather, squadron commander; white, E W Spencer, transport commander, steamer Chas. R Spencer.

In order that the races might not be interfered with, the government at Washington ordered the Revenue Cutter McCulloch to patrol the course and arrest any skipper who had the temerity to run his boat across the course and for this reason the contestants were not interfered with.

Taken as a whole the regatta was a success in every way and everyone had a good word for Astoria and its hospitality.

So we will live through the next twelve months with next year’s regatta to look forward to and hoping to meet one another at Astoria’s Sixteenth Annual Regatta in 1911.


Through that usual hoodoo following the Seattle Spirit, or is it the watchfulness of the gods over the Wolff II, the visitors at Astoria were disappointed in not seeing the two boats come together, for the Pacer can only run a poor second to the Wolff II.

On the morning of the first day before the big race started the Seattle Spirit looked like a sure winner, but some cross-eyed man looked at her or a yellow dog barked at her and one of the push rods on the valves let go and she was out of it for that day.

On the second day, after working all night on the engine, her owners faced the starters and from the firing of the gun proceeded to walk away from the Wolff II and Pacer for one lap of five miles and then a balck cat shaft twisted in two pieces putting them out of the race for good.

The Happy Heine and Greenhorn fought each day for third place but the Happy was going all the time and easily got the money.

The first event, Wednesday morning, was the 26-foot speed class distance three 20-mile laps with flying start at gun. There were originally three entries; Happy Heine, owned by Milton Smith of Portland Motor Boat Club; Coyote, owned by B Driscoll, Astoria Motor Boat Club; Crow, owned by T L Driscoll, Astoria Motor Boat Club. Owing to difficulty with her engine she did not run and the race was between Happy Heine and Coyote.

The Happy took the lead and won out easily though Coyote was bothered by a slip in the course, which set her back. Time: Happy, 54:59 3-5; Coyote, 57:28.

In the speed races there were three entries starting: Wigwam, Astoria, owned by C F Wise; Wolff II, Portland, owned by J E Wolff; Pacer, Portland, owned by R F Cox. The Seattle Spirit, was unable to line up. Happy Heine and Greenhorn, of the Astoria Club, came up but were away outclassed.

This race was sensational from the gun crack. Wolff led and cut away at a tremendous clip. Something went wrong with Pacer’s machinery and she stopped only to start again and come in a strong second against Happy and Greenhorn.

Wolff’s time for the 20 miles was 39:50; Pacer, 45:55, Heine, 54:08.

In the handicap speed boat races, 20-mile course, Sylph, Wigwam, Greenhorn and Marlyen entered. Won by Sylph, steered by Mrs. Kendall, with Wigwam second, Greenhorn third.

The cannery tender race was a pretty piece of handicapping as one could wish to see, as seven of the eight starters finished in a bunch, with Duke first, Schmidt second and Traveler third.

In the sailing fish boat races, two entries, N John won over Fred Enquist.

Skipjack races, five entries and 10-mile course, Winged-O was ther winner on handicap, though Fore’N Aft was the first boat in.

In the second days’ races in the 20-foot speed boat class, the Heine was an easy winner over Crow and covered the 20 miles in 58:32.

In the free-for-all speed boat class, Seattle Spirit’s luck called her and she stopped for a moment. She may have had a trifle the better of the Wolff up to this time, and as soon as under way again began to crawl up on Wolff, but the machine bucked and she lost out. The time of the boats was: Wolff, 40:05 3-5; Pacer, 40:18; Happy Heine, 56:27.

On the last day of the regatta the race between Wigwam, Greenhorn and Sylph was grand. This was the first of the free-for-all races. Wigwam and Greenhorn had a handicap of 11 minutes over Sylph. It was close between Sylph and Greenhorn and finished with Greenhorn 62:45; Sylph, 63:40; Wigwam, 75:32.

In a pickup race, fishing boats and engines not over 8 h.p., the Faen, Sailor, Dreadnought and Salmon entered. Course 5 miles with Faen winning. Times: Faen, 18:38; Dreadnought, 24:46

The third of the series for the coast speed championship founf Wolff, Pacer and Happy Heine. In the first lap it was neck and neck with Pacer and Wolff for the first lap with the Pacer slightly in the lead. Wolff picked up in the second owing to trouble with Pacer’s engines. Time on the first lap of the two was Pacer 9 minutes and 55 seconds, the Wolff II, 9 minutes and 59 seconds. The second lap was made by the Pacer in 10 minutes and 55 seconds; the third was, the Pacer 12 minutes and 23 seconds, and the Wolff II, 9 minutes and 54 seconds, the fourth and last was, Pacer 11 minutes and 53 seconds against the Wolff II at 10 minutes and 14 seconds. The fastest heat of the three days’ racing was made by the two boats, the Pacer 9 minutes and 55 seconds, and was made during the first heat in the morning.; the Wolff II’s fastest time for any one heat was also made in the morning and was 9 minutes and 15 seconds, each heat covered a distance of 5 miles. The entire time for the 3 day race, covering 12 heats, and a distance of 60 miles was made by the winner, Wolff II, in 119 minutes 57 and 3-5 seconds, the Pacer 126 minutes and 12 seconds.

[Excerpts transcribed from The Western Yacht and Launchman, September 15, 1910, pp. 16-19.]

(Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page —LF)

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