1910 Harmsworth Trophy

British Notes
Principally about the Challengers for the Harmsworth Trophy
By Our London Correspondent

bullet A Challenge for the British International Trophy
bullet British Notes
bullet The Month in Yachting
bullet Huntington vs. Larchmont
bullet The Challenger
bullet International Motor Boat Cup Course
bullet Fast Motor Boats at Huntington
bullet One Boat Race

British Motor Boats Here

bullet Motor Boats Held Up
bullet Motor Boats Fail to Race
bullet Dixie II, Faster Than Ever, Wins Trial
bullet Motor Boats for International Race
bullet Dixie II Wins Motor Boat Race
bullet The 1910 Harmsworth Cup Race
bullet The British International Cup Race
bullet International Cup Race

Regarding the boats on which Great Britainís hopes of regaining the British International Trophy are built considerable secrecy is being maintained. It can, however, be stated with little room for error that one of the challengers which will fly the burgee of the Motor Yacht Club will be a Thornycroft skimmer. The single boats which will race under the flag of the British Motor Boat Club is to be of the orthodox type and will have a twelve-cylinder engine of 300 hp. An effort has been made to form a syndicate to build a hydroplane to Linton Hopeís design with a featherweight motor, but so far no success has been achieved in this direction. The enthusiasm of motorboat owners evidently is not very deeply rooted, for the net result of the circulars which were sent out to certain members of the Motor Yacht Club by the promoters of the syndicate met with a very chilly response. This is the more surprising inasmuch as the only members who were circularized were those on a list of "probable subscribers" which the Motor Yacht Club complied last year when it seemed that no private challenge might be made for the trophy. From this it may be gathered that had no individual members challenged, there would very probably had been no race at all this year, because the "probable subscribers" evidently do not aspire to make good their subscriptions.


Judging from the excellent results which were obtained last year from the small Thornycroft skimmer Miranda II, which was only 26 feet in length and, with barely 55 hp., maintained a speed of 26 knots in smooth water, the 40-footer which is now being prepared for the B.I.T. Race will have a sensational turn of speed. The hull is being built on the Thames, but what engine power it has been decided to install has not yet been disclosed. It may be taken for granted that Sir John Thornycroft will make no mistake about the speed. In his little experimental tank at Bembridge, Isle of Wight, he was able last year to forecast the speed of Miranda II within a quarter of a knot. If a guess may be hazarded Sir John Thornycroft is aiming at a speed of 36 knots for his new challenger. His type of skimmer differs from the stepped hydroplane in being able to face a bit of sea, although some speed is lost. On a short triangular course of two and a half miles in a fresh breeze Miranda II proved herself capable of maintaining a speed of 22Ĺ knots. Even, therefore, if the B.I.T. Race be not favored with fine weather the Thornycroft boat should be good for 30 knots.


Events may prove otherwise, but even if the British Motor Boat Club challenger should be sent over it is not likely to give any trouble to the defenders. The design of the hull is in good hands with a clever, but not very well-known designer, Burgoine, but as much can scarcely be said of the engine. To build a 300-hp., twelve-cylinder motor without previous experience of such big engines, and make a success of it, is a big job for any firm. For a firm which has never built anything bigger than a 40-hp. engine the task is tremendous. Yet this is what must happen if the B.M.B.C. challenger is to be any good, for the firm which is building the engine is in the motor-car business, and it has more repair work than engine-building. Linton Hopeís proposed challenger, which has not yet eventuated, might possibly be very hot stuff. It is a boat hydroplane in which several patents are combined. To attain the speed of 40 knots, which he estimates as very conservative, he reckons upon using an engine of 120 hp., and that the machinery weighs not more than 550 pounds. This means using an E.N.V. aeroplane engine. Whether such a motor would work satisfactorily in a boat is very much open to question, and, even if it did work well and the expected speed were realized, it is a matter for doubt whether the hull would stand the strain.


A band of imaginative individuals is formulating a scheme for providing quick transit on the canals and waterways not only of Great Britain but also of the Continent. The hydroplane is, of course, the pivot of the scheme. In view of the facts that hydroplanes have not yet succeeded in carrying more than two passengers at 40 miles an hour, that all important points linked by canal are served also by the railroad, that hydroplanes have no quicker method of passing a flight of locks than possessed by the old-fashioned horseboats, and that on the average there is one lock per mile on the English canals, this express transit scheme belongs to the wildcat order. However, in due course shares will doubtless be offered for subscription through the medium of the Church Times and Christian World, beloved of ministers and widows.

(Excerpts transcribed from MotorBoat, Feb. 10, 1910, pp. 35-36)

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

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