1910 Harmsworth Trophy
The Month in Yachting
May fortune attend the naval architect, whoever he may be, who is experimenting upon a hydroplane for the defense of the British International (Harmsworth) Cup in the race between American and English motor boats next August! These experiments are the result of the report from London that a hydroplane, from designs by Linton Hope, is being built on the other side. The model of this hydroplane, say advices, has attained a speed of 40 miles an hour, which may well provide food for thought for patriotic motorboatmen of this country. For my part, I take less stock in this hydroplane gossip than I do in facts concerning the new challenger built at Twickenham for E. Mackey Edgar. She is at the present time in the Mediterranean, undergoing practical tests against the fastest boats in Europe. That is the thing that counts—practical tests of boat and engines. By the time she arrives here, provided she qualifies as a challenger, she will be sweetened down thoroughly and there won’t be a crank or quirk of her "new-fangled" motors that her engineers wot not of. How will we Americans fare in that respect? Nothing much has materialized of prospective defenders in practical operation as yet; though, at a recent meeting of the Motor Boat Club of America, the matter was brought up of a syndicate boat for the club.
At this meeting, held on the evening of March 24, H. H. Melville was elected commodore; H. R. Sutphen, vice-commodore; James Craig, rear-commodore; Charles Francis, treasurer, and Walter M. Bieling, secretary, to serve during the ensuing year. The board of governors chosen for the same term were as follows: B. J. Steiner, John M. Shaw, Charles P. Tower, Frank D. Gheen, Morris Whitaker and J. H. Hoadley.
At this meeting the Huntington Bay course was unanimously chosen as the place of the coming International Motor Boat Cup Races, and August 20 as the date; though subsequent events lead one to believe that there is still diversity of opinion on this score, and that Larchmont is still making a strong bid for the event.
It was also announced that a subscription amounting to $25,000 is assured for the building and equipment of a new defender for the Harmsworth Cup, and it was moved by Mr. Hoadley that a committee of five be appointed by Commodore Melville to organize a syndicate to build the defending boat. The members of the Automobile Club of America’s Motor Boat Committee will, it is stated, be requested to co-operate with the committee of the Motor Boat Club of America in arranging for the Huntington Bay races.
Peoria after the motorboat championship of the world! That’s what they are talking about out in the Illinois valley, anyway. Well, as Marcus Brutus Snap used to say, "there’s draft to that proposition." The report is that Thomas H. Webb and Robert D. Clarke would go into partnership in this project, and as both have plenty of money and could secure the very best designer of hulls and the most powerful and best working engines on the market, there surely should be at least equal chances of Peoria enjoying the focuses gaze of the motorboat world. Success has a cumulative effect upon the human mind. The more we have, the more we want. So with Peoria. We heard nothing of this glowing project in regard to the world’s championship until after Peoria had secured the next regatta of the Western Power Boat Association in August. The contest lay between Detroit and the Illinois city, and Peoria had the bidding all its own way. The businessmen of the city have raised $1,200, with more to come, and the two days of racing will see many extraneous incidents, notably an aeroplane flight. In his address to the convention, Commodore Webb made a ringing speech, upon which we reserve comment.
"The Western and Mississippi Valley Associations," he said, "control the motor-boat-racing situation of the West. We will make our own racing rules, and we will stand for no dictation from the American or National Associations, which have practically no racing fleets and know nothing of Western conditions. If they do not care to conform to the Western rules they can stay out of it, for these two associations can control the sport west of the Alleghanies, and propose to do it." Brave words these, and bravely uttered. Provided the rules be good and comprehensive and work out practically, surely no one will object seriously. Come to think, if the rules, as formulated, comprise all these qualities, associations from other sections may be tempted to steal a few of them.
In connecting with a foregoing paragraph concerning the meet for the Harmsworth Cup I neglected to state that some newspapers are plugging Huntington Bay as a place for the contest. It might be added that these papers do not fail to mention the proximity of a restaurant to this course, where everybody "would be taken care of." As I have pointed out before, the only trouble with this course is that only those who own automobiles or yachts can conveniently get to the place. Why not let the public in on it by selecting a course accessible for every one? If motorboat racing in this country is ever going to shape up as a real national sport it will be because the public becomes interested, it does not have to be said that men who are not now active in the racing game would come forward with money and boats galore. The deed of gift states that the race must be held on sheltered waters. There surely must be places other than Huntington Bay upon which this great race can be held. As for me, I’ve hoofed that long stretch of dusty, hilly road from the car stables to the bay once too often already. Wherever it be held, let the place be decided upon soon, and all the arrangements as well. It is but fair to the British yachtsmen, and is a good way to avoid such criticism as was heard two years ago.
(Excerpts transcribed from Yachting, May 1910, pp. 405-407.)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]
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