1910 Portland MBC Independence Day Regatta
Craft Race Today
Portland lovers of outdoor sport will have something to occupy their time today, for the Pacific Coast championship motor boat races will be held this afternoon at Vancouver, and many of the local followers of aquatic sports will journey to the neighboring city to view the contests for handsome trophies.
Lovers of speed will find plenty to interest them. Several of the craft entered in the races are capable of reeling off better than 30 miles an hour.
The races will be held over a course of five miles up and five miles down, which will enable the spectators to get a good view of the racing craft. Two of the four contests will be 15 miles in length and two of 30 miles, or one and a half and three times around the course, respectfully.
Fast Craft Entered
The races are being held by the Portland Motor Boat Club and the Vancouver Yacht Club. Committees of both have been working hard in an endeavor to make them a success, to that end they have had built a monster grand stand near the ferry landing on the Washington shore and have arranged for a military band of 36 pieces to dispense music all afternoon. The regatta committee has not been idle and has obtained the entries of several fast out-of-town motor boats. One of these is from Seattle and seven have come from the Astoria Motor Boat Club. The Astoria boats left the city by the sea on Saturday night and they will cruise up the river to the regatta arriving early today.
The keenest race is expected in the free-for-all event, in which the Pacer II, Wolff II, Seattle Spirit and Oregon will be the chief contenders for the $500 gold trophy cup donated by the citizens of Vancouver. In this race the Wolff II will have to defend its honors against the most formidable array against which it ever raced. The Wolff II won the Pacific Coast Championship last year at the Seattle fair. The Seattle Spirit, the Pacer II and the new Oregon, built by Otto Ranftt, and Al Klingbill, well-known local water sportsmen, are 32-foot craft and will be entered in both the race and the free-for-all, while the Wolff II, which is a 40-foot boat, will run in the free-for-all only.
Special interest is being displayed in the new Oregon. It is a strictly Oregon-built boat. Not only the hull, but the engine, was built in Portland. At recent trials this boat made remarkably fast time, and is expected to make a good try for honors in the two races in which it is entered.
New Wheels Put In
The Pacer II, which is really the Pacer of last year except that it has a new hull, has been equipped with a new racing wheel. John Wolff’s champion has also been equipped with a new racing wheel.
The Groeger brothers have entered a new boat in the races. This is the 24-foot Spear. This boat is on the order of a hydro-plane craft and makes little disturbance in the water while running. It glides over the water instead of going through it, apparently. The Spear will contest against the Potato Bug and the Happy Heinie. Captain Spencer will introduce a new 28-foot boat, the name of which he has refused to divulge.
Seven motor boats from Astoria are entered. They are the Duke, Nip, Tyee, Nora, Hartman, Skinch II and the Lippert II. These boats will fly the pennants of the Astoria Motor Boat Club, a new organization.
The races will begin at 1 o’clock. The first event will probably be a sailboat race between craft of the Oregon Yacht Club and the Vancouver Yacht Club. Three sailing races are included in the order of events. Members of the Oregon Yacht Club, which will participate in the races, left Portland on Saturday and Sunday for the regatta, and spent the night on the island enroute. A dinghy race will be one of the sailing contests.
Following these races the motor boats will race. The events will be hurries through. Excursions by both the street cars and boats will continue all day to Vancouver. It is expected that more than 10,000 persons will se the races.
(Transcribed from the Morning Oregonian, July 4, 1910, p. 7.)
* * *
Coast Records is Broken in Races
VANCOUVER, Wash., July 4.—(Special.)—One coast record was broken today in the Pacific Coast championship motor-boat races at Vancouver. This was in the race for the 32-foot class boats and was over a 30-mile course. The Seattle Spirit, the fastest boat in the Puget Sound district and competing under the colors of the Seattle Motor-Boat Club was the craft that broke the record for this class which was established last year in the races held in Lake Washington, in conjunction with the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The time made by this nifty little speeder over the long distance was 59 minutes and 4 seconds. The only competitor in this division was the Pacer II, the former record holder.
The Seattle Spirit also outran the Wolff II, which held the Pacific Coast championship in the free-for-all class won at the Seattle meet last year. Over 20 miles of the 30-mile free-for-all contest yesterday the crack Puget Sound entry outdistanced Johnny Wolff’s craft by more than a quarter of a mile. Owing to the drifting away of the downstream buoy the crew became confused as to the course and the Wolff II and the Pacer II are alleged to have turned too short, thereby letting them nose out the Seattle Spirit. This race will be run again.
Conditions Are Perfect
Nearly 40,000 people were in Vancouver to witness the races which were held under the auspices of the Vancouver Yacht Club and the Portland Motor-Boat Club. Weather conditions were perfect, the surface of the water was quiet, and no accident marred the pleasure of the day.
Never before was such a crowd assembled in Vancouver. The North bank of the Columbia River was lined hundreds deep by persons eager to get a glimpse of the motor-boats as they raced up and down the smooth water in the bright sunlight. Hundreds of automobiles from Portland and surrounding cities were present and lined up in the garrison on the river bank, where an excellent view was obtained.
The Government doc was loaded with officers from the Army, and their families and friends. The grandstand immediately in front of the judge’s in the river, was filled by 3000 people and the Northern Pacific dock below the ferry landing held thousands.
The river was dotted by fully 100 motor boats from Portland and sailing craft from various parts of the river. The greatest interest was manifested throughout the day in the races, which far surpassed the most optimistic. There were many other amusements in Vancouver during the races, but they could not compete in interest with the events on the water.
Everything moved off smoothly and the crowds were well handled. There were special policemen at the ferry and they kept back the crowd. There were four pursers on the ferry instead of one, as is customary. The ferry came and went with thousands and thousands of passengers, and there were enough cars on the landing at Hayden Island to take them back to Portland.
The first contest of the afternoon was Class C for 28-foot craft, for which a $125 trophy was offered. This race was started promptly on time with three entries. These were the Happy Heinie, Captain Milton Smith’s Portland-built boat; Potato Bug II, recently built by the Curtis Boat Company, and the Spear, another new craft, owned by the Groeger brothers.
The boats all got away from the starting point together, but after advancing a few yards the Happy Heinie shot into the lead and was never headed and proved an easy winner. The Spear, the new boat, was poorly balanced in the first race, but in the second contest, with an even keel, took the measure of the Happy Heinie, by which it had been beaten in the 28-foot class. It was the 28-foot class race both members of the Spear crew were in the back part of the boat, which made the bow too high out of water and the tail drag too much. This was remedied in the other contest, and the boat proved an easy winner. In the 28-foot class the Potato Bug II and the Spear made a hard fight for second honors. The former won by a slight margin.
Seattle Spirit Beats Pacer II
The most interesting contest of the regatta was the 10-meter race with only the Seattle Spirit and the Pacer II entered. Both boats got away evenly and the race waxed so over the first 10 miles of the journey although the Seattle Spirit did crawl up a few yards on the Pacer II. As the boats passed the grandstand on the down-stream leg of the race the Seattle craft was leading by a margin of nearly 100 yards, but with only 10 miles more to go the Pacer II put on full speed and gained on its flying rival by a few yards, and at the finish there was about 75 yards separating the two craft. The time over this 30 miles was 59:04, setting a new Pacific Coast record, the Seattle boat winning the $200 trophy.
Then came the 24-foot speed boats, with a $100 trophy cup. The same three craft entered in the 28-ffot class constituted in this race. But the order of conditions was slightly changed and the Spear, which came in second before, showed its heels to the other craft all the way and won in 41:13 4-5. In this the boats made faster time than in the previous contest.
The last race was between the Wolff II, Pacer II and the Seattle Spirit, and was the one declared "no race." The time made by the Wolff II was 60 minutes and 20 seconds.
In this race the Seattle Spirit got a lead in a short time and kept it until the last lap. When the three boats, the Seattle Spirit, the Wolff II and the Pacer II, went down the river on the last lap, the Seattle Spirit was far in the lead. It was conceded by all that the big $500 cup would go to Seattle. The owners of the boat were confident in their racer and were feeling jubilant over winning two cups in the championship races, besides establishing a record on the Pacific Coast.
Cheers Given Wolff II
When about an hour had gone by, the busy hum of the exhaust could be heard, and looking down the river, the crowd could see that Wolff II was in the lead. A cheer that was deafening rent the air and hats were thrown up, many landing in the river. Closer and closer the three speeding boats came, and when the Wolff II had crossed the line it was one minute and 25 seconds in the lead of the Seattle Spirit. Nearly all supposed that the engine of the boat had been in trouble, but no one doubted that the Wolff II had won the race.
When the Seattle Spirit crew told the judges that the last buoy had drifted from where it was anchored, and entered a protest, there was an exciting time on board the judge’s scow.
After much discussion, the board of judges decided to declare that the race would have to be run over, no time being set.
Yacht Races Postponed
There being no wind, the sailing races were not held, but as the cups and prizes were up, the races will be held later in the season.
Among the motorboats that came over from Portland were the Gazelle, Charmalee, Artisan, Auto Marine, Water Wagon, Hoo – Hoo, Elidor, Portland’s harbor patrol boat, Marjuellen, Billiken, Sylph, Kittie II, Fairbanks-Morse, Sea Gull, Red Arrow, Sarah Jane, Roamer, Richard, Fay, Hoquiam, Mountain Maid, Lauraline and the Eva, the Portland Motor Boat club and press boat, and many others.
From Astoria, the Astoria Motorboat Club had the Hart-Man, Tyee, Ramona, Duke, Lippert II and several others.
Sixteen yachts sailed over from Portland, yesterday, camping last night on Sauvies’ Island. They were towed back this afternoon by various motorboats.
In honor of the winning motor boatmen and the out of town sportsmen, a banquet was held last night at the New Perkins Hotel at which more than 100 people participated.
The free-for-all contest which was declared no race yesterday has been ordered rerun next Sunday at Vancouver at 1 o’clock, over the same course. The Seattle Spirit will probably remain over for the contest, if not the $500 silver cup will be forfeited to the Wolff II.
The motorboat Charmalee, owned by C. V. Cooper, treasurer of the Portland Motorboat Club, was leased to the Oregonian staff for the occasion, and from it pictures were taken of the race.
(Transcribed from the Morning Oregonian, July 5, 1910, p. 16.)
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]
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