1925 APBA Gold Cup
The Gold Cup and The Dodge Memorial Trophy Race
Gold Cup Stays in the East
New York’s first Gold Cup Regatta is history. So much was told in Motor Boating in advance of races and so much has been written since, that it hardly seems proper to again give the story the lengthy detail which would be necessary to thoroughly describe the twenty-five racing events which were crowded into the two-day's activities. But it should be recorded with all the emphasis possible that never be-fore has there been a regatta anywhere which has received more advance and complete preparation nor one which in its handling went off more smoothly, with almost clocklike precision, with no protests and no hard feelings afterwards than the races conducted on Manhasset Bay, Long Island Sound, August 29 and 30, by the New York Gold Cup Committee.
If the Regatta accomplished nothing more, it brought together the largest gathering of yachts and yachts-men which has ever assembled before. It also resulted in the formation of an organization for handling racing events in the east which in the future will be able to function with even greater efficiency and smoothness. Into this organization were molded some 200 yachtsmen, all of them workers, from various ports on Long Island Sound and New York City, a feature heretofore entirely lacking in the east and which is sure to result in great benefits for the whole sport and industry of motor boating. .
Estimates vary as to the number of yachts which came into Manhasset Bay for the races. It was impossible to accurately count them. They were banked entirely around the four miles of available space surrounding the race course. In some sections they extended back five or six deep, at others only a single line. Two thousand yachts would be a low estimate. Five thousand dollars would also be a low estimate for the cost of each. So the historic Bay had at least ten million dollars worth of boats floating on its surface for two days. Then why shouldn't it be called the greatest yachting event in history? And who says there is no interest in motor boat racing?
Viewed from the standpoint of racing craft, the picture was not quite as glorious but hardly a disappointment. Altogether 127 racing craft started in the various events exclusive of the outboard motor classes which, of course, were well filled. Of this number 106 boats finished the required distance. Of the 127 boats racing, 94 were speed craft and 33
out exceedingly well when one considers the shortest cruiser race was nearly 100 miles in length and in the other races it was over 200 miles from start to finish.
New York's first Gold Cup Regatta was in no sense a local event Besides the 2,000 yachts and the 20,000 people that must have been aboard these, there were visitors from all quarters of the country. Nearly every racing man of yesterday or today was on the side lines. Canada, Florida and the Middle West were particularly well represented. A class of hydroplanes from the Mississippi Valley Association was one of the best features of the Manhasset Bay races.
The racing boats were all of the highest order, both in design, construction and finish. Never before have such real boats raced. The old soap box construction was entirely missing. All of the hulls complied with the letter as well as the spirit of the rule and there was no attempt on the part of any owner to enter any rule beater. The Race Committee was not called upon to decide upon any questionable design or fitting in the boats' construction.
A striking feature in connection with the racing craft was the presence of new boats. Hardly a last year's boat was entered. It was true that some of the hulls had raced before, but all of them had either been rebuilt or equipped with new and larger power plants. Most of the craft were built especially for this year's Gold Cup Regatta and embodied the latest designs which the brains of their designers could conceive. But as a rule there was nothing actually new or radical in the boats that started. Therefore, from this standpoint, the results of the races did not show much improvement over last year's boats.
Baby Bootlegger, winner of the Gold Cup race, was owned and driven by her owner, Caleb S. Bragg of New York, representing the Columbia Yacht Club. Baby Bootlegger has the same hull which won the Gold Cup in Detroit in 1924. However, this year she has been powered with a new Packard Gold Cup motor which increased her racing speed some four miles over that of last year. The hull was designed by Crouch and built by Nevins of City Island, New York. She has a length overall of 29 feet 10˝ inches, and an extreme beam of 5 feet 10 inches. The six cylinder Packard engine turns an 18 by 28 inch propeller 2,600 r.p.m.
Miss Tampa, entered by D. P. Davis of the Davis Island Yacht Club of Tampa, Florida, is a Hacker built and Hacker designed craft, having a length of 25 feet 4 inches overall, and a beam of 5 feet 1 inch. Miss Tampa is also powered with a Packard Gold Cup motor which turns a 16 by 28 inch propeller 2,600 r. p. in. Miss Tampa in the race was driven by Dick Locke.
Baby America II was the entry of Gar Wood from the Detroit Yacht Club. This boat was designed and built by Gar Wood, Inc., has a length of 26 feet and a beam of 5 feet 1 inch. Baby America II is powered with two Miller engines each turning 13 by 16 inch propeller, 45 r. p. in. Baby America II in the Gold Cup race was driven by the famous driver, George Wood.
Horace E. Dodge Boat Works produced three craft for this year's Gold Cup race, namely, Impshi, Nuisance and Solar Plexus. All of these boats were designed by Geo. F. Crouch and all of them are practically alike in overall dimensions, being 25 feet 2 inches on the waterline and having a beam of about 5 feet 6 inches on the chine. All are powered with Packard marine engines and they turn propellers having a diameter of 18 inches and a pitch of 27 inches about 2,600 r. p. in.
Impshi was driven by Wm. Joyce, Nuisance by Colonel J. G. Vincent, and Solar Plexus by Horace E. Dodge. Impshi was entered by the Dodge Dealer's Association. Nuisance was entered by Mrs. Delphine Dodge Cromwell, representing the Columbia Yacht Club, and Solar Plexus was entered by Horace E. Dodge, representing the Detroit Yacht Club.
At the start of the first heat of the Gold Cup race Baby Shadow immediately went into the lead and for nine of the ten laps of this race showed that she had speed considerable in excess of that of any other contestants. However, shortly after finishing the ninth lap, Baby Shadow was compelled to withdraw from the race due to engine trouble caused by the lack of oil. Nuisance, driven by Colonel J. G. Vincent, which had been running second to Baby Shadow, went into the lead which she held to the finish.
Baby Bootlegger went over the line last in the first heat, but before the race was a minute old it was evident that this boat was to be figured upon in the final results. The driving of Mr. Bragg was probably the best of any in the race and the first few laps of the first heat clearly showed that Mr. Bragg was a capable driver and would probably get more out of his craft in the long run than any other helmsman. While all of the other boats raced around the turns with wide open throttle, Mr. Bragg held down Baby Bootlegger and, although losing a few seconds at the turn, was able to save considerable distance and what is more important, did not put the strain upon his power plant and auxiliaries that all the other driver seemed to be doing.
At the end of the first heat Baby Bootlegger was in second place, Impshi in third, Miss Tampa fourth, and Miss Columbia with L. Gordon Hammersley at the wheel, finished sixth, and Baby America II sixth. Solar Plexus, with Horace E. Dodge at the wheel, and Curtiss-Wilgold II, driven by R. V. Williams also suffered the same trouble as Baby Shadow and were forced to withdraw from the race before the first heat was finished.
At the start of the second thirty mile heat Baby Bootlegger immediately jumped into the lead and was not headed through out the race, although she was pushed very hard for twenty two miles by Nuisance, which on the eighth lap was obliged to withdraw due to a broken propeller shaft. After Nuisance was withdrawn, Impshi took up the fight for first place with Baby Bootlegger, but although she failed to reach the leaders she was only three seconds behind her at the finish. The only other boat to finish the second heat was Baby America II, although Miss Tampa was on the sixth lap and running well when she was flagged in and given third place. In the heat besides Nuisance being forced out by a broken propellor shaft, Miss Columbia suffered the same fate at one of the turns. Solar Plexus also had engine trouble and withdrew. Baby Shadow and Curtiss-Wilgold II did not start in the second heat.
At the beginning of the third heat, only Baby Bootlegger, Miss Tampa and Baby America II and Solar Plexus showed up for the start. It was only necessary for Baby Bootlegger to finish among the leaders in order to hold the Gold Cup for another year, so Caleb Bragg took things rather easier, saving his boat for the Dodge Trophy race, which was scheduled for the following day. Miss Tampa, therefore, took the lead from the start and held it to the finish, followed by Baby Bootlegger over a minute astern. Baby America II came in third another minute behind Baby Bootlegger. Solar Plexus broke a shaft in the third heat and withdrew.
As a result of the racing in the three heats of the Gold Cup race, Baby Bootlegger accumulated 1,124 points, then winning the trophy for the Columbia Yacht Club of New York City for the second consecutive year. Miss Tampa with a score of 945 points, was second, and Baby America II with 873 points, was third, Impshi fourth with 685 points, Nuisance fifth with 400 points, Miss Columbia sixth with 289 points, Solar Plexus seventh, Baby Shadow eighth and Curtiss-Wilgold II ninth.
The boats of the Miami Beach One Design Class, also lame as the Biscayne Babies, furnished excellent and close competition in their four twelve mile heats. These are 18 footers similar design and construction and were entered in the name of the various real estate companies at Miami and Miami Beach. Their power plant, 100 h.p. Scripps, stood up without fault of any kind and furnished an excellent contrast to the many breakdowns in the Gold Cup event.
All of the boats of the Miami Beach Class were driven by amateurs in the strictest sense. They were manned by crew of two with such men at the helm as H. Paul Prigg from Tatum Bros., Geo. McKessor Brown driving Miami Shore, Robert Breese driving Altos Del Mar. John Rutherford at the helm of Miami Riviera. W. L. Gilmore piloting Curtiss-Bright, Commander Rouen Gamble controlling Venetian Islands, Nelson Doubleday at the helm of Key Largo, and George Steve of Miami, Florida, driving his own boat.
The Miami Beach Class raced over the regular three m Gold Cup course, each heat consisting of four laps or a total of twelve miles per heat. Excellent time was recorded, with boats showing in the neighborhood of 39 miles an hour on the course, which is excellent considering the competition.
In the first heat the boat entered by Fulford-by-the-Sea proved the winner, completing the twelve mile course in minutes, 31 seconds, or 16 seconds ahead of Curtiss-Bright boat which was handled by W. L. Gilmore, Chief Engineer the Curtiss Company. Venetian Islands, with Commander Roland Gamble at the helm, finished in third place, followed by the boat driven by George M. Stevens. Nelson Doubleday, the helm of Key Largo, was in fifth place, Geo. McKesson Brown, driving Miami Shores, finished sixth. and John Rutherford, directing the Miami Riviera boat, finished in seven place. H. Paul Prigg, driving the boat entered by Tatum Bros., was forced out of the race on the third lap. In the last lap of the first heat the Fulford-by-the-Sea boat averaged 41.65 miles per hour, the best record of these boats during the entire meet.
In the second heat of the Miami Beach Class, Curtiss-Bright, driven by W. L Gilmore, was the winner, finishing the course in 18 minutes 52 seconds, leading Fulford-by-the-Sea by 2 seconds. Geo. McKesson Brown, in Miami Shores, was third, Robert Gamble, in Venetian Islands, fourth, Nelson Doubleday, in Key Largo, finished fifth, and Geo. M. Stevens sixth.
In the third heat W. L. Gilmore, in his Curtiss-Bright, was again the winner, averaging 38 miles an hour for the twelve miles. Robert Breese, driving Altos Del Mar, was only a second behind the leading boat and was followed closely by Fulford-by-the-Sea in third place. Geo. McK. Brown, in Miami Shores, was again fourth, and H. Paul Prigg, in Tatum Bros., worked up into fifth place. The best Commander Gamble, in Venetian Islands, could do was sixth, and he was trailed by Nelson Doubleday in Key Largo. John Rutherford was eighth and Geo. Stevens last.
In the fourth twelve mile heat W. L. Gilmore, driving Curtiss-Bright, was again the winner, covering the twelve miles in 18 minutes 44 seconds, less than 54 seconds ahead of Robert Breese in Altos Del Mar. George McK. Brown finished third, and Fulford-by-the-Sea fourth, Venetian Islands fifth, Geo. M. Stevens sixth, and Nelson Doubleday seventh. H. Paul Prigg, in Tatum Bros., and John Rutherford, in Miami Riviera, also started in this heat but neither of them were able to finish.
A feature of Sunday's racing was the competition for the new trophy recently presented to the American Power Boat Association by Horace E. Dodge. This race consisted of four twelve mile heats. The entries were practically the same as those that were entered in the Gold Cup event on the day previous. Due to the fact that there were many breakdowns in the Gold Cup race, the number of boats which were able to start was very disappointing. As had been expected, Baby Bootlegger, driven by her owner, C. S. Bragg, won in four straight heats. Baby Shadow, equipped with a new Wright motor, started in the first and second heats but her speed was far below that of the day previous, and she was not able to hold Baby Bootlegger who ran away with the race with very little effort.
In the first heat for the Dodge Trophy, Baby Bootlegger and Baby Shadow were the only starters, the former winning at a speed of 47.35 miles an hour. Miss Columbia was on the starting line, but hardly had she crossed the line when her shaft broke and caused her to withdraw from the race.
The second heat of the Dodge Trophy saw four starters including the two boats which started in the first heat, and in addition Nuisance and Curtiss-Wilgold II. Nuisance lasted only one lap and the other boats finished the twelve miles at an overage speed of 47 miles an hour. In the third heat the starters were Baby Bootlegger and Curtiss-Wilgold II, the former winning in 15 minutes 30 seconds for the twelve miles, which is at the rate of 46.43 miles an hour. In the fourth heat for the Dodge Trophy the same two boats, Baby Bootlegger and Curtiss-Wilgold II started, the former winning in 15 minutes 13 seconds.
The Baby Gar Invitation race of twelve miles, open to stock Baby Gars, was won by Kroywen, owned by Wm. Ottmann of the Columbia Yacht Club. New York. Bebe, owned by S. A. Lynch, Jr., was second, and Baby Cub, owned by Howard Lyon, finished in third place. The winner's speed was 46.3 miles per hour.
In the 24 mile Free For All Displacement race, the starters were Bebe, owned by S. A. Lynch, Jr., Bobbie, owned by N. B. Woolworth, Miss Palm Beach, owned by W. J. Conners, and Teaser, owned by Richard F. Hoyt. Teaser took the lead at the start and held it to the finish, covering the twenty-four mile course at an average speed of 49.7 miles per hour. Miss Palm Beach finished in second place, averaging 49 miles an hour. Bobbie finished third.
The two heats of the Hydroplane race open to hydroplanes of the 151 cubic inch class, was a feature of the Regatta. This race was held under the rules of the Mississippi Valley Power Boat Association. The race consisted of two heats of six miles each. In the first heat, nine boats started. Little Star, entered by Waugh Bros., of Peoria, Illinois, took the lead at the start and held it to the finish, covering the six miles at a speed of 33.65 miles an hour. Myda, owned by Otto Stoye of Brooklyn, N. Y., finished second, Miss Brooklyn was third, Hadley Plane, owned by Cliff S. Hadley, fourth, E-Nee-Mo, owned by Joseph Clayton, fifth, Comet, owned by Roland Bergh, was sixth, Greased Lightning, owned by Wm. McP. Bigelow, was seventh, and Miss Quincy VII, owned by Chris Ripp, was eighth. Miss Broad Channel did not finish the first heat.
In the second heat of the hydroplane class there were eight starters. Little Star went into the lead again. However, on the second lap Greased Lightning, with Wm. Bigelow at the wheel, took the lead but was only able to hold it for a short distance, when Myda, owned by Otto Stoye, went into the lead and held it to the finish. E-Nee-Mo came in second, Little Star third, Miss Quincy VII fourth, Comet fifth, Miss Brooklyn sixth and Greased Lightning seventh. Hadley Plane failed to finish
The race for the International Trophy given by the National Association of Boat and Engine Manufacturers brought out six starters. This race was the last of the Gold Cup Regatta and was scheduled for 150 miles or thirty-five times around the three mile course. At the very start Teaser went into the lead and was never headed until the finish line was reached. Miss Syndicate, entered by the Dodge Dealers' Association, held second place for a short time when she was forced to give up this place to Miss Palm Beach, with W. J. Conners at the wheel. On the 16th lap Miss Syndicate was forced to withdraw due to the failure of her power plant.
Cigarette Jr,, owned by L. Gordon Hamersley, also started but this boat lasted only one lap. Curtiss-Wilgold II, with R. V. Williams, made a good race for four laps when she also was towed off the course. Teaser's time for the 105 miles was 2 hours 6 minutes 25 seconds, which is equivalent to 49.83 miles an hour. Teaser, with her owner at the helm, ran an excellent race throughout, making the hairpin turns at each end gracefully and without loss of speed. The running of Teaser was commented upon by every one and the demonstration proved a fitting close to the successful regatta. Another feature of the 105 mile International Trophy race was the performance of Bobbie, entered by N. B. Woolworth of the Columbia Yacht Club. Bobbie, while outclassed in size and power by the other contestants, ran a consistent race throughout and lasted until the finish line was reached. This boat is a 30 foot Belle Isle Super Bear Cat, powered with a 6 cylinder, 200 h.p. Hall-Scott marine motor. Mrs. Woolworth rode in Bobbie during the entire race, acting as mechanician, although no service was required. Mrs. Woolworth is probably the first lady mechanician which ever sailed in a motor boat race of this kind.
(Reprinted from Motor Boating, October 1925, pp.13-15+)
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Leslie Field, 2006