1925 Detroit Regatta
Detroit Yacht Club Trophy and Detroit 150-Mile Sweepstakes
Kermath Powered Cruisers and Chris Craft Furnish Thrills at
Without the Gold Cup to be raced for and minus Gar Wood the annual Detroit Regatta this year lacked the competition and enthusiasm which has been present for the past eight years. If it had not been for the cruisers, especially the Kermath-powered boats and the always efficient and spectacular Chris-Craft which were thrown into the racing-program to fill the breach, the regatta this year would have been without interest.
Ever sine 1918 the American Power Boat Association Gold Cup has be held by the Detroit Yacht Club, that is, until 1924, when Caleb Bragg with his Baby Bootlegger brought it East.
Competition for this trophy has always been keen and the Detroiters have had little trouble in having a regatta which outranked any anywhere. The popularity of the Gold Cup Class was never more emphasized than this year, when Detroit decided to hold a regatta without the Gold Cup.
Another reason for the lack of entries and enthusiasm may be due to the inactivity of Gar Wood, who is at present seriously ill in a Detroit hospital, and was, therefore, unable to have his usual team of fast racing craft at the starting line. It is also true that the regatta lacked interest, due to the fact that the French, who had challenged for the British International Trophy, also known as the Harmsworth Trophy, failed to send over to this country their challenger as they had promised. This race was scheduled to be the major event at the Detroit Regatta and the failure of the foreigners to appear made it necessary to rearrange the entire program at the eleventh hour.
But what Detroit lacked in number of entries they made up for in other ways. As usual, Eddie Edenburn was at the helm with his usual staff of efficient workers and they all saw to it that every regatta arrangement was perfect. As many, if not more than usual number of visiting yachtsmen and yachts were present, and of course the officers and members of the Detroit Yacht Club extended Detroit hospitality and saw to it that there was not an uninteresting moment.
As the substitute race for the Harmsworth Trophy, the Detroit Committee offered a trophy known as the Detroit Yacht Club Trophy. This race was open to boats of the Gold Cup class with the exception that there were no restrictions as to type of hull, provided the boat was at least 25 feet in length and powered with a motor not greater than 625 cu. in. piston displacement. Three boats entered for this race as follows : Nuisance, owned by Delphine Dodge Cromwell of the Columbia Yacht Club, New York City; Miss Tampa, owned by D. P. Davis of Tampa, Fla., and entered from the Davis Island Yacht Club, and Solar Plexus, owned by Horace E. Dodge of the Detroit Yacht Club. The race was scheduled to consist of one heat of 45 statute miles.
The start of the race for the Detroit Yacht Club Trophy was made at 300 p.m. on Saturday, September 5. All three entries showed up for the start, and Miss Tampa immediately took the lead, which was held for a little over one lap, averaging 46.2 miles per hour around the three-mile course. Nuisance, at the end of the first lap, was in second place, averaging a speed of 44.8 miles per hour, followed closely by Solar Plexus, whose average speed for the lap was 43.4 miles per hour.
Soon after the finish of the first lap, two of the boats, Miss Tampa and Solar Plexus, had engine trouble and dropped out of the race temporarily. Nuisance continued around the course alone, finishing the lap at a speed of 44.4 miles per hour. Miss Tampa, after a slight delay, got some once again, covering the second three miles at a speed of 33.4 miles per hour, and Solar Plexus completed the lap in 6 minutes 25 seconds at a speed of 282 miles per hour. From this point in the race to the finish there was no competition whatsoever. Miss Tampa dropped out entirely in the third lap, and Nuisance, some three miles in the lead, continued along at a speed of about 10 miles below that which she is capable of. Solar Plexus, going occasionally, her best speed for a three-mile lap was only 44 miles an hour. Nuisance completed the 45 miles in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 23 woods, and Solar Plexus in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 6 seconds. The winner's speed was only 41.3 miles per hour.
The Detroit 150-Mile Sweepstakes Race, which in the past two years had been one of the feature events of the country, failed to draw its usual quota of starters. While eighteen of these were actually entered, eight did not show up at all on the starting line, and at the time the winner had completed 150 miles there were only five of the original starters still running.
Packard Chris Craft II, owned and driven by Colonel J. G. Vincent, led from the start to the finish and was not really pressed for first place at any time. Packard Chris Craft was the boat built for the 1923 Sweepstakes Race and finished second in that event. She is powered with a 12-cylinder Packard marine engine, developing in the neighborhood of 500 h.p. She was built by Chris Smith & Sons Boat Company of Algonac, Michigan, and was ably handled throughout the race by Colonel Vincent at the helm and Bernard Smith as mechanician.
Baby Horace III, one of the entries of Horace E. Dodge and driven by Caleb Bragg of New York City, finished second. Baby Horace III is also a last year's boat and, like the winner, Packard Chris Craft II, she is powered with a 12-cylinder Packard marine engine. Lady Cleveland, owned by J. H. MacDowell, finished third. This boat is a stock Baby Gar, powered with a super-Liberty motor, and was driven by her owner. Solar Plexus, the Gold Cup entry of Horace E. Dodge, finished in fourth place, and Squee Gee, owned by and driven by M. O. Cross, finished fifth. Miss Detroit VII, the entry of Gar Wood and the boat which won the 1923 and 1924 150-Mile Sweepstakes, was also a starter, but dropped out on the sixth lap with a broken gear box. Impshi, owned by the Dodge Dealers' Association and driven by. Wm. Joyce, dropped out at the end of the eighteenth three-mile lap with a hole in the bottom. This is the same boat which in the Manhasset Bay race a week earlier, but in the race her power plant was changed from a Gold Cup Packard engine of 620 inches to a 12-cylinder Sweepstakes Packard of about 500 h.p. Little Boy Blue, entered and driven by. Wm. Horn, dropped out at the end of the thirteenth lap. Nuisance, owned and driven by Mrs. Cromwell, lasted for thirty-four laps when a broken shaft ended her career. Miss Rum Runner, owned and driven by F T. Holliday of Indianapolis, lasted for ten . laps, when a twisted shaft caused her to withdraw.
The performance of Packard Chris Craft was very worthy of comment. This boat performed by far the best in the race and ran beautifully throughout, never falling below a speed of 50 miles per hour in any of the laps and finishing the 150 miles in 2 hours, 44 minutes, 47 seconds, which is an average of 55.65 miles per hour. Packard Chris Craft's best three-mile lap was made at the rate of 58.95 miles per hour. The time and speed made by Packard Chris Craft for the 150 miles is the best in any 150-mile event which has been held in the past and is a new .world's record for this distance.
Baby Horace III, from the spectator's standpoint, gave Packard Chris Craft II a good race throughout the entire behind the distance. During most of the race she was only a few lengths behind the leader, and while Mr. Bragg at the helm did his best to pass the leader on several occasions, the driver of Packard Chris Craft II had plenty in reserve and had only to open his throttle slightly to stay in the lead. Baby Horace’s time for the 150 miles was 2 hours, 41 minutes, 59 seconds, which is a speed of 55.55 miles per hour, also a new world's record. Baby Horace's best three-mile lap was made at the rate of 57.65 miles per hour.
The third boat to finish, Lady Cleveland, completed the race in three hours, three minutes, two seconds or at a speed of 49.2 miles per hour. Lady Cleveland's best three mile lap was made at the rate of 52.4 miles per hour. Of the other boats to finish, Solar Plexus averaged 49.5 for her best three mile lap and Squee-Gee's best lap was made at a speed of about 42 miles an hour.
What the speed boats lacked in number of entries, was made up for by the cruisers and Chris Crafts which raced in several heats. The cruisers competed in the annual race for the Sallan trophy which was run from the Detroit Yacht Club up into Lake St. Clair and return, a distance of 25 nautical miles. The race was a handicap event with the time allowances based on the actual speeds of the competing boats made in a trial conducted by one of the committee on board.
Twenty-nine cruisers started in tie first heat of the Sallan race on the morning of Saturday, September 5. The boats were started in the order of the handicap, the slowest boat starting first. Matthews 38, owned and driven by C. F. Matthews finished first, completing the twenty-five nautical mile course in two hours, fifty-five minutes, nine seconds. Jean A, owned by W. E. Adams, a stock boat, finished in second place and completed the course in one hour, fifty-eight minutes, forty-three seconds.
In the second heat for the Sallan trophy which was run on the evening of September 5, there were twenty-six starters. In this event Lucinda L, owned by Leo Neye, was the first boat home, completing the course in two hours, forty-two minutes, fifty-three seconds. Bo Peep, owned by P. M. Kirlin was second and Speejax, owned by C. D. Cutting third.
The third and last heat of the Sallan trophy was run on the morning of Sept. 7, with 25 starters. In this heat, Jean A won first place. Sport, owned by E. P. Liebold, was second and Speejax third. The point system was used to determine the winner. As Speejax had accumulated the graded number of points she was awarded the first prize, Jean A second and Matthews 38, third place.
One of the features which everyone observed and remarked about in reference to the Sallan Trophy race was the excellence of the craft entered. All of them were real cruisers, seaworthy and kept in ship-shape condition. A number of the boats were of the so-called standardized type, including several Matthews 38's, a number of Elco crusettes and four or five Liggett standardized boats. Several of the latter type were exactly similar in size and construction, all being powered with six cylinder Kermath motors. All of these performed 100% perfect and made an excellent race.
(Reprinted from Motor Boating, October 1925, pp. 36-37, 134+)
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