1926 APBA Gold Cup
Manhasset Bay, Port Washington NY, August 21, 1926


Greenwich Folly Wins Gold Cup

bullet Ready for the Gold Cup Regatta
bullet Gold Cup Entries Break Record
bullet Greenwich Folly Wins Gold Cup
bullet Greenwich Folly Wins the Gold Cup
bullet A Big Fleet in the Gold Cup Race
bullet Gold Cup Class Revisited: 1926

Greenwich Folly, owned and driven by George H. Townsend, of the Indian Harbor Yacht club, Greenwich, Conn., won the historic Gold Cup at Manhasset Bay Aug. 21.

Not the fastest boat of the 14 starters, she proved most consistent in the pinches and although she did not win a single heat in three starts yet, when the points were added up, Greenwich Folly was the winner.

Starting in a field of 14 boats, undoubtedly the most costly collection of racing craft ever assembled in this or any other country, this little craft, which was designed and built for the 1925 Gold Cup race, was not even granted a chance by the gathering of experts. In fact she was considered an outsider and it was even said that Mr. Townsend merely started his boat to oblige the officials and fill out the list of entries. It was known that Greenwich Folly was fast but most everyone figured that the trophy must go to one of the new boats. Greenwich Folly, which was known as Baby Mot-O-Meter last year, met with an accident the day before the races and did not compete in the 1925 regatta. Her designer, Frederick K. Lord, made a few changes in the hull this year which increased her speed and sea-going ability considerably, as was quite well demonstrated in the races themselves.

The stage setting for the Gold Cup regatta was almost perfect. Some criticism was heard regarding the lack of facilities for the general public, as there were no grand stands provided and few vantage points on shore were open to the general public. Yachtmen, however, had every advantage and fully 1500 powerboats including craft of every imaginable size, from the little outboard to the palatial Dodge yacht Delphine, completely surrounded the three-mile course. The course itself was perfectly controlled by coast guard craft which kept all spectators well back from the buoys which marked the limit of the course.

The weather was bad, a nasty wind on the sound creating a choppy sea which made it difficult for the light high speed craft and severely taxed the skill of the helmsmen. Not even a glimpse of sunshine favored the regatta and on the second day it rained intermittently throughout the whole afternoon.

The opening event was the first heat for the Gold Cup. The start was a never-to-be-forgotten spectacle. Fifteen boats maneuvered back of the line waiting for the gun. Some drivers tried to creep up slowly while others laid well back endeavoring to time their boats so as to cross at top speed. When the gun ended the suspense, Baby Bootlegger, twice winner of the Gold Cup and driven this year by Col. J. G. Vincent, vice president of the Packard company, Imp, a new Purdy creation, owned and driven by Richard F. Hoyt and Miss Colombia, went over the line almost together. Imp and Baby Bootlegger immediately hitched up in a hot battle for the first buoy. Impshi, driven by Horace E. Dodge; Palm Beach Days, driven by Bill Bigelow: Solar Plexus, another Dodge craft driven by William Horn, and Detroit Water Car, a stock Dodge 26-foot runabout equipped with a six-cylinder Packard Gold Cup motor, were well up in the van.

There was considerable excitement when it was seen that Baby Bootlegger was in the lead at the first turn but Imp was pressing her closely and Palm Beach Days was a good third.

At the end of the first round the same order was maintained. Considerable excitement was caused by the sensational upset of Sara De Sota, the Florida entry which represented the Sarasota Yacht club of Sarasota, Florida. This boat got caught in a cross swell on the back stretch and threw her crew overboard. Both members of the crew were promptly picked up by the coast guard boats. Miss Frolic, owned by Walter P. Chrysler, the only twin screw boat in the race, failed to start the first heat, one of her propellers letting go just a few moments before the start. The fastest time for the first lap was of course made by Baby Bootlegger which averaged just less than 50 miles per hour.

In the second lap the pace was speeded up slightly but Baby Bootlegger still held first place. Imp averaging 50.71 miles per hour closed the gap slightly but not very much as Baby Bootlegger made 50.52 miles per hour on this lap. Palm Beach Days, which as Rainbow III raced in the Gold Cup regatta at Detroit in 1923, still held third place, running with remarkable consistency. In the fourth lap Imp made a remarkable sprint and took the lead away from Baby Bootlegger. In this lap Imp made 53.58 miles per hour, a new record for Gold Cup boats. Baby Shadow, which showed herself to be one of the fastest of last year's boats, also did better than 50 miles per hour on this lap. Baby Shadow was piloted by Guy W. Vaughn who at one time was general manager of the Van Blerk Motor Co. Hotsy-Totsy owned and piloted by Caleb S. Bragg who had won the Gold Cup twice with his Baby Bootlegger but who this year had chosen to pilot his new and supposedly faster craft dropped out in the fifth lap and Baby Water Car, owned by Dodge Brothers Dealers' association and powered with a 24-cylinder special Duesenberg racing engine, also dropped out of the race in the fifth lap. This eliminated two of the new boats of which much had been expected. Baby Bootlegger took back the lead in the fifth lap by averaging 51.86 miles per hour and kept it up in the sixth lap increasing her lead considerably. It was in this lap that Greenwich Folly entered the select circle of 50-mile boats by averaging 50.64 miles per hour and greatly improving her position in the race. Baby Shadow dropped out in the seventh lap, leaving only ten of the original starters in the race. Imp seemed to slow down slightly in this lap but she still held on the second place. Palm Beach Days slowed down in the third lap and lost third place to Solar Plexus but she got going again in the fourth lap and running with utmost consistency, regained third place. Baby Bootlegger finished the course in the elapsed time of 35 minutes and 37 seconds, averaging 50.53 miles per hour for the entire course. Imp finished second, slightly more than a minute behind the winner, averaging slightly better than 49 miles for the course. Palm Beach Days was only slightly more than 30 seconds behind Imp and Solar Plexus was a good fourth with Greenwich Folly fifth. The other boats were flagged off the course and awarded the positions in which they were at the time the race was called off.

The second event on the day's program called out the little Biscayne Babies one design class. These boats were all built by the Purdy Boat Co. of Port Washington, N. Y., and are all powered with six-cylinder Scripps engines of the Junior Gold Cup type. This year there were only seven starters so that the race was not nearly as good as last year. They did, however, make excellent racing and an interesting fill in between the heats of the Gold Cup. Boat No. 25 piloted by R. Gamble and No. 27 piloted by F. Pratt, both averaged better than 38 miles per hour on the first lap, the former leading. In the second lap No. 27 took the lead and boosted the speed up to over 40 miles per hour. This little boat held the lead and completed the 12-mile course in 18 minutes and I0 seconds, a speed of slightly better than 40 miles per hour. No. 25 finished second and No. 26 was third. These little boats certainly made close and exciting racing and all finished with-out the slightest signs of mechanical trouble.

The third event brought out the Gold Cup boats for their second heat. Eleven boats started with Imp and Miss Columbia leading across the line. Baby Bootlegger caught and passed them both before the first turn and took the lead with Shadow Vite in close pursuit. Shadow Vite took the lead in the third lap as Baby Bootlegger began to falter. In the fifth lap Greenwich Folly began to loom as a serious contender and went into second place. Palm Beach Days, after a slow start, got up to third place in the fifth lap. Baby Bootlegger quit in the seventh.

Shadow Vite won the heat averaging 49.34 miles per hour. Greenwich Folly was only six seconds behind with Palm Beach Days a good third, Solar Plexus fourth, Impshi fifth, and Miss Columbia sixth. The other boats were flagged and awarded their positions as on their previous laps.

After the Gold Cup boats had finished their second heat the Biscayne Babies put on their little exhibition and once again boat No. 27 finished first, averaging slightly better than 40 miles per hour. These smooth running little boats surely demonstrated remarkable consistency. Boats 26 and 25 had a hot fight for second place, the former winning by only two seconds after having been behind at the start.

When the third heat started for the Gold Cup trophy, Palm Beach Days had the lead in points but Greenwich Folly was so close that Palm Beach Days must finish ahead of her to win. Shadow Vite which had won the second heat did not have a possible chance unless Palm Beach Days and Greenwich Folly finished well down the list. The start was not particularly exciting as most of the boats took a standing start. Imp, however, got another first class start and crossed the line going at practically full speed. She was not able to hold it however, and was soon passed by Shadow Vite which finished the first lap nine seconds ahead of her. Baby Bootlegger started the third heat but dropped out permanently in the second lap as did also Detroit Water Car which encountered some slight valve spring trouble but enough to throw her out of the race. The second lap of the race for the boats was exceptionally consistent, none of them running less than 45 miles per hour and not a single one of them reaching 48 miles per hour. Shadow Vite slowed down slightly but was still in the lead. After getting a poor start, Greenwich Folly began to speed up and in the fifth lap took second place away front Imp. In the sixth lap, Greenwich Folly surprised everybody by running at the rate of 52.26 miles per hour and picked up considerable distance on Shadow Vite which, however, continued in first place. Solar Plexus of the Dodge fleet was running a remarkably even and consistent race and easily held third place until the tenth lap when she dropped out, leaving third place to Impshi.

Palm Beach Days ruined her chances for the trophy by her slow start. It afterwards appeared that a defective oil gage had given the driver the impression that the oil pressure had run low, when as a matter of fact the trouble was in the oil gage itself and not in the oil pressure. Although Palm Beach Days gained fifth place in the third heat, it did not give her sufficient points to catch Greenwich Folly. Shadow Vite by winning the third heat also passed her in final standing of points. This concluded the racing for the first day.

The first event on the second day's program, Aug. 26, brought out the Dodge trophy racers. Four boats started; Rascal, owned by Caleb S. Bragg; Rowdy, owned by C. J. Fisher and driven by Vic Kliesrath; Impshi, one of the Dodge fleet, and Miss Columbia, owned by the Columbia Yacht club. Rascal and Rowdy, were built especially for the Dodge trophy and the Detroit sweepstakes and are extremely interesting craft of 32 feet, 3 inches overall length with 6 feet, 3-inch beam and powered with 12-cylinder, 600-horsepower Packard engines. They were both built by the Purdy Boat Co. of Port Washington and represent about the last word in smooth water racing craft. In the first heat, Rascal and Rowdy led over the start and immediately began an exhibition race which continued through the four heats for the trophy. Rascal led at the finish of the first lap but after that Rowdy took a turn and finished ahead in all three remaining laps. Miss Columbia was third and Impshi fourth.

The next event on the program brought out the Biscayne Babies for their third heat. This was won by boat No. 25 driven by R. Gamble who averaged better than 40 miles per hour on the court. All these boats performed with remarkable consistency.

The third event on the day's program brought out the Dodge trophy racers for the second heat. Miss Columbia was unable to start as her starting battery had short circuited and would not turn over the engine and Baby Water Car of the Dodge fleet took her place. The race itself was a repetition of the first race, Rowdy and Rascal giving an exhibition and merely staying a few yards ahead of the smaller craft. The feature of the race was the sensational upset of Baby Water Car when she struck the swells of another boat and turned completely over throwing her crew into the water. The other three boats continued on to the finish, Rowdy finishing first, Rascal second and Impshi driven by Horace E. Dodge, third.

The fourth event on the program was somewhat of a diversion for the spectators as it brought out the outboards for the free-for-all classes. Eleven of these little boats started in this race and furnished plenty of excitement to the spectators. The race was won by Flying Fish owned by V. Withstandley and powered with a Johnson big six twin. The second boat to finish was Wahoo powered with a Lockwood-Ash outboard. This little boat was featured in the September number of Power Boating. Her plans by Arthur E. Doane being given complete with specifications in that number. She made 16.74 miles per hour over a rough course which we believe is an extremely creditable performance. The third boat to finish was Miss Carrie driven by Miss Helen Henshel. Miss Henshel showed herself to be an excellent driver and averaged 15.43 miles per hour over the course in a very freaky craft.

The next event on the program also featured outboards. This race was open to boats of the Baby Buzz class and there were 13 entries. Thirteen of these little boats traveling around the course with wide-open exhausts certainly gave the spectators a lot of amusement. The race was won by boat V I owned by V. Withstandley and powered with a Johnson big six twin. This little boat averaged 17.21 miles per hour. The second boat to finish was V II owned by W. J. Scherr which made 16.49 miles per hour. The boat to finish was V XXXII owned by Boerum which made 16.29 miles per hour. It is particularly noteworthy that of the 13 starters powered with Johnson engines 12 finished and the thirteenth was still running when she was flagged off the course by the official in order to prepare for the next race.

The third heat for the Dodge trophy was another parade for Rascal and Rowdy with Rowdy again winning by a slight margin. Miss Columbia secured a new battery and led over the start but the best she could do was third place, finishing just ahead of Impshi. The final heat for the Biscayne Babies came next and was more interesting than the other heats because of the fact that three boats crossed the line before gun fire and failing to notice the re-call signals kept on running. Of course their first lap did not count until they had finished the second round so that the boat which finished first actually was fourth. The winner turned out to be boat No. 27 driven by T. Pratt with boat No. 24 second, driven by M. Doubleday and No. 26 driven by J. Rutherford third. The last race of the program brought out the Dodge trophy boats for their fourth and final heat and as usual Rowdy won. The crowd got rather sick of these 60-mile boats running along at slightly over 48 miles per hour and race dragged on to the finish.

Greenwich Folly, winner of the Gold Cup, was designed by Fred K. Lord, N. A. of New York City, and was built by Henry Nevins of City Islands. She is powered with a 6-cylinder Packard marine engine of the Gold Cup type. Her overall length is 27 feet 6 inches and her propeller shaft is carried by a strut and not by a bearing in the heel of the rudder, such as used in most of the Gold Cup boats.

Gold Cup Regatta
Manhasset Bay, L.I., N. Y., Aug. 21-22 Three Heats 30 Miles Each

Boat

Owner

First Heat

Second Heat

Third Heat

Points

Greenwich Folly

Geo. H. Townsend

38:21.62

36:34.15

36:44.49

978

Shadow Vite

Carl G. Fisher

Flagged

36:28.82

36:41.12

944

Palm Beach Days

Wagg & Bigelow

37:43.35

37:57.37

39:56.99

869

Impshi

Dodge Bros. Dealers Assn.

Flagged

38:35.93

38:12.99

805

Imp

Richard F Hoyt

36:40.63

Flagged

Flagged

775

Miss Columbia

Columbia Yacht Club

Flagged

39:12.34

38:56.85

635

Solar Plexus

Horace E. Dodge

37:52.84

38:11.91

DNF

578

Baby Bootlegger

Caleb S. Bragg

35:37.00

DNF

DNF

400

Nuisance

Mrs. D. D. Cromwell

36:18.15

Flagged

DNF

392

Detroit Water Car

Horace E. Dodge

Flagged

Flagged

DNF

333

Baby Shadow

Carl G. Fisher

DNF

DNS

DNS

Hotsy Totsy

Caleb S. Bragg

DNF

DNS

Baby Water Car

Dodge Bros. Dealers Assn

DNF

DNS

Sara De Sota

Forrest Adair

DNF

Dodge Trophy Four Heats 12 Miles Each

Boat

Owner

First Heat

Second Heat

Third Heat

Fourth Heat

Rowdy

C. G. Fisher

15:11.19

15:37.14

15:11.76

14:52.40

Rascal

Caleb S. Bragg

15:13.03

15:40.59

15:16.44

15:01.97

Miss Columbia

Columbia Yacht Club

15:37.48

DNS

15:29.68

15:22.27

Impshi

Dodge Bros. Dealers Assn

16:28.62

18:44.52

19:28.76

Baby Water Car

Dodge Bros. Dealers Assn

Nuisance

Mrs. D. D. Cromwell?

(Reprinted from Power Boating, October 1926, pp.11-14, 54+)


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