1927 APBA Gold Cup
Greenwich Folly Wins
Gold Cup Once More
East Downs West in Struggle for Classic Trophy in Race Marred by Breakdowns, Upsets and Sinkings
By Samuel Wetherill
For the second successive year Greenwich Folly, owned and driven by George H. Townsend, of the Indian Harbor Yacht Club, won the season's motor boat racing classic when she romped home with a big lead in the third and final 30-mile heat of the Gold Cup Regatta staged by the Indian Harbor Yacht Club off Greenwich, Conn., on the afternoon of August 6th. Second place went to Miss Columbia, entered by the Columbia Yacht Club, and driven by Charles F. Chapman. Third? There was no third. For of the eleven original starters no less than nine had fallen by the wayside before the second heat had been finished. It was a survival of the fittest, not the fastest.
A huge fleet of yachts, excursion steamers and other sightseeing craft, anchored around the triangular 3-mile course, harbored thousands of race enthusiasts when the starter sent the eleven boats away in the first heat.
Those who were seeking thrills and excitement had not long to wait. In the 3rd lap Palm Beach Days, owned by Bigelow and Wagg, and driven by Bill Bigelow, dropped out with motor trouble. In the 6th lap Baby Water Car, entered by Horace E. Dodge and driven by J. H. R. Cromwell, did a flip-flop, and was through for the day. In the same lap Baby Gar VIII, driven by the veteran Gar Wood. smashed her bottom and withdrew in a sinking condition. Baby Gar VII withdrew for the same reason, both of Gar Wood's creations shooting clear of the water on several occasions, and becoming almost unmanageable on the turns. Nuisance, driven by Horace Dodge, went out with motor trouble, and Baby Bootlegger, Caleb Bragg's 1925 winner, smashed her wheel on some driftwood and was thereafter hors du combat.
During all this excitement Hotsy Totsy, owned by C. S. Bragg and driven by Victor Kliesrath, set a hot pace of a trifle better than 51 miles an hour and dashed across the line a winner of the first heat, closely pursued by Richard F. Hoyt's Imp. Greenwich Folly was right on her heels for third honors, while Shadowvite, driven by Geo. Graves, and Miss Columbia were some distance behind.
Hotsy Totsy had hung up two records for the day during this heat, 53.16 miles for one lap, and an average of 51.26 miles for the 30-mile course. Other fast laps were made by Imp, with 52.297, Greenwich Folly with 52.05, and Baby Gar VII with 51.8.
The eliminations continued in the second heat, Nuisance going out once more. Then Imp capsized on the third lap, her crew being rescued by Miss Columbia, who lost valuable time but continued racing. Shadowvite and Hotsy Totsy had been having a fine struggle for the lead until the 7th lap, when Shadowvite withdrew with engine trouble. Hotsy Totsy was leading Greenwich Folly by a good margin when the former burst into flames and withdrew, her crew successfully extinguishing the blaze. Greenwich Folly then romped home an easy winner of the heat, Miss Columbia being far in the ruck.
The third heat was a runaway for Greenwich Folly, who easily took the measure of Miss Columbia, the only survivor left to give battle. So once more East triumphed over West, and once more at least, in 1928, the Gold Cup Regatta will be held off Greenwich.
Sandwiched in between heats of the Gold Cup Race were races for the snappy 151 cu. in. hydroplanes and two classes of outboard motored craft, which provided plenty of spirited competition and thrills. Then the stock runabouts got together and wound up the program with a tight, well-run race without casualties.
Miss Westchester, owned by G.W. Hammond, of the Horseshoe Harbor Yacht Club, won both heats of the 151 Class, equipped with superchargers. Miss Spitfire, owned by Mrs. J. G. Rand, Jr. tore off a lap at the rate of 48.6 miles an hour, and Miss California knocked out one at a 45.6 clip, but both fell by the wayside.
In the non-supercharger 151 Class, Miss Ricochet owned by R. H. Moeller, won both heats and the race with See-Me-Go taking second and Miss Spitfire VI third .A special race for Biscayne Babies and Chrysler Rainbow was won by Scalawag, with second honors going to Belle V, both being Chrysler Rainbows. A horde of boxy, queer-looking craft took part in the Class B outboard race, buck-jumping along at a great clip to the staccato tune of open 2-cycle exhausts. The winner turned up in Cuty, owned and driven by C. Cooper, who turned in a fine performance of slightly better than 20 miles an hour. Cute Craft Herself was right on her heels, and Cnigh a good third
The Class C outboards put on a whirlwind race, the winner, V. Withstandley's Flying Fish II, doing the trick at a 22.4 mile clip. H. Hentschell's Baby Whale III annexed sea and honors, while A. J. Schwarzler drove We into third place.
The closing event of the day, the 6-mile race for stock runabouts. attracted no less than thirteen entries, and was one of the closest and most interesting events on the program, resulting in a win for Dinah, driven by Ted Law, son of Commodore Robert Law, of the Indian Harbor Club. Second place went to Chris-Craft, driven by Mrs. George Townsend, the Gold Cup winner's better half, while the third boat in was Zelli, owned by B. S. Cunningham. Ten others completed the course in fast time, all making an excellent showing in sharp contrast to their more temperamental racing sisters.
The 1927 Gold Cup Race will be the last one in which displacement boats will race for the famous trophy. Over a year ago the experts recognized the fact that with the tremendous increase in power of motors of Gold Cup size, the speed of boats had risen to a point where they were oftentimes unmanageable, if not unsafe, which was definitely proven on August 6th. So next year hydroplanes, which have been so well developed that they can be driven at greater speed and still be under the control of their drivers, will be tearing up the water off Greenwich.
(Reprinted from Yachting, November 1927, pp.34-35)
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