1937 President's Cup
Potomac River, Washington D.C., September 24-26, 1937
Notre Dame Wins Again
Again Notre Dame, the Gold Cup racer owned by Herbert Mendelson of Detroit, has demonstrated that she is entitled to the rating of No. 1 American race boat for the season of 1937. However, at the President's Cup regatta at Washington, Notre Dame, instead of leading practically all the way as she did in the Gold Cup race in Detroit in September, came from behind to win against boats which were actually faster. So again consistency and reliability were the deciding factors.
The President's Cup regatta again goes down in history as it did in 1936, as having the greatest number of starters of any of the season's regattas. In the three days of racing, 245 boats started, of which 136 were outboards and 109 inboard racers and cruisers. A total of 37 racing events were on the program in addition to a glorious night pageant, fireworks, and sailing and swimming events.
Perhaps the other sensations of the regatta were the performances of Juno, a new Gold Cup racer owned by John M. Rutherfurd of Port Washington, New York, and the one-mile record of 91.408 miles per hour established by Count Rossi's Alagi, the fastest speed ever made in this country by a single engine hydroplane, which speed surpasses that of 85.511 miles per hour made by Melvin Crook's Betty V at Red Bank, New Jersey, on August 24, 1936, a boat having considerably more piston displacement than Alagi's 732 cubic inches.
Juno is a hull which was originally intended to go to China as one of their Suicide Fleet of motor war craft but on account of financial reasons it was never delivered. It is an Apel boat built on the Apel principle of three-point suspension, almost exactly the same as the Apel hulls which have been so successful in 225 cubic inch class racing during the past two years. The boat is a couple of feet longer and a few inches wider than the standard 225 hulls. Mr. Rutherfurd, the owner, had installed the Packard 625 cubic inch non-supercharged Gold Cup motor out of his Ma-Ja in the new Juno. Completion of the boat was delayed so that only one short trial trip was possible before the Washington regatta but the boat proved so fast that her owner decided to enter her in the President's Cup race, which is governed by rules similar to those governing the Gold Cup race.
On the morning of the first heat for the President's Cup, Mr. Rutherfurd decided to make an official one mile run to determine just how fast his boat was. Without any advance tuning up whatsoever, he was officially timed at 84.607 miles per hour, by far the fastest that any non-supercharged Gold Cup boat had ever run. When this speed became known among the Gold Cup owners, Juno became the dark horse favorite.
When the first heat of the President's Cup race was called, Juno demonstrated from the very start that she had speed. By the time the first turn of the 2½ mile course was reached, even though the entire field was bunched, Juno had a slight lead. At the end of the first lap she led Notre Dame by 5 seconds, which boat led Alagi by a single second. Impshi, Horace E. Dodge's entry, was fourth, Miss Palm Beach, the former Miss Columbia, fifth, and Delphine IX in sixth place. Juno held the lead to the finish line in the first 15 mile heat which was covered at an average speed of 65.265 miles per hour. Notre Dame was ten seconds astern and Alagi, which at the end of the second lap was ahead of Notre Dame, was 19 seconds astern of her at the finish line. Then came Impshi and Miss Palm Beach. Delphine IX finished the fifth lap in fifth position but retired soon afterward.
The second and third heats were scheduled for the second day, so interest in the race was fever high. However, much of the interest waned when Juno upset at the second turn of the second heat. This was probably the first time that a boat of this design had capsized but it seemed to be due to a combination of rough water and taking the turn wide open to keep the lead. It is also reported that Juno's throttle jammed so that it was not possible for Mr. Rutherfurd to keep control of his boat.
With Juno out, Notre Dame took the lead and held it to the finish, covering the 15 mile course in 15 minutes, 25 4/5 seconds, considerably slower than the first heat. Aradam, also one of Count Rossi's boats, which did not start in the first heat, was second, over one and one-half minutes astern of Notre Dame. Alagi came along over a minute later. Impshi and Miss Palm Beach did not finish and Delphine IX did not start.
In the third heat, evidently Count Rossi decided to demonstrate what his boat could really do. From the crack of the starting gun Alagi took the lead and Notre Dame could not catch her. Alagi's time for the third heat was 13 minutes, 36 4/5 seconds, twenty seconds better than Notre Dame's time in the first heat. Her speed of 66.128 miles per hour, a record for the President's Cup, is a new single engine 15 mile record.
Notre Dame by her first and two seconds and the fastest total time for the three heats gained enough points to become the winner of the President's Cup, repeating her win of 1935.
In addition to the three heats of the feature race for the President's Cup events were scheduled for nearly all of the active classes for other types of boats. One full day was given over to the outboard events, all classes of which filled well. The amateur and professional drivers raced separately. In Class A, Douglas Fonda of Orange. New Jersey, the 1937 High Point winner took the race in two straight heats. James Mullen of Richmond, Virginia, was the winner of Class B-I but Mr. Fonda who finished in fifth place in Class B-I came back to win first prize in Class C-I.
Among the professional outboard drivers, Thom Cooper of Kansas City, Missouri, placed first in A-II, Fred Jacoby, Jr., in B-II, Dick Neal in C-II and Ken MacKenzie of New Haven, Connecticut, won the Class F event, which was an open event. Mary Daller of Chester, Pennsylvania, took first place in the midget race for the John A. Remon Trophy. as well as first in the free for all handicap.
Among the inboard events, the race for the John Charles Thomas Trophy which was open to the ten 225s which scored the greatest number of points during the current season, created a great amount of interest. Jack Cooper of Kansas City, Missouri. driving Tops II, won all three ten mile heats and became the possessor of this valuable trophy for one year. Mr. Cooper, with the same boat, also won the two five mile heats open to 225 cubic inch hydroplanes for the American Power Boat Association Championship. Charles F. Wheaton 's Shadow II finished in second place in both of these races. Altogether nearly twenty 225's were at Washington but rough water on the last day killed the competition considerably.
In the 91 cubic inch hydroplane class the winner was Dr. R. E. Wolf of Uhrichsville, Ohio, and S. Mortimer Auerbach's Emancipator VI won both heats of the 135 cubic inch class.
Among the runabout classes, Class E was the most popular and the race was won as was to be expected by George Ward's Hi Ho II. Anthony Orth of Wilmington, Delaware, took the race for Class D inboard runabouts, David Gerli's Lady Glen III proved the winner in Class I, and John Charles Thomas with his new Smyne; won the race for Class K inboard runabouts.
The ladies free for all was taken by Mrs. John M. Rutherfurd, driving Miss Palm Beach, the American Speed Boat Championship was won by Jack Cooper's Tops II, and the all Washington Sweepstakes was taken by Gardner Orme.
The speeds in all of the classes at Washington were exceptionally high and a number of new world's records were established. Leston Cloak, driving David Gerli's Class F inboard runabout, powered with a Gray motor, established a new one mile Class F inboard runabout record of 51.2105 miles per hour. David Gerli established a new Class I inboard runabout one mile record of 51.4315 miles per hour. John Charles Thomas, driving his Class K inboard runabout, Smyne, hung up a new one mile record of 39.26 miles per hour and then went out the next day and raised his own record to 61.092 miles per hour. In the same boat he established a five mile Class K inboard runabout record of 54.25 miles per hour.
As already mentioned. John Rutherford in his Gold Cup 625 cubic inch non-supercharged Juno established a one mile record of 84.607 miles per hour, and Clell Perry, driving Notre Dame, established a 625 cubic inch super-charged one mile record of 82.299 miles per hour. Theo Rossi, in his Alagi, broke the American single engine one mile record and raised it to 91.408 miles per hour.
Complete summaries will be found on pages 102-104.
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