1939 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, September 4, 1939
Miss Canada IIIChoice to Beat Five Rivals for Gold Cup Today
Detroit, Sept 3  War history repeated itself this morning as part of the annals of Americas oldest speed-boat regatta. During a meeting of the Gold cup contest Board at the Detroit Yacht Club word was brought to the drivers and pilots that France had declared war against Germany and the veteran racing commissioner, Charles F. Chapman of New York, recalled that it was at an identical contest board meeting a quarter of a century earlier, at Lake George, N.Y., on an August day of 1914, that news came of the previous World War came to stun the gathering.
This years thirty-sixth running tomorrow has an international aspect that was absent then, although the Italian defender, Alagi, will be missing because of the European war and because its driver, Count Theo Rossi, could not get steamship passage. Another entry under a foreign flag has been installed as the favorite over the United States fleet. This is the heavy weather Miss Canada III, entered by E.A. Wilson of Ingersoll, Ontario, and to be driven by his chunky, blond son, Harold Wilson.
The Wilsons assured Commodore Otto Barthels committees today that Englands declaration of war would not cause a withdrawal of Miss Canada III, and a morning time trial today, before the course was cleared for the clubs cruiser races, found the dark-hulled design bettering eighty miles an hour on the straightaways.
Succeed Under Pressure
There was a question mark in the pits yesterday about the Dominion boat. Spark plug bushings which were machined out of aluminum were repeatedly blowing. But brass sleeves were substituted and todays tests demonstrated they were succeeding even under the terrific pressure.
Six will answer the white flag starting signal at 1:20 tomorrow afternoon, five of them United States craft. Four will be orthodox Gold Cup creations, including Herbert Mendelsons Notre Dame, winner in 1937. The two others remain out of the brave flotilla of 725-cubic-inch craft from Louisville and other ports on the Ohio River.
Of these less powerful boats only M.J. Coopers Mercury, of unknown qualities, and W.E. Cantrells Why Worry, which did sixty-six miles an hour yesterday, were without motor stoppages at todays meeting when the officials made their final count of starters. J.W. Andersons Warnie had to be withdrawn because of a broken connecting rod.
But Miss Canadas main opposition over the ninety long miles, which will be divided into three heats, should come from Notre Dame and from two new ships, Zalmon G. Simmons Jr.s My Sin from the Indian Harbor Yacht Club at Greenwich, Conn., and Louis J. Fageols So-Long from San Marino, a suburb of Los Angeles. Neither My Sin nor So-Long attempted tests today, although Mendelson sent his Notre Dame out for an eleventh-hour warm-up with his new pilot, the youthful Dan Arena of Oakland, Calif., who has succeeded Clell Perry.
These ships have tremendous speed, it is known.. So-Long was clocked at 88 miles an hour the other day, and in the Hudson, off Tarrytown, My Sin has done nearly 100 miles and hour this summer. But they are light-weather boats, both built by Apel at Ventnor, N.J. and with the easily broken pontoons amidships.
Tomorrows weather prophecy not only indicates rain but also a southerly wind that will blow against the rivers two-mile current and whip the course into choppy whitecaps. The sturdier Miss Canada III thrives in this sort of hard going.
The contest board today named the same committee of elder statesmen that was constituted last year to make a decision in case of a possible postponement. Sheldon Clark of Chicago, head of the Yachtsmens Association of America, is chairman, and the others are John A. Remon of Washington, president of the American Power Boat Association; Dr. A.R. Hackett, J. Lee Barrett and Commodore Barthel, all of Detroit.
One change was announced in the point scoring of bonuses. In addition to the usual tallies of 400 for winning a heat, 300 for second place, etc., the boat making the fastest ninety miles will receive a bonus of 400 additional points, as will the boat making the fastest thirty-mile heat, providing it also finishes the race. This is important. The 300,000 or more spectators on the river bridge and embankments have learned in former years that five or six starters shrink to as few as one or two finishers in such a grueling grind.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, September 4, 1939)
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