1948 President's Cup
Potomac River, Washington D.C., September 25-26, 1948
Washington, D.C.'s President's Cup Regatta can take credit for making the last weekend in September a bright spot on the calendar of 1948 power boat racing. Top-notch arrangements, better than average weather conditions and fair to middling officiating combined with a fine entry list to produce some outstanding competition and a flock of new records. Highlighting the racing were three hard-fought heats for the featured trophy, with victory finally going to Dan Arena at the wheel of Jack Schafter's Allison-Ventnor combination, Such Crust.
Ten boats appeared on the course to start the first heat for the President's Cup on Saturday, the 25th. As they warmed up on the slightly lumpy Potomac, there could be identified: the eventual winner, Such Crust; her sister-ship, Lahala, owned and driven by Harry Lynn; Ernie Wilson's Miss Canada, with her Rolls-Royce engine and Greavette hull, driven by Harold Wilson; the Dusenberg-Arena outfit, Miss Frostie, owned by Robert Frost and steered by Warren Avis; Bill Cantrell at the wheel of the My Sweetie of Ed Gregory and Ed Schoenherr -- a Hacker hull with Allison engine; Henry Kaiser's Fleur du Lac, another Allison job driven by Max Collins; G-99 [Note: Mel Crook refused to refer to this boat under its name Miss Pepsi --LF], the new Clell Perry-designed-built-and-driven, Allison-powered craft owned by the Dossin brothers; Tomadge IV, Tom Keane's Fageol-engined Ventnor, with her owner at the wheel; Horace Dodge's old Sister Syn, a Dodge hull repowered by Allison and driven by Dodge; and Betty V, owned and driven by the author -- Lou Eppel was the mechanic.
The actual start was strung out and ragged with Cantrell pushing the leaping My Sweetie into an early lead, closely followed by Such Crust, G-99 and Lahala. Running close to a 70-mile average, they continued this way until the third circuit, when Cantrell was forced to cut Sweetie's speed before the leaping beat her to pieces. Arena, in Such Crust, then took over the lead and hit a lead-footed pace for the balance of the heat. Such Crust's lap speeds went up and up, finally reaching 73.831 on the final round.
Lahala accounted for second place, which she had inherited when G-99 dropped out a half-mile from the finish, a couple of teeth missing from one of the gears in her vee-drive. Cantrell nursed My Sweetie home in third spot. Harold Wilson, in Miss Canada, had connected with a piece of drift somewhere along the way and could do no better than fourth with his badly bent wheel and a hole through the false bottom aft. Betty V, Sister Syn and Tomadge completed the finishing list in that order.
Miss Frostie suffered a broken propeller shaft which ripped a large hole in her bottom, causing her to sink near the north turn midway through the heat. Kaiser's Fleur du Lac ran reasonably fast albeit somewhat wildly until a barrage of heavy carburetor explosions erupted her deck and caused her to drop out.
The second heat, scheduled for Sunday the 26th, brought out the seven finishers of the first contest, reenforced by Stanley Dollar's all-aluminum, Allison-engined Skip-A-Long and a recarbureted Fleur du Lac. Unfortunately Skip-A-Long broke her strut before the start. Cantrell took a practice lap with Sweetie and returned to the pits, dissatisfied with her behavior. This time it was Such Crust that roared into an early lead, with Lahala coming very fast and outside. Just as they reached the first buoy of the north turn, Lynn wheeled Lahala sharply to port and into the turn, forcing Arena to back off and stall. From there on it was a close race, but Lynn never relinquished his lead. He flashed over the line in front for a heat speed of 73.971, 3½ miles better than Arena's pace in winning the first heat, and good enough to set a new record for the course. Miss Canada picked up third place, followed by Betty V and Tomadge. Sister Syn, this time driven by Jack O'Mara, failed to finish, as did the Kaiser entry.
It was clear that the final heat would be dog-eat-dog, with Lahala and Such Crust tied on points, Lahala in the lead for the fastest heat bonus and Arena smarting from the hosing Lynn had handed him on that first turn. All five finishers of the first heat appeared for the finale, and this time Such Crust and Lahala started to pull away from the rest of the fleet even before reaching the starting line. Once more Lynn came up to the first turn on the outside and once more he sawed off Arena to take the lead at the first buoy. For four laps, the stocky Lynn chauffeured Lahala like a man possessed, breaking lap records right and left and holding Arena at bay. Then Lahala's carburetor, that had been emitting a series of backfires, let down its hair altogether. On the north turn of the fifth circuit, Such Crust overtook the Lynn boat and moved into the lead. From there to the finish, Arena poured on the coal to assure himself of the bonsues for fastest heat and fastest race. He won by a couple of miles of open water from the ailing Lahala, while Canada, Betty and Tomadge were flagged in their usual positions.
On the final reckoning, Such Crust was credited with a new total race record of 73.54 mph, a new heat mark of 77.856 and an 81.6 mph record lap.
(reprinted from Yachting Magazine)
|1||U-1||Such Crust (1)|
|3||G-8||Miss Canada III|
|6||G-3||My Sweetie (1)|
|DNF||G-99||Miss Pepsi (1)|
|DNF||G-19||Fleur du Lac|
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010.
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 1999