1949 Harwood Trophy
Hudson, East and Harlem Rivers, New York City, September 11, 1949
Sarant Set Record to Beat Lombardo in
Speed Boat Race Around Manhattan
28-mile Test Won at 64.4 mph Rate
Sarant, Freeport, Pilots the Etta around Island in 27 Minutes 14 Seconds
Tempo VI Home Second
Lombardo Averages 61 mph, With Van Blerck Third at 59.5 -- 20 of 33 Finish
By Clarence E. Lovejoy
Three fellow-townsmen of Freeport L.I. dominated the Harwood Trophy race around Manhattan Island yesterday afternoon but it wasn't the speedboat veteran, Guy Lombardo, who led the pack home. His Tempo VI had to be satisfied with second place. Nor was it another experienced ace, Joe Van Blerck Jr. He showed third in his Aljo.
Way out in front for a brand-new record for this 28-mile circuit around the Hudson, East and Harlem rivers, was a Freeport beginner, George Sarant, a rank outsider, who in a sensational performance steered his Gold Cup creation, Etta, in an elapsed time of only 27 minutes 14 seconds for a dizzy new speed mark of 64.4 miles an hour, erasing what a year ago seemed an almost impossible feat when Wile Bill Cantrell, who did not defend this year, hung up a speed of nearly 51 mph.
Lombardo was more than three miles an hour slower at 61 mph and Van Blerck had a speed of 59.5 mph in a race seen by countless thousands of spectators from waterside parks and from apartment-house windows. Twenty of the thirty-three starters were able to finish in water that was so-so down the lower Hudson, smooth up the East River over a course west of Welfare Island, flat as glass through the Harlem, but downright choppy and mean in the tide rips from Spuyten Duyvil to down below the George Washington Bridge.
Auto Dealer at Freeport
Sarant, 37-year-old Ford dealer of Freeport, has been seeing his Long Island town froth up wilder and wilder with boat-racing excitement year after year. Last winter he counted himself in the sport. He had owned a small cruiser on Great South Bay and figured he knew the rudiments of watermanship. so he bought an unfinished displacement hull from Henry Slocum and completed its construction. The he bought one of the popular 1710 type of Allison aircraft motors of about 1,300 horsepower. By summer he was was ready for a few timid starts and his name appeared among the also-rans at the Lake Hopatcong regatta, at Cambridge, Md, and in the Red Bank sweepstakes.
Yesterday Sarant's big moment arrived. He shot out in the roostertail spray of the gyrating pack of starters off Seventy-Second street and and found himself in the lead as they tore down round the Battery and steered up the East River. Just north of Welfare Island Lombardo's Tempo VI edged ahead and the glassy surface of the Harlem gave the bandleader's lighter boat an advantage.
Sarant was 25 yards astern as they came up to the frightening sight of a closed railroad bridge at Spuyton Duyvil, where the Harlem opens out into the Hudson. The couldn't whistle for the draw tender to open the span so they took a chance, skimming underneath with scarcely two inches between the top of their helmets and the under-girders of the bridge. But a miss is as good as a mile and they were safe.
Headed down the Hudson once again Lombardo lost his smooth-water advantage in his three-point suspension boat. The choppy waves as the flooding tide bucked a downstream wind caused the musician to east off on his throttle whereas Sarant's heavier displacement hull with a single step could take the heavy going.
Takes Lead at Bridge
At George Washington Bridge Sarant went into the lead once more, never to be overtaken again. He finished with a good many bruises and with his cockpit carrying six inches of river water from two split planks from the heavy pounding.
Sarant's riding companion in the mechanic's seat was a 17-year-old student at the Freeport High School, Mario Scopinich. Etta's victory brought the winner a $1,000 savings bond in addition to the Harwood silver bowl.
Class winners who received $100 prizes included R.W. Keller of Detroit in My First, E.M. Fairbainds of Massapequa, L.I. in Flying Saucer, Fred Brooks of Hamilton, Ont., in Frenella V, Richard Lovett of Longport, N.J. in Jennie Lee II and Harold Disbrow of West Long Branch, N.J. in Chanticleer.
A dozen craft sought safety along pierheads en route or took tows. Frank Morra's Annie of Ridgewood, N.Y. sank at Twenty-third Street, and Leston Cloak, the only veteran of the first round-Manhattan race held in 1912, had to give up this year when his little Pancho sprung a leak.
|2||Tempo VI||Guy Lombardo||61.0|
|3||Aljo||Joe van Blerck, Jr.||59.5|
|4||Chaz II||Charles Klein||45.8|
|5||Jennie Lee||J. Elwood Lee||45.3|
|8||Flying Saucer||Ed M. Fairbanks||39.9|
|9||Say Yes||Richard Griffin||39.9|
|10||My First||Richard W. Keller||38.7|
|12||Sandra III||Kyle C. Smith||37.2|
|14||Frenella V||Fred Brooks, Jr.||34.8|
|17||If||Marshall Van Winkle III||31.6|
|18||Roger B. III||E. Murray Billings||30.3|
|19||Edda||Phillip J. Bowers||28.1|
|20||Crabsmasher||Arno A. Apel||26.6|
(Reprinted from the New York Times September 12, 1949)
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