1951 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 4, 1951

Slo-Mo-Shun V Wins Gold Cup At Seattle
Performance of Sayres' New Craft Features First Race West of Rockies
By W. Melvin Crook

bullet The 1951 Gold Cup Remembered
bullet Sayres Readies Boat for Defense of Gold Cup in Seattle Race
bullet Nation's Top Racers to Invade Seattle
bullet New Slo-Mo-Shun May Be Ready For August Races
bullet Can They Beat "Slo-Mo-Shun IV"?
bullet Are the Big-name Racing Boats Challenging with Revised Hulls?
bullet Just Two Boats Qualify
bullet Set Speed-boat Record
bullet 100 mph Record for Dossins' Craft
bullet Miss Pepsi Chief Threat in Gold Cup
bullet "Slo-Mo V" Roars to Gold Cup's Fastest Win
bullet Slo-Mo-Shun V Wins Gold Cup At Seattle
bullet Pilot and Mechanic Killed As Gold Cup Race Boat Sinks
bullet Cup Racer Called a "Runaway" Boat
bullet Gold Cup Rules Changed
bullet Safety Committee Named
bullet Death at Seattle
bullet Quicksilver (from This is Hydroplaning)
bullet Statistics

For the greater part of the afternoon of August 4, Seattle's Lake Washington provided a gala setting for superb power boat competition. This, the 44th in the traditional series of Gold Cup regattas, was the first ever held in the West; the 10 fastest boats of all time had qualified for the race; weather and water conditions were near-perfect; every big-boat speed record was on its way to extinction as Lou Fageol kept defender Stanley Sayres' new Slo-Mo-Shun V out front from the start. And then, early in the third heat, tragedy struck. Orth Mathiot's Quicksilver, traveling in terrifying leaps at well over 100 m.p.h., suddenly tripped and rolled over and over in a towering sheet of white water. Before the spray had subsided, the Quicksilver vanished beneath the surface. Mathiot and mechanic Tom Whittaker were dead.

The race was immediately declared at an end, with the two completed heats to constitute a contest. The never-headed Slo-Mo-Shun V thus became the 44th winner of the world's most famous power boat racing trophy.

Slo-Mo V, launched barely a week before, was the first boat to pass the qualification test of three laps around the course at 65 or more m.p.h. On July 30, the opening day of trials, designer Ted Jones piloted her the nine miles at an average speed of 91.370. On the following day Dan Arena came out to qualify his latest creation, J. A. Schoenith's Gale II. Going into the second turn of the first lap, Gale sheered sharply to starboard and slowed to a halt. The boat immediately started to sink and was saved from loss only by alert Coast Guard work. Later picked up by a Navy crane, Schoenith's craft was found to have had its rudder bracket torn loose by what Arena believes was floating debris. Herculean efforts by the crew and outside help put Gale back into shape so that she was able to attempt qualification on the morning of the race. Taking advantage of this time extension granted by the Gold Cup Committee, Lee Schoenith—son of the owner—"made" the race with an average speed of 84.705 m.p.h.

On July 31, last year's Gold Cup winner and world record holder, Stan Sayres' Slo-Mo-Shun IV, was put through her three laps by driver Lou Fageol. Holding a steady speed, Fageol negotiated the 9 miles at 90.406.

Morlan Visel's familiar Hurricane IV, greatly changed in appearance and phenomenally improved as to behavior since her last Gold Cup attempt, made her runs on August 2. With her owner at the wheel, this lone California challenger made the grade at 90.067 m.p.h.

Later that day, Orth Mathiot brought his Quicksilver out to the course. Officials watching this new Rolls-powered conventional hydro noted that Mathiot and his mechanic were without either life jackets or helmets. After the crew had borrowed and donned the required safety equipment, Quicksilver qualified at 68.038 miles an hour.

Following the Mathiot entry came Jack Schafer's Such Crust, driven by Dan Foster. Bearing down from the start and driving the turns as though pursued by a detachment of demons, Foster turned the first three-mile lap at 97.035 and completed the three at an average of 93.344 m.p.h. This was the first qualification to better the speed made on a 2½ mile course at Detroit in 1949 when Bill Cantrell qualified the Gregory-Schoenherr entry at 92.402.

On August 3, the day prior to the race, Chuck Thompson checked in with Roy and Walter Dossin's Miss Pepsi. Winding the big twin-Allison job around the first circuit at 96.592, Chuck gave her more and more to round the second and third laps at 101.123 and 104.247, for a nine-mile average of 100.558. This remains as the Gold Cup qualification record.

Jack Schafer's Gold'n Crust, driven by Roy Duby, tried to make her "65-or-better" early in the trials but was forced to postpone her efforts until a replacement Rolls-Royce engine could be installed. Late in the afternoon before the race, Duby pushed her around the nine miles at the rate of 74.654, only to damage her rudder seriously in the attempt.

On that Friday afternoon Bill Cantrell made his runs with Hornet, the new three-pointer he created for Horace Dodge. When the minutes and seconds had been converted into speed, it was found that Hornet had averaged 82.129 m.p.h. Dodge drove his other entry, the 1949 champion My Sweetie, over the nine miles at 71.967.

Dan Murphy's Dee Jay V with Norm Lauterbach at the wheel tried the qualification route several times on the day prior to the race, but failed on each occasion due to faulty carburetion. During Friday night, Dee Jay's owner procured a new Allison which the crew installed during the hours of darkness. When the Murphy entry was put on the course on race day, her gear box gave up the ghost and made the lone entry from the Atlantic seaboard the only one which failed to qualify.

Thus, as the time for the first heat approached, the fleet consisted of 10 boats, five of which had qualified at better than 90 miles an hour—one of which had topped the century mark.

During the last few hours preceding the start, a fantastically large number of cruisers, runabouts and outboards moved into the area and assumed their assigned positions, moored to a log boom which extended the length of the backstretch, some quarter of a mile off the course. Meanwhile a large parade, part of Seattle's annual Seafair celebration, terminated at the judges' stand, where an assemblage of beauty queens and uniformed guards boarded a large boat which then proceeded to the center of the course.

Scarcely had the ceremonial rites been concluded when Dan Arena—chosen as drivers' representative for the race—called the judges' stand to relay a request for a half hour postponement. The Gold Cuppers felt that this interval would permit a subsidence of the swells caused by the arrival of the hundreds of spectator craft. While radio and television announcers toiled to fill the gap, an estimated 250,000 spectators on shore—some of whom had spent the previous night on the spot in pup tents—whistled and hooted in carnival spirit.

As the 30 minute postponement ran out, the sun broke through to start a clear afternoon. The water was ruffled but slightly by a ghost of a breeze. The fleet left the pits rather late and milled around between the floating bridge and the starting line—all except the two Slo-Mos which made a leisurely lap of the course. Without attracting much attention, the two Sayres boats then disappeared under the bridge, whirled around and laid a straight, highspeed course for the starting line. As they flew through the bridge span, they were joined by the rest of the pack. Coming down to the line in the closest start of recent Gold Cup history, it was Slo-Mo V over first, about 1½ seconds after "60" on the clock, closely followed by Hornet, Pepsi and Gale.

Fageol kept the "V" in the lead, but coming out of the first turn, it was clear that Thompson was bent on hot pursuit with the Pepsi. The big Hacker-designed craft had moved into second spot. The huge crowd held its breath as they flew down the backstretch, but its partisan spirits were boosted by the sight of the home-town boat holding or improving her lead over the Dossin challenger. Yet the big test was still to come. How would they compare on the turns?

Around the upper buoys they sped, Pepsi somewhat more smoothly than the Seattle boat, but appearing unable to gain an inch.

Finishing the first three-mile lap, it was Slo-Mo V on top at a lap speed a shade under 95 m.p.h. Close on her heels came Pepsi, followed by Hornet, Gale, Slo-Mo IV, Hurricane, Such Crust, Sweetie and Quicksilver. Gold'n Crust, the other Schafer entry, had not put in an appearance.

Positions remained unchanged during the second circuit —but the crowd paid little heed to any but the two flying leaders—Slo-Mo V and the closely-trailing Pepsi. At the end of this lap, there occurred one of those rare things in boat racing as Slo-Mo-Shun IV, Hurricane and Such Crust crossed the line in an apparent dead heat involving fifth, sixth and seventh places.

The nature of the race remained unchanged during the first four rounds. Fageol pushed Sayres' new boat faster and faster.

During these laps, Pepsi closely dogged the heels of Slo-Mo V. So fast were they going that a gnat-like swarm of airplanes hovering above failed by tens of miles an hour to keep up the pace.

Fortunately for the blood pressure of the spectators, the one-two duel between Pepsi and the "V" came to an early halt. On the first turn of the fifth circuit, the Dossin boat went dead in the water and the real race was over.

Fageol, who had lapped Quicksilver and Sweetie the third time around, wheeled to a three-mile lead over Hurricane on his fifth circuit. At this stage of the race, Dan Foster was compelled to quit the contest as Such Crust died under him.

One by one, every boat on the course was lapped by the new Sayres craft, Hornet becoming the final victim a mile from the end of the heat. Fageol steered the Jones-designed, Jensen-built flyer across the line at an average speed of 91.766 for the 30 miles. This bettered by almost 11 miles an hour the mark set in 1950 by the older Slo-Mo-Shun. Second place went to Bill Cantrell in Dodge's Hornet, followed by Slo-Mo IV, Gale, Hurricane, Quicksilver and My Sweetie.

Prior to the start of the second heat, it was announced that both Schafer craft were out for good. Dan Foster was going to take over the wheel of Hornet, in place of Cantrell, and Stan Dollar was replacing Morlan Visel in the cockpit of Hurricane. Quicksilver left the pits, but was unable to get into the heat, due—it was reported—to rudder trouble. Lee Schoenith had trouble starting Gale's Allison and missed the start. Dan Arena then boarded the boat along with Schoenith, got it started, and dove overboard.

The rest of the fleet started in good order, led by the first heat winner, Slo-Mo-Shun V. Pepsi, again back in the running, lasted only to the first turn, where she was immobilized by a recurrence of her oil-losing trouble. They completed the first lap in this order: Slo-Mo V, Slo-Mo IV, Hornet, Hurricane and Sweetie. The leader averaged 92.78 for that first three miles.

Gale, after responding to Arena's ministrations, joined the contest a lap and a half behind the first boat. Foster pushed the Hornet to catch the older Sayres craft on the second lap, and after a tight duel, went into the second place spot on the third circuit. Since the pace of the lead boat at this point was down to 88 m.p.h., it appeared that Slo-Mo IV was either off form, or was being driven as the "safety" boat of the Seattle team.

After Hornet had taken over second place, positions were held for the balance of the heat. Coming out of the second turn on her ninth lap, the new Cantrell job almost swapped ends, causing Lee Schoenith to do a bit of fancy steering to avoid a collision. Fageol brought the "V" home first in this heat at a whisker under the 90-mile mark. At the finish he had lapped Sweetie and Hurricane and held a two-lap lead over the late-starting Gale.

A recap of point scores at this two-thirds mark showed Slo-Mo V-800; Hornet-600; Slo-Mo IV-450; Hurricane-296; Gale-264; Sweetie-198 and Quicksilver-95. The contest, and the outcome of the Detroit-Seattle duel was still very much in doubt.

The long program, delayed by the early 30 minutes postponement, had carried along until late in the day before the third heat was scheduled. Just prior to that time, a further hold-up was requested to get Gale in trim for the final 30 miles. This time the drivers voted to go on time. Pepsi was unable to make the grade leaving both Sayres boats, the two Dodge challengers, Hurricane and Quicksilver.

Visel joined Fageol and Jones in the fast, straight, through-the-bridge start. As they roared down the course toward the starting line, Hornet came skidding in at high speed off the upper turn, forcing Slo-Mo V to veer to starboard, and blocking Visel in this center position. This put Hornet into position to follow the "V" closely over the starting line, with the "IV", Hurricane, Quicksilver and Sweetie trailing in that order.

At the start of the first backstretch, Hornet slowed, then picked up, and finally dropped out of the race. Fageol maintained the lead he had never relinquished from the opening gun. As he was finishing his second lap, Gale made a belated departure from the pits and startled the crowd by drifting almost into the path of Slo-Mo V before straightening out on her course.

Coming off the last turn of her second lap, Hurricane pulled in toward the pits and was narrowly missed by Quicksilver which suddenly had picked up and was running at very high speed. As the Portland boat came past the judges' stand, she was galloping wildly, flinging her crew about, and the steady roar of her Rolls seemed to indicate that her big two-stage supercharger was running in high ratio. The crowd rose to its feet and binoculars swung rapidly to focus on the Mathiot craft.

Wilder and wilder became her jumps as her speed reached an estimated 120 miles an hour. Then—some half mile into her third lap, Quicksilver made her final leap. As her bow came down she tripped and barrel-rolled amid an enormous geyser of water. From the committee stand the "Caution—hold position" signal was whipped. The crowd hushed as nothing could be seen but small pieces of wood. Word went to the starter to flag all race boats from the course to permit a maximum concentration of Coast Guard rescue craft at the accident scene.

Unable to spot the frantic flag-waving of starter Fred Hallett, the boats on the course continued for lap after lap. Finally repeated shots from the cannon caught their attention and the 44th Gold Cup contest settled into shocked silence.

The first and second heats were ruled to have constituted the contest and the trophy was awarded to Slo-Mo-Shun V.

This year's race was sponsored jointly by the defending Seattle Yacht Club and Greater Seattle, Inc. It was held in conjunction with the Seattle Seafair celebration with Jerry Bryant serving as chairman of both the regatta and the Seafair.

A most effective patrol was provided by seven Coast Guard craft and 19 C.G. Auxiliary boats. Rear Admiral R. T. McElligott commanding the 13th Coast Guard District was responsible for the protection and patrol operation which fell under the direct supervision of Capt. Allen Wind-beck. Controlling the mission by radio from the judges' stand was Lt. Corn. F. H. Salmela.

* * *

Although Slo-Mo-Shun V, driven by her designer Ted Jones, captured the Seafair Trophy, it was Slo-Mo-Shun IV which established a new 10-mile unlimited record during the running of the Lake Washington event on August 12. With Lou Fageol at the wheel, "IV" averaged 111.742 m.p.h. for the two laps of the second heat.








Qualifying Speed

(Heat 1)

(Heat 2)

Total Point Score





Slo-Mo-Shun V

Seattle Y.C.

Stanley S. Sayres

Lou Fageol

Jones-Jensen 28'6" x 12'









Detroit Y.C.

Horace Dodge

Bill Cantrell

Cantrell 30'x 12'4"








Slo-Mo-Shun W

Seattle Y.C.

Stanley S. Sayres

Ted Jones

Jones-Jensen 28'6"X11'4"






( 3rd)


Hurricane IV

Lido Isle Y.C.

Morlan Visel

Morlan Visel

Visel-Moore 29'X 10'9"








Gale II

Detroit Y.C.

J. A. Schoenith

J. L. Schoenith

Arena 30'x11'9"








My Sweetie

Detroit Y.C.

Horace Dodge

Dodge-Walter Kade

Hacker 30' x 10'









Portland Y.C.

Orth Mathiot

Orth Mathiot

Mathiot 31'x7'6"

Rolls Royce






Miss Pepsi

Detroit Y.C.

Walter & Roy Dossin

Chuck Thompson

Hacker 36' x9'3"





Such Crust

Detroit Y.C.

Jack Schafer

Dan Foster

Ventnor 30' X 12'

Rolls Royce




Gold'n Crust

Detroit Y.C.

Jack Schafer

Roy Duby

Arena 30' x 12'a

Rolls Royce




Dee Jay V

Ocean City Y.C.

Dan J. Murphy, Jr.

Norman Lauterbach

Ventnor 27'x11'6"



(Reprinted from Yachting, September 1951)

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