1959 APBA Gold Cup
Lake Washington, Seattle, WA, August 9, 1959
Gold Cup Race Rules 
A Summary for the Spectator)
The Gold Cup race is governed by rules which have been developed through annual revisions by the Gold Cup Contest Board. The membership of this Board consists of owners of boats that attempted to qualify for the Gold Cup races of the preceding two years, drivers who qualified for the preceding two races, the chairman of the local race committee that conducted the preceding race. the chairman of the Unlimited Racing Commission and the Chairman of the Gold Cup Technical Committee. In full text, the Gold Cup rules occupy 14 pages of fine print. Their salient features follow:
A Gold Cup Boat
The hull of a Gold Cup boat must be at least 25 feet and not more than 40 feet in over-all length. Propulsion must be by water propeller. Steering is limited to that provided by submerged rudder; devices employing aerodynamic principles must be part of the hull structure and may not be adjustable while under way.
The power plant may consist of any inboard-mounted engine or engines. If a turbine is used, its exhaust pipes must be directed at least 45 degrees upward from the horizontal to cancel any advantage that might accrue from the thrust of the exhaust. There may be no complete engine change between heats in any one-day event.
The most recent winner's club normally has the right to choose the date and site of the next Gold Cup race. Anyone in the world having a boat meeting the above requirements may enter it in the Gold Cup by having his own yacht club challenge the club which is staging the defense of the Cup. if the challenger resides in the United States he must belong to and challenge through a club which is a member of the American Power Boat Assn. A foreigner may challenge, but if the challenge is made through a club not belonging to APBA, that Assn. reserves the right to retain the Cup in the U. S., and designate the site of the next race. The deadline for challenges is 10 days prior to the date of the race.
The defending club must provide an oval course that measures three miles to the lap. has two turns, each with a 600-foot radius. There must be a minimum of 20 buoys: five on each turn and five on each straightaway. Each heat is scheduled for 10 laps—a total of 30 miles.
An otherwise eligible boat, to qualify for the Gold Cup race, must (1) have completed at least one heat in an APBA-sanctioned race during the 15 months prior to the Gold Cup,
(2) pass a safety inspection and (3) run three consecutive laps of the Gold Cup course at a speed of at least 95 m.p.h.
Trials for establishing the speed qualification must be held by the defending club during a minimum of a five-hour period on each of four days before the race. If a boat attempting its speed qualification is, for any reason, unable to complete three consecutive, continuously-run laps at 95 m.p.h. or better, it may be allowed additional attempts as long as the qualifying period permits. Once a boat has attained the required speed it may not attempt to better its qualifying pace.
At each Gold Cup race there is a Drivers' Qualification Committee consisting of the Referee and at least four qualified individuals appointed by the local race committee with the approval of the Referee.
To qualify, a driver must (1) possess current evidence of having passed the physical examination required for student pilots by the Civil Aeronautics Administration. (2) pass an oral examination by the Referee on the Gold Cup rules and APBA general racing rules and
(3) either (a) have been qualified for the preceding Gold Cup race. or (b) (1) have, during the 15 months prior to the race, completed at least six heats of sanctioned inboard racing, of which at least one heat must have been in the unlimited class and (2) qualify himself by driving three consecutive laps of the Gold Cup course at an average speed between 85 and 95 m.p.h. to the satisfaction of a majority of the Drivers' Qualification Committee. (A driver may elect, with permission of the DQC. to qualify himself and his boat simultaneously at an average speed of at least 95 for the three consecutive laps.)
Drivers must have a pre-race physical check-up on race day morning.
Heat One is split into sections according to the number of boats which qualify: one to seven qualifiers would all race together in one section; eight to 14 produce a two-section first heat; 15 to 21 result in three sections. Qualifiers are assigned to sections by lot, with the number competing in each section as nearly equal as possible. If more than 21 boats qualify, only the fastest 21 qualifiers are eligible for Heat One.
The time from the start of one section to the start of the next section of that heat must be at least 40 minutes; from the start of the last section of one heat to the first section of the next, the interval must he at least one and one-quarter hours.
Applicable To All Heats
The drivers in any section may, by a two-thirds vote, postpone the start for reasons of weather or course conditions only. The race committee has the power to postpone any section for a maximum of 30 minutes; additional postponements by the race committee must be approved by two-thirds of the drivers. There may be no postponement on account of mechanical difficulties of any contestant.
Five minutes prior to the start a gun is fired and a yellow flag and yellow light displayed from the committee stand. At four, three, two and one-minute intervals before the start a designated square board is dropped. One minute before the start the gun is fired again and a white flag and yellow light are displayed. The final minute is ticked off by a pancake type black-out clock with a face at least 10 feet in diameter. At the start, the gun is again fired and both flag and light are changed to green. At the instant of "clock zero" a synchronized camera photographs the starting line to detect premature starts.
Any boat starting before clock zero must run an extra lap in order to be scored. No boat may start more than five minutes after the official start.
If a boat capsizes, or a driver is thrown into the water, that section is immediately stopped. If, at the time a section is stopped, the lead boat has completed more than 50 per cent of that section, the section is declared completed and positions are awarded to each boat running at the time of the stoppage according to her average lap time for the laps she has completed. If the lead boat has completed less than 50 per cent of the section at the time of a stoppage, the section must be re-run. The boat or boats whose action was responsible for the stoppage receive no points for that section or any re-run thereof.
Boats are awarded position points in each section as follows: first—400 points; second—300; third—225; fourth—169; fifth—127: sixth—95: seventh—71. No boat may receive points unless she finishes within 30 minutes of the official start.
After the completion of all sections of Heat One, the 14 boats with the highest number of points—excepting those withdrawn or irreparably damaged—are eligible to participate in Heat Two. If there are more than seven eligible bats, Heat Two is run in two sections.
If fewer than 14 boats gain points in Heat One, the resulting vacancy in Heat Two may be filled by any boat which qualified regardless of whether she ran in Heat One. Priority to fill such vacancies is allotted, first—to those boats which completed the most laps in Heat One; secondly—to those boats with the highest qualifying speeds.
After the completion of all sections of Heat Two—and not before then—the race may be declared a contest should completion of the program become impracticable.
The seven boats which amass the highest number of points in Heat One and Heat Two are eligible to compete in Heat Three. In the event of a tie on points, the field of seven for Heat Three is determined according to the average lap times of the boats in the preceding heats for the boats involved in the tie.
If any of the seven boats thus found to be eligible for Heat Three is withdrawn or irreparably damaged prior to the start of Heat Three, the vacancy or vacancies are filled by moving into them the boats whose performances in the previous' heats rank them eighth, ninth, etc.
Determining The Winner
In addition to the points won for positions in the various sections, each boat which completes the contest is awarded a speed bonus. The boat with the highest average speed for the contest receives a bonus of 400 points, the one with the next highest, 300. etc.
That boat with the highest total number of position and bonus points becomes the winner.
—W. E. Boeing, Jr.
Reprinted courtesy of Yachting Magazine.
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