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  1. #1
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    (really) old fast boats?

    I just read an article about auto races in 1904, and it said some of the cars reached speeds of 80mph (pretty impressive!). So it got me curious - what (if anything) was going on as far as boat racing back then?


    Maureen

  2. #2
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    1904 is before the time of outboards, but inboards were racing at speeds around 35 mph

  3. #3
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    All things considered, 35 mph isn't too shabby either. Now I'm even more curious..going to have to do a little research and find out more.
    Thanks for the info!

    Maureen

  4. #4
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    Boats and ships

    If I recall. the British Navy had turbine attack boats that hit over 50 knots near the turn of teh 19th/2Oth century. Also, Alexander Graham bell was experimenting with fast hydrofoils around 1905 or so. I have some pictures som where with the dates and speeds.

  5. #5
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    25 mph won the 1904 Gold Cup...

    ...which was the first year of the present day unlimited hydro series. The earliest boats of this type were full displacement hulls, very long and narrow. Power was a limiting factor, simply because high horsepower engines were scarce. In my area, Buffalo, NY, there was an enine company known as "Sterling Engine", who built many of the early Gold Cup race engines. After World War I, things got more exciting with the availability of the Liberty Engine, used widely in aircraft and patrol boats during the war. These became available at low cost, and speeds rapidly escalated. The Thousand Island Shipyard Museum has a good collection of early Gold Cup boats and some truly neat early photos. Information on-line can also be found at www.gold-cup.com.
    Here in the Buffalo area we have a yearly antique boat show, and many of the old inboard race boats show up. On the second day of this year's show I was drift fishing in the Niagara River and turned to look upstream when I heard a group of roaring engines. About 20 old inboard race boats and runabouts were coming down river in a pack and soon passed around my drifting boat. At least 2 of these were the ancient displacement type hulls, the rest dated roughly from the 1920s to the 1950s. Because this was more of a cruise than a race, the speed of the pack was limited by the old displacement hull boats, doing about 30 mph. Quite a sight for me, since one of the boats looked like a 1950s vintage E of F Class inboard service runabout, one of the hottest rigs you could own when I was a child back in that period.

  6. #6
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    One of the best books covering boat racing's early days is Kevin Desmond's "Powerboat: Speed"

  7. #7
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    Maureen M

    I actually own a 1904 boat. It is not fast though. Pictures and article here .

    Jim

  8. #8
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    Re: Maureen M

    Originally posted by captcarb
    I actually own a 1904 boat. It is not fast though. Pictures and article here .

    Jim


    wow! saved by a jeep and bulldozer. It's incredible the way things can work out just right sometimes (well, maybe not for the jeep).
    that's a very interesting page - great info and photos. Where in FL are Mt. Dora and Cypress Gardens? I have to make some trips down there, and if I can, I"d love to go to the boat show and see it in person.

    Maureen

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Mark75H
    One of the best books covering boat racing's early days is Kevin Desmond's "Powerboat: Speed"
    Thanks for the info...I haven't been able to track down that particular title, but I ordered a copy of his "A Century of Outboard Racing".
    I"ll keep an eye out for the one you recommended.

    Thanks!

    Maureen

  10. #10
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    staylor -

    I'm assuming I missed this year's Buffalo show since it's October and we're don't live in one of those warm-all-year-round states like some lucky people
    If you have any info on next year's show, could you let us know? Sounds like it's worth the trip!

    Maureen

  11. #11
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    This year's show was Sept.11-12...

    ..and featured a race boat reunion. The show has been held yearly at the Buffalo Launch Club, Grand Island, NY for the past 27 years. The site to visit for show info, plus some nice pics and links is www.nfacb.org . Make sure you click on the 2004 show link for some nice posters. Visitors can stay nearby on Grand Island at a Holiday Inn Resort Hotel. Free boat launch just across the river at Isle View in Tonawanda, NY. They probably won't post a 2005 date for a while, our season is so short that all of us are on the water every chance we get till the snow comes. Ice out often does not come till May.

  12. #12
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    Maureen M

    The boat has not been to a boat show in several years. I am in Eustis and the boat can be viewed anytime. Eustis is 35 nw of Orlando.

    I still have the Jeep. We have two set of costumes to go with the boat. Both are turn of the century. Here is a shot of it at one of the Mt. Dora shows in the bathing suits.

    Jim
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  13. #13
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    Reading and looking for something else I came across another very good history of boat racing speed from the beginning..... Jim Russell's "Secrets of Tunnel Boat Design" (plug, plug, plug). Jim's telling of the story is very accurate and he's a Screamandfly member in good standing!

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Mark75H
    Reading and looking for something else I came across another very good history of boat racing speed from the beginning..... Jim Russell's "Secrets of Tunnel Boat Design" (plug, plug, plug). Jim's telling of the story is very accurate and he's a Screamandfly member in good standing!
    I didn't realize the book had history in it too - I just thought from the title that it was a technical book. And (plug plug plug) is right - that program is incredible. Absolutely every variable can be configured, tweaked, optimized - and it's easy to use. A totally comprehensive tool, and a great way to learn for newcomers.


    Maureen

  15. #15
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    Another old book on racing outboards..

    ..is called "The Outboard Racers Manual", which was written in 1950, in the days of the dominance of Johnson, Evinrude, and Elto in the APBA outboard classes. I have a copy purchased years ago from a fellow in Minneapolis who was reprinting it. This book takes you thru step by step building of an engine for competition, using period theory and tools. Has very interesting items on setting up and modifying the old rotary intake valves on the early OMCs. Also, lots of good stuff on early hydro hull designs. Original author was "W.R. Carpenter", reprint by Terry Kilcoyne, American Outboard Motors Antique Parts, 612-827-3113, but I have no idea if he's still around.

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