F. IXCEPT for one or two of the larger races, such as the Star or Fedden trophy events, it must be
admitted that the average outboard race is poorly supported compared with similar club meetings of two years ago. It seems strange, therefore, that so many who were originally attracted by outboard motor boat racing should so soon tire of the sport. It is to be hoped that the depression, like that of trade at the present time, is merely temporary. If, however, a revival is to be expected, those who are keen on the sport must certainly work hard to remove the causes of the rot which set in. Undoubtedly one of the major causes was public prejudice, possibly engendered by the noise the average outboard seems to raise, and the unwelcome publicity of the Channel Race in 1929. Overcoming this prejudice is rather a formidable task, and it is therefore exceedingly gratifying to learn that the Prince of Wales has taken to outboarding. Although it is not at all certain that he will have time to race, his patrOnage should have an immediate and marked influence on the position of outboard racing in this country. The Prince’s interest was aroused at a charity fete held at Lord Ednam’s seat, Hinsley Hall in Worcestershire, when outboard craft were giving demonstrations on the lake. The Prince was so intrigued by the outboard, that two days afterwards Sharland Motors received an order for a boat and engine, which order was later duplicated. This gesture by H.R.H. in selecting without hesitation an all-British motor is significant to outboardists in particular.
The hulls selected by the Prince are two slipper type single-step hydroplanes, similar to Dab III., Captain Palethorpe’s boat, which was designed by himself. As Captain Palethorpe is a director of Sharland’s, he put his own racing outfit at the disposal of the Prince while delivery was being awaited. Thus, during last month, the calm of Virginia Water in :Windsor Great Park has been somewhat disturbed, and the Prince in his boat, which he handles already exceedingly skilfully, demonstrates what an admirable site Virginia Water would be for an outboard meeting. It is understood that H.R.H. has been approached concerning the presentation of a trophy, which will be raced for on this water in aid of some charity. Considering that the word ” dinghy ” has been constantly reiterated this year, it may be a surprise to many that hydroplanes are the Prince’s choice ; but then for purely private use on inland waters, the hydroplane,
although commanding a greater degree of skill in piloting, is infinitely more fun. When the hydroplane was popular, two years ago, I suppose there were but few drivers who did not at some time during their career turn the outfit over, quite often the cause being outside the pilot’s control, such as striking a piece of driftwood or seizure of the engine. The large number of these inversions and the almost complete absence of serious effect is evidence enough to all and sundry that over turning is not as dangerous as it looks. It is not hard to imagine, however, what would be the result in the lay press should His Royal Highness happen to overturn. Perhaps I am being unnecessarily pessimistic though, for there are few more stable boats than Dab III.
The Sharland engine, it will be remembered, is a 347 c.c. or ` B ‘class, horizontally opposed twin cylinder engine, with overhead valves operated by roller bearing rockers and twin camshaft, twin carburettors and dry pump lubrication. It will be seen that, except for the use of a flat twin, Mr. Sharland, the designer, has defied every other outboard convention, and it would seem that he is justified. Very few changes have been made since the engine was fully described in MOTOR SPORT last August. The underwater housing now carries a skeg, while the upper portion of this unit is now extended aft over the prop to form a steering fin. Other alterations are of a detail nature, the principal being modifications in the oil-cooler, cylinder, and clamp castings. A noticeable feature of this engine is that it is extremely flexible, partly due to correct carburation right up the scale to 6,000 r.p.m., where the motor peaks, but more so to the fact that the engine is a flat twin. In a horizontally opposed twin both the primary and secondary or octave balance is nearly perfect, and the firing impulses are spaced exactly evenly. That the balance is not perfect is due to the offset of its cylinders, for although the reciprocating parts of one cylinder exactly balance those of the other cylinder, being out of line, a rocking couple of small magnitude is produced, which cannot be entirely cancelled out by the balance weights. This arrangement of cylinders, however, is much to be preferred to any other twin arrangement, for in all imposed twins the octave balance is very poor. The finish of the Sharland motor is in deep blue and chromium, so the letters need only to be put on in red for the motor to be in the Prince of Wales’
colours. F. M.
The Sharland’s 6,000 r.p.m.
The Prince takes to Motor Boating.