THE SPORT AFLOAT
A WATER BROOKLANDS
TRACK racing is tame compared with outboard motor-boat racing,” said a well-known Brooklands racing-driver, who has recently taken up this wonderful new sport. Major Sir Henry Segrave has also stated that 40 m.p.h. on the water is as thrilling as 200 m.p.h. on the track. There is no doubt that speed on the water has an extra fascination and gives a sense of freedom that speeds on land lack—in fact, it is comparable to flying in many respects. The outboard motor has progressed so rapidly in design and power, that speeds which a year or two ago were thought unattainable are now considered commonplace.
Radical improvements in hull design, the introduction of new ideas in connection with shaping the underwater bodies and scientific streamlining of all parts and the development of more efficient and extremely powerful motors, have been factors largely responsible for the attainment of these remarkable speeds. It is difficult to believe that an engine developing 30 b.h.p. and weighing only 110 lbs. is capable of propelling a boat at close on 50 m.p.h. This is all the more remarkable when it is realized that to obtain similar results with an inboardtype of engine at least 100 h.p. would be required.
Inboard v. Outboard.
Inboard motor boat racing, like track racing was only available to a comparatively small number of persons, due to the high initial cost and subsequent upkeep, whereas the outboard motor has enabled this fascinating sport to be indulged in by anyone able to afford a small car. In this connection it is interesting to note that a first class outfit can be purchased for under £100, whilst the upkeep simply amounts to joining one of the racing clubs that are situated throughout the country, where for a nominal subscription the boat can be housed and in the case of the larger clubs such as the British Outboard Racing Club, special arrangements are made for tuning and testing out the boats and engines. The growing popularity of this new sport, has resulted in a ” Water Brooklands ” being formed at Bury Lakes, Rickmansworth, where Motor Boat Speedways, Ltd., have spent a large sum of money in adapting these lakes for outboard motor boat racing.
They have built large boat houses, repair shops, dressing rooms, refreshment bars, grand stands, car parks, club rooms, loud speakers for announcing results, scoring boards, and everything including ” bookies ” has been provided to enable both spectators and competitors to enjoy the sport to the full. To give one an idea of the enthusiasm being shown, it is only necessary to point out that it is quite the usual thing to have over• 60 competitors in one afternoon’s race meeting. There are thrills in plenty, as someone is sure to capsize in their eagerness to round the buoys as closely as possible ! The newcomer to the sport is assured of having a sporting chance of winning a pot, as the regulations of the B.O.R.C. are very strict with regard to only standard engines being used, thereby giving the man with small means an equal chance with his more wealthy confrere. There are three classes of engine catered for : ” B ” class engines not exceeding 350 c.c., “C” not exceeding 500 c.c., and unlimited, over 500 c.c. Apart from the trophies offered by all the well known clubs, several challenge trophies are annually competed for. The premier event of the year is for a valuable Trophy presented by the Duchess of York for competition with “
C” class motors.
To those who for any reason are unable to participate in racing but desire to have a boat with a reasonable turn of speed, there still remain the fast runabout type of hull.. There is a close parallel between motoring and outboard motor boating in that both may be pursued and enjoyed on very widely separated scales of cost. But there is this difference : there is an even wider range between the extremes of outboard motor boating than motoring.
A really first class racing outfit can be purchased for about £80 whilst a fast runabout capable of carrying 4-5 persons at a speed of 25-30 m.p.h. is available for approximately £130-R150, thus for a few pounds anyone can become the owner of a fast speed boat from which he or she will derive unbounded pleasure and thrills with their tonic effect. All that is necessary is an original disposition to take to the water as a means of recreation, and this is to Britishers a heritage.