THE SPORT AFLOAT
OUTBOARD motor boats are entirely different from other racing outfits like cars or motor cycles, because they have to be more or less bought in parts, much fitting and assembling having to be done by the owner. It is essential that the fittings be just right, and of practical value if one is to stand a chance in competitive racing. The following notes here and in later issues have been gathered with the idea:of giving a few pointers to prospective outboardists on what has to be done after having purchased hull and engine. I may say that all are well tried ideas and may be incorporated with safety.
There are but two steering systems that concern the racing pilot, for I think, except in emergencies, tiller steeling may be disregarded. By far the most common is the ordinary cable and pulley arrangement which has the merit of being inexpensive. If this is chosen none but gun metal pulleys should be selected while an expert should be consulted as to the correct weaving for the wire. The pulley blocks should be bolted to the hull with long brass bolts, and so placed to avoid any sharp angles in the wire. If a wire-tensioner is fitted, a practice which is not recommended, it must have adequate means of being locked, for all sorts of unpleasant things have happened to boats when tensioners happened to loosen off in the middle of a race. Well worth the extra expense is the fitting of a steering system produced by W. D. Fair & Co., Ltd. Originally it was intended solely for use with the Watermota, but it has now been adapted for use with all makes of outboard engine. The principle is a modified form of the Bowden cable system. The cable is wound round the drum on the wheel and is led through two outer-casings each fitted with a tensioner to the rear of the boat. ” Stops ” cast in aluminium hold the end of the outer-casing at the transom; these stops are a push fit over steel “stop-bars” which are screwed on in place of the nuts at each side of the clamp bracket. The cable end emerging from the ” stops ” at each side are attached under, and at the back of the motor in the usual fashion. It is obvious that very little fitting is required, while there are no strained steering wires stretching to the engine, which make a comfortable posture difficult. The most important advantage is, however, a mechanical one; with a whippy transom, the steering is badly upset when a pull is put on only one side, as in the case with the pulley-block arrangement, often resulting in a bad steering wobble, and a swim, especially with boats that do much more than 40 m.p.h. ; with a Watermota steering an automatic reaction occurs at the opposite
” stop ” to the one through which the wire is pulled in the operation of steering, and thus any tendency to whip is counteracted.
1931 Models ?
Usually manufacturers and agents manage pretty successfully to hide their next season’s models until the new year has actually commenced. The Elto entered by Mr. J. H. Shillan and with which Mr. Harrison was able to break the world’s record at 52 m.p.h. (subject to official confirmation) was undoubtably one
of the new 1931 Eltos, for although closely guarded, a stolen glance under its cover revealed something very un-Elto-ish in even outward appearance.
In place of the Tillitson carburettor was a huge Schebler fed by twin petrol-pipes, one from each side of the tank : a much smaller and consequently lighter flywheel was also conspicuous, and it would be interesting to know what other changes have occurred internally, as I understand the experiments of Ray Pregenzer are responsible for the changes that have been incorporated. Probably something has been done to the rotary-valve.
Perhaps, the governing body can be prevailed upon to publish, as soon as possible, the specification filed by Mr. ShitIan so that other prospective record-breakers may make the same changes in their motors and then bring them on a level footing with agents who have ” inside ” knowledge.
It was a cry in the past that manufacturers produced new models so often that few could afford to be up to date. 1930 Elto owners will be pleased to know that another make of carburettor in place of the Tillitson which was in my experience rather too small, is presumably now permissible. I say presumably, because it is not officially confirmed. But surely Mr. Shillan in his position as agent and official of the M.M,A. would not attack a record with an engine which was not standard and thus contrary to the rules which he himself helped to formulate ?
I am sorry to write of any dissension at Christmas time but from the way the wind is blowing at present it would appear that the outboard section of the B.M.B.C. will soon be quite divorced from the parent body. The B.O.R.C. has shown itself dissatisfied with the administration of the parent body on more than one occasion during the year but things have now risen to a head over a financial matter. The B.M.B.C. balance sheet shows a deficiency of some two hundred pounds, no great sum for the size of the organisation, but the outboard section have disclaimed any responsibility, and what is more, have written a letter to that .effect to the B.M.B.C., the long list of signatories being headed by Viscount Kingsborough, a man who has the sport really at heart. I believe the reply sent, somewhat lacked the serious note, but eventually a meeting was fixed, the deliberations of which had not at the time of going to press been published.
Personally, I would welcome an entirely independent self-governing outboard racing club instead of one in which manufacturers, agents and yachtsmen constitute the majority of the administration. On more than one , occasion last year competitors hit a submerged fence at the Harp, because it had been no one’s responsibility , to see that the buoys were moved, the level of the water having dropped between one meeting and the next. I feel sure that the only satisfactory method of overcoming difficulties of this sort is to have one or two paid officials whose sole job it is to see that things are right for all the competitors. However, the B.O.R.C. will be taking a right step if they arrange for their meetings to be run by outboardists themselves, who realise the difficulties with which the competitor has to contend.