“MISS ENGLAND II.” World’s Record Established Before Disaster.
SOMF, time after the tragic end of Sir Henry Segrave’s attempt on the speed record for motor boats, the Marine Motoring Association has issued the following report upon the performance of “Miss England II. ” :—” The late Major Sir Henry Segrave, driving ‘Miss England II.’ the property of Lord Wakefield of Hythe, on Friday, June 13, established a world’s unlimited speed record for motor boats, subject to confirmation by the International Motor Yachting Union, with a speed of 85.7 nautical miles per hour, or 98.76 miles per hour.
“The first lap was 43 seconds, south to north, or 83.72 miles per hour. The second lap was 41 seconds, north to south, or 87.80 nautical m.p.h.”
“Miss England II.” was taken to Lake Windermere at the beginning of last month, and after preparations had been completed, Segrave took her out on her first trials on the evening of Wednesday, June 11th.
She was not then behaving to Sir Henry’s satisfaction, and it appears that he experienced some trouble with the propeller (which was in the nature of an experiment) and with the engine controls.
On the following day, the boat was given a further test, this time with a new steel propeller in place of the phosphor-bronze one originally fitted. But trouble was again met with, and” Miss England IL “had to be taken in tow. After being hauled ashore it was seen at once that the new propeller had been unable to stand up to the high speed (probably in the neighbourhood of 11,000 r.p.m.) and had shed a blade. The fault was rectified, however, and on Friday, 13th, all was made ready for an officially-observed attack on the record. A representative of MOTOR SPORT who was watching the attempt reports that it was arranged that Segrave should do two runs only and then bring
his craft in for an examination, and, if necessary, another propeller was to have been fitted as a precautionary measure. On the first run she appeared to be going perfectly, and on the second lap her speed was tremendous. It is assumed that Sir Henry was so well satisfied that everything was O.K. after this, that he altered his mind, and, instead of returning to the shed, set out on a further lap. It was then that the disaster occurred midway along the mile course the boat seemed to swing slightly, then reared up and fell upside down. When the great cloud of spray dispersed, only two of the three occupants could be seen—one being Sir Henry and the other Mr. Wilcox, his mechanic. The third man, Mr. Victor Halliwell, chief experimental aero engine tester of Rolls-Royce, Ltd., was nowhere to be found.
At the time of writing, the cause of the accident has not been definitely established, but it has been suggested that it may have been due to a small floating obstacle, such as a tree branch, and the damage to the boat’s step rather points to this.
A joint statement issued by those who were connected with the construction of Miss England II. ‘—Messrs. F. Cooper, the designer, A. R. Rowledge, A. Wormald, E. W. Hives and J. E. Ellor—supports this theory, and states that the power units, tailshaft, propeller and rudders appeared to be intact upon examination. “There is no evidence,” the statement concludes, “pointing to any failure of the hull or the machinery.”
It is noteworthy in regard to Miss England IL’s record, that this has been recognised only as a result of a recent alteration in the rules of the I.M.Y.U., in connection with such attempts. The alteration in question stipulates that two runs of a mile course must be made, whereas beforehand it was laid down that a miniumm of six runs was required.