THE SPO T AFLOAT
-a_ 4 R. KAYE DON has more than accomplished what he set out to do, when on April 2nd he
recaptured for Great Britain the world’s motor boat speed record, for the way that he snatched his victory in the last few hours of his official period, will be remembered in Buenos Aires for many a day. Don deliberately made his task harder by travelling half across the world to what at this time of year is not the most ideal waterway for record purposes, in order that he might be an asset to England at the British Empire Trade Exhibition. National thanks are also due to that great sportsman, Lord Wakefield of Hythe who made the attempt possible. Willocks’ supreme confidence in the British design, materials and workmanship of Miss England II., a confidence which might well have been shaken after his previous experience in her, coupled with the boat’s present performance, should convince this growing part of the New World that this country is not losing her grip. The bald statement that appeared in the daily papers, something like this :—
“Buenos Aires. April 2nd.
“Mr. Kaye Don on the Parana River here to-day, succeeded in breaking the world’s water speed record in his boat Miss England II, with a mean speed of 103.5 m.p.h. This record was previously held by Commodore Gar ‘Wood in Miss America IX with a speed of 102.3 m.p.h.” —can convey nothing of the fear and hopes which lie behind such an attempt as this. The preliminary runs, followed by the unexpected trouble with the water cooling manifolds owing to the high water temperature of the river, and the days of suspense while mechanics worked feverishly must have put an undue strain upon the three waiting to make the official run. Imagine coming right down to the last possible day before things
are ready and having to go out on a river swollen with water from the Autumn rains and upon which driftwood was a menace in spite of the excellent work put in. by the Argentine Government. The speeds set up with and against the current were 105.28 m.p.h. and 101.70 m.p.h. respectively and give a good idea of the condition of the river. Don himself said it was more uncomfortable than travelling round Brooklands at about 140 m.p.h. ! Altogether it was a magnificent show, and has more than justified Mr. Fred Cooper’s breakaway from the orthodox.
Miss England II is at the moment en route for Italy to take part in the international meeting on Lake Garda next month, and it is more than likely that an even better speed will be put up on this water, especially if Gar Wood should succeed in breaking this coveted record again iii the meantime, for Wood is not the man to accept defeat without a blow struck in defence.
The Outboard Record.
Kaye Don thought that he had thus put this country in the enviable position of having all the world’s speed records in which the internal combustion engine is used, to its credit. But such was not to be, for but a few hours before Don gained his record, Signor Aldo Dacco was successful in breaking the outboard speed record previously held by Charles Harrison. The run was made at 0-ardone, and Dacco put up the very useful speed of 52.54 m.p.h., but being of course only .66 m.p.h. better than Harrison’s speed, we may expect developments in the near future. It is understood, however, that Harnson’s Elto has been disposed of, so perhaps he is expecting something even hotter from the States. So much the better, for Dacco is not resting on his laurels, and in conjunction with Sig. Passarin, the designer of the successful Mariella boat, experiments are being
carried out with various ‘ props ‘ and with weight distribution, with a view to increasing the record speed at the International Meeting on Lake Garda.
Aldo Dacco used his previous record breaking 997 c.c. Laros engine, which peaks at 4,300 r.p.m. and produces 51 b.h.p. A comparison with Harrison’s Elto, which tops at 4,900 r.p.m., producing nearly 55 b.h.p.,gives a good indication of the amount of thought expended on the Italian hull.
Britain was not entirely unrepresented in this record attempt, for Wakefield’s and Amal both had a finger in the pie, and unless Dacco’s original intention was altered, the dr;ve was entrusted to a Thornycroft ‘prop.’
At the same time that Dacco was performing, Cav. Sandro Salvi was putting up an even better show on Marietta VI. He Was attacking the 12 nautical mile Class C record, but he had to make three attempts before being successful, then putting up the very creditable speed of 47.41 m.p.h., still more so when it is realised that eleven 180° turns had to be made, because Salvi was using the measured nautical mile course at Gardone.
If not possessed of an expensive yacht one would naturally assume that if a fortnight’s tour on the Continent is planned, the only way of getting there is to go by one of the regular steamship routes.
Miss N. Clements and Mr. R. Cole have, however, proved conclusively that the small outboard-engined speed dinghy is the outfit to give you the independence of a private car over the whole journey.
The outfit chosen for this journey was one of the new Wood’s dinghies, powered by a utility 4-11 h.p. Watermota outboard motor. Cole has had experience with these motors at sea before, and it is significant that a Watermota should have been selected again. These two modern mariners have so far completed some 400 miles by water and when they again tie up at Westminster, the figure will be nearer 500. The excellent performance put up by this motor will be realized when it is remembered that two people with their personal and navigating equipment, the boat, and sufficient fuel for about 250 miles, was taken the whole way by an engine of no more than 350 c.c. Their progress has not been slow, for although not starting until 1 p.m. on Saturday, 11th April, they were in Brusselles on Tuesday morning and would have been there on Monday night if they had not missed the right canal and landed up at Gavre. Further it has been found that the petrol consumption is no more than 18 miles to the gallon under full load, and Cole writes to say that never has more than one pull at the starting been necessary.
Miss Clements and Mr. Cole were accorded a public reception by the Royal Yacht Club on their arrival, and some days later a dinner was given in their honour.
Quite a lot of time has been occupied giving demonstration runs to people at the Yacht Club and for this, Miss Clements must be thanked for it is all good propaganda for British boats and engines. Miss Clements has the honour of being the first lady in this country to “go down to the sea “in an outboard, and both she and Mr. Cole are to be congratulated on their very plucky venture, for the` whole time they have
regarded their 13ft. dinghy as a sea-going boat and have not been accompanied when making the Channel crossings; anyone who knows the Channel at this time of year will realise just what nerve and good seaman ship is needed.
Is Silence Golden ?
Quite a number of people saw the Schneider Trophy Race a year and a half ago, while an even greater of less fortunates (of whom I was one), listened to the broadcast of the event—and for myself—to the finest broadcast ever. Just hearing the distant whine, the terrific crescendo, combined with the sudden drop in tone as the machines passed, and then the fading away before you had forgotten the first sound, was—magnificent. Aunt Agatha’s conception of how quiet a racing
engine really should be would definitely not have done at all, and the whole broadcast would have failed, and thousands of people would have been disappointed and disgruntled. Ye gods ! Think of it ! the great British public disgruntled because a racing engine was not making enough noise. They would, however, have been equally annoyed if there had been a microphone actually in one of the competing machines, and the row had come over without a break.
And thus it is with our sport—outboards do make a noise, but it is because they make it for long periods at a time that they are offensive. The inhabitants of Rickmansworth did not object to the race days at the Aquadrome, but to the continual din made during the practising. Two or three weeks ago a quite well known pilot, in search of a suitable stretch of water for testing a very fast outfit stopped and looked over the bridge at Maidstone, and well pleased with what he saw, proceeded to launch the boat. The motor was in the unlimited class and had an open exhaust, and it was a Sunday afternoon. Yet an hour’s test was carried out without interruption or objection from one of a crowd of several hundreds who witnessed the show. Encouraged, two boats were taken down the following Sunday and an afternoon was put in, up and down the Medway ; a huge crowd controlled by the police, witnessed the proceedings, and they thoroughly enjoyed it. Some days later a solicitor’s letter was received, but this, in mild terms, merely pointed out that a speed limit of 5 m.p.h. existed on the Medway, which had been exceeded. (Actually the culprit had done about 40 m.p.h.). But there was not a murmur about the din that had been created in the process. On the other hand, what attracted the crowd was the noise, and as I have mentioned, they appeared to thoroughly enjoy it. If the 5 m.p.h. limit can be got over, one might do well to organise a race meeting in the Medway at Maidstone. To make our sport more popular and widespread it must be thrilling to the general public and plenty of spray and a healthy open exhaust both contribute towards making it worth watching. Long distance races in the national dinghy class can be kept as quiet as reasonably efficient, but if you want some notice to be taken of you, let the fast hydroplanes sound as if they are going fast. Organisers could arrange for everything to be kept quiet at a race venue before and after the actual races, but when the events are in progress they ought to “let things go.”