THE SPO:RT AFLOAT
Motor Boats at the Show. FIVIDENCE of the fact that motor sport on the water is making a greater appeal. than ever
before is found in the inclusion of a boat section at Olympia this year. The last few years have seen a tremendous growth of the sport in this country, and once a man has experienced the infinite variety and fascination of a boat, he will never give it up. There iS plenty of variety in the car world in performance, cost and size, but it is nothing to the extensive range of motor boats now on the market.
These range from the diminutive outboard engined ” skimmer ” type of craft, through the selection of runabouts using. the larger outboard engines, to the large fast launches and cabin cruisers, in which class, for the price of a ,good class car, can be obtained a craft which will be a Modern magic carpet and floating home combined.
The modern outboard engine has now so much developed, that it is used successfully On all sizes of boats, and those who are thinking of taking up the sport of outboard racing next year will do well to have a good look round the exhibits at the Show as well as the various firms which cater for those who go upon the water.
Many will argue that Motor Show time is not a suitable season for buying boats, and would prefer to wait till next year. This, however, is a short-sighted view to take as the winter is the best time for planning exactly what is required, and although many potential buyers will not actually place orders at Olympia, they will be able to make decisions, and ask questions.
It is very unwise, however, to postpone ordering till late in the winter, as a boat finished, in a hurry, is always liable to lack those small points which make all the difference to comfort and handling, and have to be altered later.
Those who have boats, and intend to use the winter for refitting or carrying out alterations cannot do better than go along to some firm such. as Elephant Motors of Store Street, Tottenham Court Road, where anything from a binnacle to a large Diesel engine can be obtained.
Next Year’s Racing. This year the sport of outboard racing, while maintaining interest among the very keen minority, has admittedly failed to boom as much as was hoped. Many snags have been encountered in the Way of making the racing really interesting from the spectator’ s point of
view, and Steps are being taken to provide for improvements next year.
Among the developments at present foreshadowed, is the introduction of standard hull classes so that more even racing should result. Further development of handicap racing will also increase the attraction of the sport, while the introduction of more long distance races would be an excellent thing in maintaining reliability.
One of the most successful meetings this year was the 100 miles race at Poole, and we should like to see this type of race kept up, also longer point to point races. There are many hardy sportsmen who are attracted by the idea of doing a little coastal Work in reasonable weather, and who cannot afford a cruiser, and for these the speed dinghy presents great possibilities. It is quite seaworthy, and has been used for various sea trips, and cross channel stunts.
Another point about long distance work of this kind is that navigation, admittedly of very elementary nature, comes into play and increases the interest.
Outboard Navigation. We were recently discussing the difficulties of open sea work on outboard craft with Mr. Marshall, who crossed to France and back in a speed dinghy early this year. His experience showed that navigation had to be very crude on such a craft to be successful at all, and he found, as have many others, that an elaborate spirit compass will not stand the pounding of a light craft at speed, and is liable to failure, which is awkward, to say the least. He actually used a compass of the simple needle type costing 4s, 6d., and usually regarded more or less as a toy ! Nevertheless he got there and back, and successfully allowed for tides, etc., which shows what can be done with simple instruments, provided they are
Crystal Palace Takes to Outboards. For some time now there have been a series of meetings for outboard boats at the Crystal Palace, where the racing is anything but long distance, but all the same quite amusing. The water is no more than a pond, but this adds to the excitement, as the whole racing consists of slicking round corners and dodging other competitors, while the small size means that in a few laps the water is so churned up that holding the craft in the straight path is no easy matter. Variety is introduced by various competitions involving taking in and landing passengers
on the small landing stage while at speed. This involves a certain standard of agility on the part of the said crew, and we have seen several attempt to leap the gap when the pilot has not come in sufficiently close, and end in the water. This provides amusement for the spectators, but it is to be hoped that some rules will be formulated to stop the place becoming an impromptu swimmingbath, as several outboards tearing about among swimmers does not make for safety. This seems to be the day of miniature sport, and when even Brooklands has a midget golf course, it is not sin
prising to find other clubs providing small scale sport for outboard enthusiasts, and another example is the Colnbook club, where outboards can be hired and driven on a small lake. The place has quite a continental atmosphere, and after getting an appetite on the water, one can refresh oneself in the open, and pass a pleasant afternoon in delightful surroundings.
No one will pretend that this constitutes the sport of outboarding as it should be, but it provides it in a mild form, and will serve to introduce many to the sport who would otherwise never take it up.