The Philadelphia Inquirer Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 07 Jul 1929, Sun • Page 40
One of the fastest speedboats on the Delaware River threw out its driver and mechanic yesterday, ran wild for a while and wrecked itself against a tree on the bank of the river in a disastrous preliminary to the first outboard and speedboat regatta of the Red Dragon Canoe Club, near its new headquarters at Edgewater Park, N.J, on the upper Delaware.<
The boat was the powerful Vindico, which only two days previously had romped away with the handicap cruiser honor in the Trenton Yacht Club regatta amd was tuning up to defend those honors in the speedboat class over 235 horsepower.
Driverless and racing wide open, the big craft, raised her white bow far out of the water, spurted at the rate of fifty miles an hour, turned several circles in mid-rlver, then headed for the Jersey Shore, a quarter mile away. Bathers scattered as the craft came flying for the shore at a rate of almost a mile a minute. With a grind that could be heard for a mile or more, the boat literally flew up on shore, headed direct for a clump of trees. With a crash the boot parted as the bow struck a tree fairly and squarely. The boat continued for about ten feet, as the tree ripped its way through the hull of the boat. The stern then lifted up in the impact and fell to the ground with a crash, the boat a complete wreck.
Mechanics immediately went to work removing the engine and parts which were not completely destroyed. It was no more than completed than the oil-soaked hull caught fire and blazed high in the air, turning out a cloud of black smoke which could be seen for miles around. Edward Walters, of the Trenton Yacht Club, the owner and driver of the Ill-fated craft, stated after he was taken ashore unhurt that he had taken the craft out to tune it. up, when in making some turns the steering gear stuck and that threw him and Paul Hanson, also of Trenton, his mechanic, out of the boat.
"We were out tuning up, running about 45 or 50, when we started to run the course," Walters explained. "The boat was running great and I hoped to make better than 50 in the race. We rounded the upper turn and to my surprise the steering gear locked and the boat kept going ground in a circle.
"In an instant, the stern sunk, so fast were we going, and a sudden jolt threw Hanson and myself out of the boat, This was not the first time that the steering gear had locked, but I thought that we had thoroughly repaired it. When I came to the surface of the water, I was surprised to see the boat still running around circles, then head for shore at full speed. I'm glad the boat didn't turn over, or we would have had a hard time getting out from under."
Hanson told a similar story.
Neither man was hurt, but when thrown out of the bout, was tossed clear of the speeding craft, and their only danger was in being struck by the boat, on its next circle. Rescue craft picked up both men unhurt.
Vindico was less than two years old, having created sensations in a number of races last year, and opened this season at Trenton on July Fourth with her stirring victory. She is a hydroplane type of powerful speedboat hull, with a 325 h. p. Fiat aeroplane motor. The mishap marred the debut of the Red Dragon Canoe Club In the power boating game, and compelled a delay of nearly two hours in the programme of races. In the absence of Vindico, Jim Thropp's Peggy, also flying the colors of the Trenton Yacht Club, romped away with the premier honor in the big speedboat race of the day after a series of thrilling battles with Ramona II, owned and driven by H. Burton Lewis, of the Delaware River Yacht Club.
Peggy won the first two heats, end needed them for Ramona II kept getting better as the day wore on. In the third heat Ramona II came from behind to turn in a stirring victory In a nose-and-nose chase, but on points Peggy was winner. Dr. R. W. Davison's X-ray, also from Trenton, was not running well, and was third in all heats. Each heat was fifteen miles.
Comanche II surprised in the 110-horse power speedboat class by coming back in the second and third heats after losing the first heat to Miss Behave, property of T. B. Megargee, of Trenton. All of the heats were close, but none matched the third, in which the lead shifted several times, and finally Comanche II nosed in winner by only two boat lengths.
Outboards were In their glory for the first time In the history of the Red Dragon Club. Races for all classes of boats produced splendid entry list despite the threatening storm and the rough water of the Delaware River. Several newcomers turned in victories in the various classes.
Debasco, driven by J. Huber, of the Upper Delaware Outboard Association, of Croydon, Pa., marked its debut in the racing game here with a hard-fought, victory in the Class C outboards over good entry. Baybo-Baby, driven by F. E. Messick, of Wilmington, and Port, handled by Kenneth Hughes, of Wilmington, finished almost in a dead heat for second only a few seconds behind the winner.
Close Victory In Class B
ughes in the Class B event bad piloted his Port to a close victory by a margin of just eight seconds over Frank Gentert's Comet, of th Upper Delaware Association, with George Smith's Freak third.
Half a dozen Red Dragon boats competed in the family outboard race, marking their first competition, Russell Page drove his Sea Sled, with her 16-horse power Evinrude, to victory in a hard battle. Hoffman, with D Luxe, was second, and Ralph Shaw, with Be Boat, third. Baybo-Baby. driven by F. E. Messick, turned in two vlctories in the later outboard races of the regatta, winning the Class D event rather handily, and then the ten-mile free-for. all, Huber's Debasco taking second in each race.