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SportsAntiques.com's

Sports Antique of the Week 

March 6th - 13th 2021

 

THIS WEEKS FEATURE

1925 poster palm beach speed boat regatta2.jpg (475562 bytes)

- EARLIEST KNOWN - 

AMERICAN 

SPEED-BOAT RACE POSTER

14" x 11", printed on cardstock

c1925 PALM BEACH SPEED-BOAT REGATTA

ADVERTISING POSTER

Held on Lake Worth, Palm Beach Florida

 

Ariel Views of Palm Beach and Lake Worth
palm beach looking south.jpeg (487986 bytes) palm beach w legend.jpeg (338142 bytes)
 

 

 


 

 

AN EXAMINATION OF THIS POSTER...AND A CURSORY LOOK

AT THE EARLY HISTORY OF POWERBOAT RACING IN PALM BEACH

by Carlton Hendricks

 

 

oday's feature is about an advertising poster for the 1925 Palm Beach Speed Boat Regatta...However before getting into it I thought we'd take a look at the very begining of powerboat racing in Palm Beach that took place twenty one years earlier. According to The Charlotte News April 22nd 1904, the first sanctioned and codified speed-boat race in Palm Beach was planned to take place on Lake Worth the following year. Indeed that race did take place February 2nd-4th 1905 and was called the Palm Beach Speed-Boat Regatta. Some publications gave slight variations such as "Motor Boat Carnival". Of all the reports I could find on this first 1st palm beach regatta charlotte title graphic red click.jpg (112437 bytes)1905 event that "The Charlotte News" story gives the most insight into the how it came about...and it's impact on speed-boat racing in other Florida cities. According to the story the event was produced by the newly formed "Palm Beach Power Boat Association"...and was held under the auspices of the American Powerboat Association which was only two years old then. The race was first envisioned by W.J. Morgan of No. 1 Maiden Lane NYC....

 

Morgan was the promoter of the newly formed Ormond-Daytona automobile race...and his plan was to schedule them about the same time. Morgan's idea sparked a robust favorable response among the Palm Beach community. Patrons pledged thousands of dollars of sponsorship in the form of sixteen trophies to be awarded for that many classes of races. Which could be expected of the well to do Palm Beach community...anxious for  new forms of entertainment...Palm Beach then, as it is now, was a playground for the east-coast "well to do".  Posh neighborhoods of New York state like New Rochelle, and the enclaves along the Long Island sound where the titans of industry lived, all got snow in the winter...And to a large degree Palm Beach became the haven out of that snow, away from the cares of the business world...Henry Morrison Flagler, one of John D. Rockefeller's partners of Standard Oil topped that list. All the good Flagler lavished on Florida, and Palm Beach especially, was a result of his Standard Oil money...And naturally when it came to planning this first speed-boat regatta Henry Flagler was appointed president of the Palm Beach Powerboat Association overseeing it. Fred Sterry, general manager of his Royal Poinciana Hotel was the secretary.

 

1905 1st pb speed boat race florida auto world details1.jpg (1321079 bytes)

Regatta Announcement

and details, 1905 Auto Annual

Below, sixteen different 

trophies awarded at first 

Palm Beach Speed-Boat Regatta

on Lake Worth Feb. 1,2,3, 1905

 

1905 1st pb speed boat race florida auto world records.jpg (864083 bytes)

Full Race Results, 

1905 Auto Annual

 

BREAKERS CUP
won by
"SHADOW"
Event:
Endurance race, 
8 miles, 
for all motorboats
as stipulated

 

LIEUT. WILLOUGHBY 

TROPHY
won by 
"SHADOW"
Event:
One mile race for 

motorboats 

under 12 miles 

per hour

 

H.M. FLAGLER 

TROPHY
won by 
"CHALLENGER"
Event:
High speed boats, 

four miles handicap

AUTOMOBILE 

MAGAZINE CUP
won by 
"DEMOOY"
Event:
Pleasure 

motorboats 

under 

12 miles per hour. 

Distance four miles

C.F. BINGHAM CUP
won by 
"CHALLENGER"
Event:
Motorboats, four 

miles 

handicap

$50.00 CASH 

PRIZE 

SPLIT AMONG 

CREW
won by 
"EVERGLADES"
Event:
Yacht and 

motorboat 

tender race. 

Four-mile

E.M. O'NEILL 

CUP
won by 
"HUMA"
Event:
Auxiliaries, 

four miles

HOWARD GOULD 

PRIZE
won by 
"GRANT FERRIS JR."
Event:
High speed boats, 

handicap 

twenty miles

LOUIS S. CLARKE TROPHY
won by 
"WIGGLER"
Event:
Motorboats 

under 12 miles, APBA Handicap

PROCTOR SMITH CUP
won by 
"CHALLENGER"
Event:
One kilometer for high speed boats

POMMERY CUP,
won by 
"ENTERPRISE"
Event:
Glass cabin motorboats. Two miles

 

SIR THOMAS DEWAR TROPHY
won by 
"WIGGLER"
Event:
High speed motorboats, handicap. One mile

 

 

BEACH CLUB 

CUP
won by 
"CHALLENGER"
Event:
Special race, two miles, handicap

ROYAL 

POINCIANA TROPHY
won by 
"COMET"
Event:
Eight-mile high speed motorboat handicap

W. GOULD BROKAW CUP
won by 
"WIGGLER"
Event:
Eight miles for motorboats under 18 miles per hour

AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE CUP
won by 
"DEMOOY"
Event:
Pleasure 

motorboats under 12 miles per hour

 

Lake Worth is an excellent racing territory, amid picturesque surroundings, 

with neither tide nor wind to lower the speed of the motor craft. 

- Boating Magazine March 1906

 

Renown Lieut. Hugh Willoughby in his speed-boat Possum on Lake Worth. Willoughby along with Hotel Royal 

Poinciana General manager Fred Sterry laid out the course for the first 1905 Palm 

Beach Speed-Boat Regatta. Hotel Royal Poinciana seen in the background.

 

royal poinciana areil view t.jpg (122251 bytes)Flagler built in Palm Beach what became not  only the world's largest resort hotel,  but the world's largest wooden structure...the Hotel Royal Poinciana. Opening in 1894 The Royal Poinciana had 1,700 employees and three miles of hallways. Bellhops made deliveries by bicycle. Flagler also had six other luxury hotels in Florida all under the umbrella of The East Coast Hotel Company. They included The Breakers there in Palm Beach...He also owned three hotels in St. Augustine, the Hotel Ponce de Leon, the Hotel Alcazar, and Hotel Cordova...He owned the Hotel Continental in Jacksonville. He also owned the Hotel Ormond in Ormond Beach, ...And the Hotel Royal Palm in Miami. To run his  Royal Poinciana, Flagler lured away Fred Sterry from the Plaza Hotel in New York City where he was general manager...He also hired Fred's brother Leland to run the Breakers.

 

 

ROYAL POINCIANA NOT THE FIRST FLORIDA HOTEL FEATURED IN A SPORTS ANTIQUE OF THE WEEK

What is it with motor sports and Florida hotels

Interestingly

Back in February 

2019 I did a 

story on a 

Flying Merkel motorcycle race 

trophy that 

featured another 

grand Florida 

hotel, the 

Tampa Bay, click 

one of these photos

 

As it relates to this 1905 event, the term "speed" in speed-boat race may need clarification...Top speed for  speed-boats back then was about 25mph. Boats in this first Palm Beach Regatta were still plowing thru water. The hydroplane would not come on the scene till about 1911...which would require more powerful engines to create lift for the bow to plane over the water...Also, in the course of clarifying let's take a look at the big picture...To give you a feel for what we're witnessing...this 1905 race took place right as powerboat racing was just getting going. For example...the first race for the Harmsworth Trophy, today the oldest and most prestigious powerboat trophy, took place in 1903 in Ireland ...That same year 1903 the American Power Boat Association was formed at the Columbia Yacht Club in New York City...As well, the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufactures was formed in 1904. All these beginings serve to illustrate the early time-line of this inaugural 1905 Palm Beach Speed Boat Regatta. 

 

Twenty One Significant Speed-Boat Race Events of 1905

Courtesy hydroplanehistory.com

PALM BEACH SPEED-BOAT REGATTA

Feb. 2-3rd

MONACO MEET
Monte Carlo to 

Nice and return
April 9th 1905

ALGIERS TO 

TOULON RACE
May 7th-15th 

1905

SILVER TROPHY 
St. Lawrence River, 
Kingston, Ontario, 
May 24, 1905

MANHASSET BAY 

YACHT CLUB REGATTA
May 29th 1905

COLUMBIA YACHT 

CLUB REGATTA
June 3rd 1905 

 

NEW ROCHELLE REGATTA

NEW ROCHELLE NY
May 10th 1905

 

INDIAN HARBOR YACHT CLUB REGATTA, GREENWICH CT 

July 4, 1905

FRONTENAC 

YACHT CLUB

REGATTA 1ST

 CLAYTON N.Y. July 20-22, 1905

FRONTENAC 

YACHT CLUB

REGATTA 2ND FFA

 CLAYTON N.Y. 

July 22, 1905

W.O. GAY CUP 

MASS. BAY

 MARBLEHEAD MA. 

Jul 27-29, 1905

 

RED BANK CARNIVAL NAVESINK RIVER RED BANK NJ

 Aug. 10, 1905

 

EASTERN YACHT CLUB REGATTA MASS. BAY MARBLEHEAD MA Aug. 18, 1905

APBA GOLD CUP ALEXANDRIA BAY CHIPPEWA NY

Aug. 24-26, 1905

 

ST. LAWRENCE RIVER YACHT 

CLUB REGATTA
ALEXANDRIA N.Y. 
Aug. 28, 1905

 

FRONTENAC 

YACHT CLUB

REGATTA 

2nd Series

 CLAYTON N.Y. 
August 29-31, 1905 

BEEBE CUP SERIES POWERBOAT RACES
CONNECTICUT RIVER
HARTFORD CT
Aug 26, Sept 2nd & 23rd 1905

BRITISH 

MOTOR-BOAT INTERNATIONAL CUP

(HARMSWORTH TR.)
BAY OF BISCAY, ARACHON FRANCE
Sept 11-12, 1905

HUDSON RIVER WATER CARNIVAL
FOOT OF W. 97TH ST. N.Y.C.
Sept 13-16, 1905

VANDERBILT CUP 
SEAWANHAKA CORINTHIAN 

YACHT CLUB
OYSTER BAY, LONG ISLAND NY
Sept 20th 1905

RIVERTON YACHT CLUB REGATTA
DELAWARE RIVER, RIVERTON NJ
October 21st 1905

 

AND NOW FOR THE MAIN ATTRACTION

Now that we've taken a look at the beginnings of speed boat races in Palm Beach let's get to the main attraction. Rare would be an under statement for this 1925 poster...That's why when I spotted the eBay listing one morning on my first cup of coffee...everything came to a gradual halt as I began to realize  what I was looking at...I've been collecting these kinds of sports event posters about thirty five years and this is the only example of a speed boat race poster I've seen from this early on. Had I flown across the country to a high-brow book faire and found this I would go home feeling satisfied...And it gets better...I found video of the regatta I'm posting below...

 

As the many newspapers stories made it sound…the Palm Beach Washington’s Birthday Regatta was probably more about “being there” than the event itself. Of course there were a handful of actual sportsman there to win or see who wins….but I would speculate the event took on a life of it’s own to where most of the people were there just to see and be seen and party....And party they did...the accounts are very colorful...

 

 

 

Like all the rich...Palm Beach was their playground. 

 

If you study just the names of the owners of the race boats 

 

the Florida Auto Annual of 1905, a speed boat race in Palm Beach was held February 1st-4th of that year, and was called the "Motor Boat and Water Carnival". The event was produced by the "Palm Beach Power Boat Association"...which entity would be an interesting story by it's self... and was held under the auspices of the American Powerboat Association and codified under their rules. That 1905 date is very consistent with the beginning era of powerboat racing nationally...and internationally for that matter...as that is about when the sport was just taking off...and I would anticipate it was the first sanctioned and codified boat race in Palm Beach

 

 

 

W. Gould Brokaw

 

The race this poster announces most likely took place in 1925 and was produced by the Palm Beach Yacht Club. The event was referred to as the Palm Beach Yacht Club Speed-Boat Regatta, and was first held in 1923. 

 

 

 

To put this event into perspective let's hop-scotch around the country to see what were the powerboat race venues....

 

...And it gets even better...to add a very special feature to this story...if you can  believe it... I found video of the 1925 regatta of this poster I'm posting below...

 

 

 

baby gar yellow crp - copy.jpg (57513 bytes)

- SILENT ERA FILM FOOTAGE -

RARE GLIMPSE OF 1925 PALM 
BEACH SPEED-BOAT REGATTA
FEATURING GAR WOOD'S
- BABY GAR IV -

baby gar yellow left crp.jpg (65310 bytes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- SILENT ERA FILM FOOTAGE -

RARE GLIMPSE OF 1925 PALM 

BEACH SPEED-BOAT REGATTA

FEATURING GAR WOOD'S

- BABY GAR IV -

 

 

 

AN EXAMINATION OF THIS POSTER...AND A CURSORY LOOK

AT THE EARLY HISTORY OF POWERBOAT RACING IN PALM BEACH

by Carlton Hendricks

 

 

 

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