The History of Motor Boat Racing on Lake Winnipesaukee
During the 2013 season, the New Hampshire Boat Museum will host an exhibit on the history of motor boat racing on Lake Winnipesaukee. Starting in the 1920s, racing was held on the Lake thrilling thousands of spectators. Today, the New Hampshire Boat Museum continues that tradition with their biennial Vintage Race Boat Regatta. This year’s Regatta will be held September 13 and 14th at the Wolfeboro town docks. Over 60 race boats will run demonstration laps on the race course. The event is free and open to the public.
In honor of the 2013 Regatta, the New Hampshire Boat Museum will exhibit a number of vintage race boats dating from the late 1920s through the early 1960s.
Boyd Martin Step Hydroplane
This boat, called “The Bullet Senior”, dates from 1928 and was manufactured by the Boyd Martin Boat Company of Delphi, Indiana. These outboard step hydroplanes were among the “winningest” hydroplanes of the era. One of these hydroplanes won the coveted General Dawes Trophy in 1929. Boyd Martin hydroplanes have certain unusual features including the venturis located in the step, which was designed to direct air under the aft hull bottom. This increased their speed. The Boyd Martin on display at the Boat Museum is in its unrestored as-raced condition with the original kneeling cushion and hardware. It is powered by a 1928 Elto Speedster motor. The boat is on loan to the museum from Ted Valpey.
This boat is a replica of a 1931 12′ Century Cyclone. These stepped hull hydroplanes were produced by Century for racing from 1927 through 1939. During this time period, the Century Cyclones won the lion’s share of outboard racing events throughout the nation. Named the “Oh My IV”, this Cyclone has mahogany planked construction with canvas decks and is powered by a 1940s era Evindrude 4-60 “Speedifour racing motor”. Cyclones typically ranged in size from 10’6″ to 12’8″ depending on the racing class. The boat is on loan to the museum from Mark Mason.
Pigeon Race Boat
This 13′ 3-Star Pigeon race boat is one of the stars of the Boat Museum’s collection. Built in 1928, the boat is shown in its original, as-raced condition. The Pigeon Boat has a local connection and history. It was owned and raced by Elbridge Robie and it won the 1928 Lake Winnipesaukee Outboard Marathon. After its racing days were over, the boat was used continuously by the Robie and Walker families on Lake Wentworth through the early 2000s. After the death of Bruce Walker (Elbridge Robie’s stepson) the Pigeon was donated to the Museum by his widow, Dianne Walker.
This 1961 “266 class” 3-point hydroplane named Roman Candle is in fully restored as-raced condition. The hydroplane has an extensive racing history. Most recently, the boat has thrilled spectators at the New Hampshire Boat Museum’s 2009 and 2011 Regattas on Lake Winnipesaukee. The hydroplane is powered by a fuel injected 302 cubic inch engine. The boat will be on loan to the Boat Museum for the race boat exhibit, but will be removed for the 2013 Regatta to race again. Once the Regatta is over, it will return to the Boat Museum for exhibition. The boat is on loan from its owner Gerry Davidson.
Young boys often caught race boat fever and wanted to go fast on lakes in their own hydroplanes. The magazine Popular Science fueled that interest by providing a plan for an 8′ Mini-Max Hydroplane. The Boat Museum has one on display that was made in the early sixties. It is powered by a 10+ horsepower Mercury Hurricane motor. The boat has all its period-correct hardware. The Mini-Max was built locally and it has spent its life providing endless fun on Lake Wentworth. On loan from Zeke Bly.
Hacker Gold Cup Hydroplane
This boat, “Scotty” is a 1929 28′ Gold Cup hydroplane, designed and built by famous naval architect and builder, John Hacker at his boat yard in Clemmens, Michigan. Custom constructed for Sam Dunsford of Tuftonboro Neck, it was shipped by rail to Lakeport, NH where it was launched and towed to his estate on Lake Winnipesaukee and fitted with a Packard 6 cylinder Gold Cup engine of 625 cubic inches. With a three step hull design it ran in several events but its performance was unsatisfactory to Dunsford, hence in 1930 it was stored until his death in 1958. After changing hands several times, it was restored to its original configuration and has been displayed and run in several vintage raceboat events including Wolfeboro. The boat is on loan to the Museum from Mark Howard.
The New Hampshire Boat Museum will be open daily for the 2013 season from May 24 – October 14. The hours are Monday – Saturday, 10:00 – 4:00 and Sunday, noon – 4:00. The museum is located at 399 Center Street/Rt. 28 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.