1949 Harmsworth Trophy
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 23-August 1, 1949
Dodge Threatens Harmsworth Rift
To Withdraw Boat My Sweetie if Race Officials vote to Replace Him as Pilot
By Clarence E. Lovejoy
A major-sized rumpus in speedboat circles appeared yesterday to threaten a serious rift in the United States defense of the famous Harmsworth trophy, scheduled only three days hence, on Friday and Saturday, at Detroit.
Major Horace E. Dodge, in New York for a couple of days on business but returning to Detroit today, said with a good deal of vehemence: "If the selection committee votes to replace me with another pilot I shall withdraw My Sweetie as a Harmsworth defender."
Dispatches yesterday from Detroit, where My Sweetie qualified Saturday in third place for the United States team of three defending boats, quoted Chairman Chester Ricker of the selection committee as "far from satisfied with Dodge's performance: we hope that Dodge will step down and allow Bill Cantrell to take over the pilot's seat."
On Saturday Major Dodge did one qualifying seven-mile lap in 89.728 miles and hour, the other in 85.495, and his average was scored at 87.561. The first two boats ostensibly selected were Jack Schafer's Such Crust I with Dan Arena driving at an average speed of 97.44 and R. Stanley Dollar, Jr.'s Skip-A-Long which averaged 94.296.
Praised by Friends
Friends of Major Dodge heaped praise on him after this Detroit performance. He had purchased My Sweetie early last week after three craft he had built for the Harmsworth proved disappointing, and in a strange boat, and on a new dog-leg river course that required steering through 110-foot bridge arches twice on each lap, his speeds were regarded as remarkable for a man out of practice in speed boats for the last dozen years.
Before the elimination trials it had been suggested in Detroit that Dodge step down and give the steering wheel to "Wild Bill" Cantrell of Louisville, the man who had won the 1949 Gold Cup in My Sweetie on July 2. But Dodge thought otherwise.
One of the veterans in speed boating, Dodge has probably spent more of his millions on fast craft than any other sportsman, more even than Gar Wood in this country, and his ambition is to take over the Harmsworth mantle, now that Wood has withdrawn from competition.
After the trials he found the fuel-enricher on his instrument panel was not functioning and that he had made his runs with a lean mixture. He implied there might be another ten miles of added speed.
Two Alternates Ready
If the committee between now and Friday, when Harold Wilson's Miss Canada IV from Ingersoll, Ont., appears for the first Harmsworth challenge since 1933, rules against Dodge and if he withdraws Miss Sweetie, [sic] the third ship on the United States team would be either Schafer's Such Crust II or Henry J. Kaiser's Aluminum First, with Gibson Bradfield driving.
These place fourth and fifth in the eliminations. Such Crust II was timed at an average speed of 80.641 and the Kaiser entry at about 72 m.p.h.
One of Major Dodge's business matters in New York yesterday was to supervise the commissioning on Aug. 2 of his 257-foot yacht Delphine now at the Todd Brooklyn basin. This ocean-goer, which carries a crew of forty, was taken over by the Navy during World War II and served as the Potomac headquarters at Washington for Admiral Ernest King.
Repurchased from the Navy and restored to yacht-like uses and equipment during the past few months, Delphine will be taken to Detroit via the mouth of the St. Lawrence this month and on a south American cruise later in the year.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, July 26, 1949)
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