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by Sidney S. Breese - Motorboat. v.17, March 10, 1920, pp. 16-17.

Back in the days when fifteen miles an hour was considered fast going and was even more likely than it is today to be called twenty by the enthusiastic owner of the boat that could do it, I was bitten with the idea that the proper way to get speed was to build a boat that would go over the water rather than through it. A very little research showed that, as usual with original ideas, this particular one was quite old and had occurred to many others before me who had patented craft of various kinds in which the basic principle was that of the modern hydroplane.

The first scientific investigation of the subject had been made by Froude for the British Admiralty, which in turn had been interested in the principle by a clergyman called Ramus some time in the sixties. It was also found that though many men had conceived the idea of a gliding boat, no one, so far as could be ascertained, had built one that really demonstrated the soundness of the principle with the exception of a Frenchman who had built one or two very small and wholly impractical twelve-foot single-step scows powered with a two-cylinder V motor.

Nothing apparently had been done in the United States, so I set out hopefully, and to the amusement of the community, to see what could be done. A few model experiments soon showed what, in general, promised to be the best type as a starter. The powerplant, a 30 hp. Simplex motor weighing 850 lbs., was chosen because it could be had for the cost of re covering it from a burned launch, which was lying on the bottom of the river and fixing it up. With this as a basis the design shown in the illustration was worked up in the autumn of 1908 and construction undertaken during the same winter. My model experiments had shown very clearly that unless the weight per horsepower was very low the chances of get ting the boat to plane with the weights carried far forward were pretty slim. This and the necessity of getting the greatest possible propeller efficiency led me to use the chain drive arrangement as shown. That it was efiicient is the principal reason, in view of later experience, that can be advanced for the success of this boat. Although the engine never turned up in the boat over 900 r. p. m., which gave at most 28 hp., the craft got up to planing speed in a few seconds without any of the ploughing and squatting so common in many later hydroplanes and really did make slightly over 23 m. p. h. Owing to the weight of the motor everything else about the boat had to be of the lightest possible form, which accounts for the very low sides and form generally. It was nothing but a bottom with the minimum amount of wood above it necessary to keep afloat. A modern motor of say 10 lb. per hp. would have permitted a far more sea worthy type of hull with even a lower total weight.

She anticipated the modern practice of placing motor in stern with forward drive.

With a heavy old Simplex motor develop ing about 28 hp. she did 23 miles an hour. and planed at a fine angle of trim.

The skeptics who had been watching the building of the craft, making jokes and advancing many more or less (principally less) sound reasons why it couldn't possibly go were very much surprised to see us running up and down the waterfront, a few minutes after launching at a speed that was variously reported at from 25 to 35 miles an hour. Actually we did slightly under 20 and a subsequent shifting of the motor a little far ther forward improved the planing angle and gave us our 23 miles. This boat was used for two years as a runabout on the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake near Havre de Grace and was finally swamped when the motor stalled in a tide rip on a very windy, rough day late in December, resulting in a very uncomfortable hour for the owner and guest, who were finally rescued by a fisherman, who "allus did know young Breese was a fool and was a goin' to git drowned in his fool contraptions."

The photographs clearly show that this boat got up on the steps, planed with very little change of trim and generally acted as a well behaved hydro should. As far as I know this was the first successful hydroplane in this country and I feel quite sure the first example of the engine being placed in the stern, now an almost universal practice in gliding boats. The tractor propeller, as remarked above, must have been very efiicient, for certainly the chain drive, although carried on ball bearings throughout, must have used considerable power owing to the necessarily small diameter of the sprock ets. An interesting point about the propeller was the fact that the slip was but 10 per cent, being considerably lower than on any boat I have since known anything about.

Unfortunately, this boat was built and run at a place where no one who could take an intelligent interest in it ever saw it and the few motor boat people to whom I spoke of it when in New York merely looked at me compassionately and doubted my word, politely but sincerely, so sincerely, in fact, that it was not till the summer of 1911 that I could persuade anyone to go into the building of another boat, and by that time the reports from abroad of performances at Monaco and elsewhere were so convincing that several hastily built gliders of various types showed up for the national carnival at Huntington.

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