Turn of the century Irish Motor racing boats.

Probably one of the most famous motor boat racing cups is undoubtedly the Harmsworth Cup. Mostly associated with the feats of Gar Wood and the Solent it was in fact first run in Cork Harbour in 1903 and won by Dorothy Levitt, Campbell Muir and S.F. Edge in Napier.

 Napier was designed by Linton Hope who also designed the Belfast Lough One Design “Fairy” class. He also designed the Belfast Lough “Jewel” class which I’m trying to get more information on. What’s this all got to do with Roeboats you ask. Well I’m always interested in powerboats that are moderately fast with the least amount of horsepower and these boats are very good examples of this. 70 horsepower was pretty much the maximum available at the time so the hull forms had to be very efficient. But what really prompted this post was Scolopendra and the current efforts of members of the Powerboat.ie forum to put a syndicate together and return her to Ireland.

Here’s a photo of  Scolpendra which is currently in Canada where she is undergoing a restoration. But there’s more; months ago I came across the the National Library of Irelands online digital collection and of course I started searching looking for information on boats and I came across a very interesting collection of photos from Waterford.

classic powerboat racing in Ireland

They are a series of photos of a motor boat race or races that took place on the river just below Rice bridge. But there was one boat in particular which really grabbed my attention.

What a beauty! She was the last vessel built at the Neptune shipyard in Waterford in 1882. The Maritana was 77ft long, weighed 30 tons and was built for Thomas Leger Atkins. She was one of the most elegant yachts of her day and won the prize for her elegance at the Cowes Regatta in 1884.

Now that’s a yacht that just begs to be recreated just think of what it would be like to cruise in a beautiful boat like this. You could have it steam driven; but for less smoke and just as quiet a modern electric or diesel electric power system would make a lot of sense. You won’t be able to land a helicopter on it but who really needs one of those dangerous and noisy contraptions. If you would like your dream boat built give me a call +353 86 158 6937.

Roeboats, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, t:+353 (0)28 38973 m: +353 (0)86 158 69 37 e:roeboats@ymail.com

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