El Lagarto mahogany stepped hydroplane Race Boat

mahogany wooden oak framed copper rivet runabout race boat photo image

El Lagarto (spainish for "The Lizard") wood race boat

This is an 26’ exacting example of the bright finished and copper riveted boat, El Lagarto, which has an outstanding racing record. She won the Gold Cup three times, the Presidents Cup three times, the National Sweepstakes twice, and other racing awards and recognitions. She was first raced in 1922 and only retired from active competition after racing for the 1937 season.

While her racing record was made while she was under the ownership and driving of George Reis, a long time resident of the Bolton Landing area of Lake George, NY, she was built as Miss Mary for another owner. He used a 150 horsepower at first, then re-powered her with a 200 horsepower engine. With the 200 Hp. she was a 44mph runabout, but not a race winner.

mahogany wooden runabout race boat

Foredeck of a wood Racer

Reis took her to his home on the shoreline of Lake George in 1925 and he massaged the boat and motor over the years. By 1928, he had put in a 275 Hp Packard engine. Then, in 1931, he completely re-did the boat’s bottom with a series of ¾” high shingles and after-of-the-shingle controllable dual vents that allowed the vacuum to be released that the steps created. Now El Lagarto no longer was a mild mannered runabout, but a leaping Lizard. She was also a 63 mph race boat.

Further engine and fuel changes made the boat faster yet. Her final engine was a 732 cubic. inch Curtiss D 12 aviation engine burning a fuel cocktail. She set a competition record at 72.727 mph with this set-up.

wood runabout  gold cup winning race boat photo image

look at the copper rivets in this boat photo

As an aside, on a race course the boat was turned left tight to the buoys by closing all the left side vents and then she showed the highest straightaway speed with all the vents open on both sides.

The boat shown here was designed by John L. Hacker and built by the Fish Brothers, of Queensbury, NY, http://fishcustomboats.com/ which is near Lake George. I have seen some records that suggest that she was last sold in the 2010 time frame powered with a 500 Hp Chevy engine for just under $200,000.

496 chevy engine race boat photo

note the engine and then the hull battens

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