World’s Record holder and Fastest Speedboat 1911 Smoke on the Water

fastest speedboat Dixie IV

Dixie setting the record at 45.22 MPH in 1911

Here is the punch line. This photo shows Dixie IV setting the official world’s speedboat record in 1911 off Huntington, NY.

The rest of the story is here…

Dixie IV set the world’s record for speed on the water in during the Mile Trials held with the competition for the Harmsworth Trophy contest for 1911, on Long Island Sound. The photo shows her at full speed off Huntington, Long Island. Dixie IV had come to the contest after losing that year’s Gold Cup, which had been raced on the St. Lawrence River to her competitor, MIT II. Dixie IV failed to start for the final heat due to a spun bearing in that month’s earlier race series in July, 1911.

It is interesting that two premiere powerboat races were held on New York Waterways back before World War I.

Dixie IV was 39’ 6” long with a beam of 7’. She had two V-8s built by Henry M. Crane rated at 250 Horse Power plus for each engine. Both engines were almost in line, front to back, but canted slightly outboard if one looked down from above such that the two props were spaced apart, side by side, but with the engines looking as if they were in line with each other. The front engine had a starter, but the rear engine was started by engaging a driveline clutch after the boat got up to a 30 MPH boat speed, where the spinning port prop got the rear engine to start running. She had this very different arrangement in attempt to fit lots of engine power within a narrow hull. The hull bottom was single planked with 1” thick Mahogany on closely spaced framing. Dixie IV was built by Staten Island Shipbuilding earlier that spring.

The driver sat high at the stern to see over the spray. Each engine carried its own mechanic during the race and often an extra person was onboard to navigate.

This boat had a short career. She was destroyed in a bad crash into some shoreline rocks after she went out of control in a September, 1911 race in Buffalo, NY.

race boat Dixie IV at rest

Single step Hydroplane 1911 record holder Race Boat

Leave a Reply