Saturday, September 10, 2016

Yacht Vingt et Une, 1903

D.W. Fostle, Speedboat, Mystic Seaport Museum 1988
To the powerboat industry used to steam, naptha, and primitive marine gasoline engines, the development of the gasoline auto engine in the late 1890s offered great new possibilities. 
 The Vingt et Une, powered by a 21 hp four cylinder Simplex automobile engine, claimed the unheard-of speed of 26 miles per hour for a nautical mile at the Palisades Boat Club in NY on November 5 1903. Its 30 foot hull, with a beam of 3' 10", and constructed of 5/16" mahogany over 1/2" oak ribs, weighed only 390 lbs. The total dry weight was recorded as 810 lbs.
 Though already known in France, this was one of the first recorded uses in the USA of the nautical use of a car engine and it started a whole new class of small easily-operated powerboats.

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