By Martha Grimes
Shortly after the turn of the century, this area of the Thousand Islands hosted the fabulous Gold Cup Races nine times, in a span of ten years. An article published in a 1906 issue of The Motor Boat described the St. Lawrence River as “the home of the speedboat.” The Chippewa Yacht Club hosted the race from 1905 until 1908, but lacking their own clubhouse for entertaining, the race course was moved to the section of River between Alexandria Bay and Clayton. The Thousand Islands Yacht Club and the Frontenac Yacht Club were able to accommodate post-race socializing in their own club houses. Races were hosted by the Thousand Islands Yacht Club in 1909, 1910, 1912, and 1913, with the Frontenac Club doing the honors in 1911.
PDQ II, sponsored by the T.I. Yacht Club, erased the 1904 record of 23.6 mph set on the Hudson River by Standard, with the astonishing new record of 36.8 mph in the 1912 Gold Cup Race held in Alexandria Bay.
The 1930s and 40s heralded the arrival of crowd-pleasing regatta events featuring 135 cu. in. and 225 cu. in. inboards. Spectators lining the shores of Alexandria Bay were also treated to the thrilling maneuvers of outboard hydroplanes and service craft. Dr. Walter G. Robinson was a hometown favorite, who set records and won cups throughout the United States and Canada in his splashy 225 Hydroplane, Mr. Dockit. His speed of 83.00 mph shattered the 1941 world record of 73.170 mph set by Joseph Taggert on the five-mile course at St. Sulpice, Quebec in 1949.