The Inaugural Hearst and Stuart Trophy Regattas of 1904
By Randy Rogoski, Gull Lake Ice Yacht Club
Chapter One – A Regatta of National Importance
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the sport of ice yacht racing captured the public’s imagination. These
early ice yachts were hewn from solid massive timbers and were held together with iron hardware. The main sails
of these sloops were gaff-rigged. Bigger was thought to be faster. Crews of two or three men raced them, and
they were steered by a movable runner in the stern.
Sportsmen from different sections of the country sought to settle the question of who was fastest. Hotbeds of
iceboating activity at the time were in New Jersey on the Navesink River; New York along the Hudson River; Toledo,
Ohio on Lake Erie; the lakes of Madison, Wisconsin; and
In those early days of the industrial revolution, life moved at the pace of a horse or a steam engine. People in
different cities communicated by mail, or if they were in a hurry, by telegraph. Weather forecasting, long distance
telephone service and the automobile were in their infancy
Over one hundred years ago, the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club hosted the first regattas to compete for the Stuart and
Hearst trophies on Gull Lake.
D.C. Olin, one of the club’s founders and its commodore, was a principal organizer of the 1904 regattas. Under Olin’
s leadership, Gull Lake was one of the foremost ice yachting centers in the country.
The Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club boasted a clubhouse and a hanger for storing boats. The club built the huge ice
yacht Wolverine that carried 850 square feet of sail and was the second largest ice yacht in North America after the
Jack Frost of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. Because the KIYC was an outgrowth of a card-playing club, boats
were named after cards in veiled terms. Thus the club had the Storm King, Ice Queen and others.
Emil Fauerbach of Madison, Wisconsin was the other principal personality in the inaugural Hearst and Stuart
regattas. His father owned the Fauerbach Brewery, located on Lake Monona. Fauerbach worked there along with
his brothers. He devoted considerable time and resources to the sport and was a driving force in ice yachting in the
area. A number of loyal young ladies sent him off to the regatta with a lucky rabbit’s foot and their best wishes for
the success of his yacht, the Princess.
At the time, ice yachts were the fastest moving objects on the face of the earth. There was more excitement found
in ten minutes of ice sailing than found in many a long lifetime. Public interest was large, and newspaper and
magazine reports were extensive. We can thank the publishers of the time for making possible this detailed report
on the inaugural regattas in the colorful and dramatic language of the day.
In 1903, the owner of a company that sold patent medicine, F.A. Stuart, of Marshall, Michigan, gave a trophy for
international competition in ice yacht racing. A number of outside yachts traveled to Gull Lake for the event.
Unfavorable weather that season prevented the organizers of the Stuart regatta from completing it, and it was
called off until the next winter.
Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club commodore D.C. Olin received a telegram December 3, 1903. It was sent from
Washington, D.C. by the Honorable William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper publisher serving as a congressman
from New York. In his telegram, he formalized his offer of a trophy. Mr. Hearst gave the club the option to define
the series of races for the trophy competition. Already, the club had planned a regatta for January 19-23, 1904.
The trophy was considered to make the upcoming regatta and the club of national importance. The club rejoiced at
the news, and proceeded with their elaborate plans to host the event. Yachts from Canada, the East, elsewhere in
Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin were invited.
The Hearst trophy would be offered for international competition to ice yachts carrying not more than 450 square
feet of sail. The races would be 20 miles over a two-point windward leeward course, time limit not to exceed one
hour and 30 minutes, best three in five heats. The official program was published in the Kalamazoo Gazette the
next day, listing the schedule. The first race would be for the Hearst trophy. The second race for the Stuart
trophy, same course but a one hour 15 minute time limit. The third race for the Michigan State Championship,
open to Michigan yachts only. The fourth race would be a sweepstakes handicap race for prize money, and the fifth
race would be a consolation prize money “free for all” for yachts that had not won any prize.
On December 10, 1903 the host club commissioned O.M. Hepburn of Toledo to build a new yacht of the 450-foot
class expressly for the regatta. This craft would be named the HiLo, after their card playing tradition. Hepburn, a
builder of racing ice yachts with a national reputation, was instructed to spare no expense in its construction.
The December 1903 issue of Rudder magazine, featured an article by H. Percy Ashley, who said, “D.C. Olin has
done more to promote ice yacht racing and to bring the crack boats together to settle their relative speed question
than any ice yachtsman in the west. To his indefatigable and untiring efforts was the big meet arranged at Gull
Lake last winter … you can be rest assured that a hearty welcome will be extended to ice yachtsmen throughout
the world by the Kalamazoo club for their international races this winter.”
And so with their plans all made, the press properly worked, and the community behind them, they waited for it to
get cold. By Christmas day the big boats Wolverine and Joker were set up. On January 2, 1904 the club sailed
three fast and exciting races with many out of town yachts. The Gazette encouraged the locals to come out and
watch because the plan was to sail every day possible from now until the big regatta.
The organizers expected the New Jersey boats that summered over to compete in the regattas. These were the
Scud, and James C. Doughty’s Dreadnaught. They also received an entry from George J. Gillig and J. Siegel for
the Wizard, a boat built by Robert D. Chandler of Fair Haven.
They received entries for a number of new boats built just for the 1904 regattas. These were the Arctic from
Muskegon, owned by John Foalk and Peter and John Drake. N.B. Cook of Chicago built a boat on an all new plan,
it had four runners and was light, only 741 pounds. The Kalamazoo club also built the Pedro in addition to the HiLo.
Other out of town entries included the Tormentor and Zero from Muskegon; the Witch and North Wind from Toledo;
Pocahontas from Detroit; and Emil Fauerbach’s Princess.
Local area boats also entering were the Ice Queen, Storm King, Cracker Jack, Demon, Donna Marie, Georgie,
Surprise, Reindeer, Mercury, Ivah E., Snow Bird, Wing, and Cyclone. The Wolverine and the Joker, two local boats
of more than 450 square feet of sail area, were entered in just the Stuart International trophy regatta.
In the second week of January it began to snow heavily. On the 14th, Commodore Olin announced that the
regattas would be postponed one full week, now scheduled to run from Tuesday the 26th through Saturday the
30th. The storm got worse. Drifting snow made the roads impassable for the horse teams pulling wagons and
clogged the railway lines. Trains were delayed for hours and required two steam engines to get through. As soon
as the storm ended, the thaw set in and by the Sunday before the regattas were scheduled to resume, a cold wave
was wanted to firm up the ice. The Arctic arrived by rail car at Gull Lake on the 21st. The HiLo was expected to
arrive on the 25th, and telegrams were received from the yachtsmen of Red Bank saying they would arrive the next
day. The Hearst Trophy was still missing but a telegram announced that its photograph was on the way until the
engravers could ship it.
All were jubilant that the ice was in excellent condition and better than looked for. The club’s preparations were all
made, and large crowds were expected to witness the events. For this ice yacht regatta to be a complete success
in every way, all that would be needed was what the organizers could not control, cooperation from the weather.
To be continued ….
Chapter Two – All That’s Needed Is A Good Stiff Breeze
Some things about ice yacht regattas have not changed in 100 years. There has to be suitable ice for racing, and
enough wind for the boats to sail. When the organizers bring the competitors together, they all share the hope that
the conditions will be there at race time.
Tuesday January 26, 1904 arrived with the announcement that the regatta would be postponed one day. N.B.
Cook’s new yacht had not yet arrived from Chicago, and the Gull Lake branch of the Michigan Traction Company
interurban railroad was so congested that traffic was almost impossible. The railway superintendent promised that
the six-foot drifts closing the line would be cleared in time. Emil Fauerbach arrived from Madison with the Princess
and two assistants, A.F. Oakley and William Bernard, who built the yacht.
Headquarters for the regatta were established at the La Belle resort hotel. The resort was on the southeast side of
the lake just up the road from the Yorkville train station, and just south of Island Park. The races were set to start
promptly at two o’clock Wednesday afternoon. The ice on the lake was said to be rough in places, but would not
materially interfere with the races if there was sufficient breeze.
Wednesday morning the Drakes’ Arctic, Fauerbach’s Princess, the Witch from Toledo and D.C. Olin’s Wolverine
were out for some trial spins. During the afternoon the breeze was so light that all the boats were compelled to stop
sailing, except the Princess. D.C. Olin was so enthusiastic that he ventured to the extreme upper end of the lake
and became mixed up with a snowdrift. The genial commodore had a long walk back to the hotel, arriving just in
time for dinner. It was a jolly bunch of sportsmen who assembled to witness and participate in the regatta and
there were no dull moments to mar the pleasure of the occasion. When not busily engaged in tuning up their
yachts or taking trial spins around the lake, the yachtsmen spent their time absorbing the heat from the hotel coal
stove or indulging in the variety of good cheer which comes in quart sizes. They decided to attempt to start the first
race the next morning at ten o’clock.
Again they did not have enough wind to start a race on Thursday. In spite of the weather disappointments, the
sportsmen planned all manner of entertainments to occupy the hours which otherwise would become monotonous.
During the afternoon the yachts were trimmed up in their gayest colors on a day ideal for the operation of a
camera, and individual pictures of the boats and their crews were taken by the official photographer, F. W.
Nicholson of Jackson, Michigan. Emil Fauerbach entertained the bunch gathered around the coal stove that
afternoon with a number of startling feats of magic. Everyone participated in songs, dances and music galore.
They amused one another with various antics and tall tales. There was talk of a “steam ice tug” for hauling back
yachts stranded when the wind went calm. Commodore Olin stated that a good breeze was all that was necessary
to start the first race of the international regatta.
Friday there was still nothing doing with the wind. They measured the yachts. A barbershop was set up at the
hotel and everyone’s whiskers were trimmed to the required quarter inch length. The Stuart trophy arrived and
was put on display in the hotel lobby.
The Red Bank, New Jersey crowd, the Chicago yacht, and the Hearst trophy still numbered among the missing.
Then a press dispatch arrived saying the Red Bank crowd was participating in a regatta on the old Shrewsbury
River, explaining their absence. To fend off discouragement, practical jokes were played. It turned out that the
“steam ice tug” was just Commodore Olin pulling the leg of Mr. Flint, the newspaper reporter covering the regatta.
The nearest approach to a steam ice tug was a team of horses which pulled the Wolverine, Pedro, and Witch back
to the club anchorage after being stranded at the upper end of the lake earlier in the week.
The front page of the Morning Kalamazoo Gazette for January 30, 1904 featured a cartoon drawing. The mythical
long sleeping character Rip Van Winkle was looking at a sign that read, “January 1924, The Ice Yacht Races are
Postponed. No wind. Too much snow. Boats not here.” In the caption, old Rip says, “Well, here’s one thing that
Meanwhile out at old Gull, Saturday morning dawned with the stiff breeze all had been waiting for. A snowfall
during the last evening slowed the ice, but after a trial spin before the start, it was decided not to change the time
limit. The starting gun of the first Hearst International Challenge Cup race was fired at 11:08. The race was over a
20-mile, two-point course of four laps, and was easily won by Emil Fauerbach’s trim and speedy little yacht, the
Princess, which covered the course in 52 minutes and 25 seconds. The Hilo was second in 56:19. The Arctic of
Muskegon was third in 58:15. The Pedro, Zero, and North Wind followed. The Dreadnaught did not finish.
The Princess led the other yachts from the starting line and outsailed her opponents at every point of the course.
The Princess was sailed by Wm. Bernard, and A.F. Oakley. Commodore Olin handled the Hilo, and the Arctic was
sailed by the Drake brothers.
The first heat was finished just before noon and after the yachtsmen received numerous congratulations and the
usual jollies, the whole bunch adjourned to the hotel where a big dinner awaited them. To say that they cleaned up
everything in sight would be putting it mildly, for there is no sport which creates such a ferocious appetite as ice-
After dinner it was decided that the first heat of the Stuart championship race would be sailed and the yachts
entered for this race left the club anchorage at 1:30 in the afternoon and sailed to the upper end of the lake.
When the boats finally got ready to line up for the contest it was discovered that the necessary breeze to sail the
race was lacking and at three o’clock the contest was declared off to a breezier day.
The Princess clearly demonstrated her claim to be the representative western yacht and her list of admirers greatly
increased since the race of the morning. There were many sportsmen willing to wager that both the Stuart and
Hearst trophies would be carried back to Madison by Emil Fauerbach.
On Sunday there was snow and enough breeze to sail the yachts but no races were held. Many of the boats were
out for pleasure spins, but the snow was so deep that the sailing was not enjoyed. It is estimated that nearly 500
persons from Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and other towns surrounding the lake were out to take a look at the big fleet
of ice yachts. Everyone seemed pleased with the Princess, the winner of Saturday’s race. Emil Fauerbach was
kept busy during the afternoon giving the yacht’s admirers an opportunity to test her sailing qualities. The new
boats of the local club received many favorable comments and they made a good showing Sunday as they circled
around the lake.
Monday February 1st the weather took a turn for the worse. The crews of the out of town yachts went home by
train, but good conditions returned and they were notified to come back in time to resume racing on Wednesday
But poor wind prevented the sailing of the first heat of the Stuart trophy race that Wednesday. Seven boats started
with a good breeze just before noon, but it went down before 15 miles had been covered. Wolverine was in the
lead of its nearest competitor, Princess, when the wind failed. The next days’ hopes were also dashed by
Friday there was nothing doing to relieve the monotony and attempts to sail were met with having to push back.
Talk around the coal stove at La Belle turned to sailing stories from other lakes, and about changing from a two-
point course to three. Some of the locals revealed their plans in the works for the last month to form a new ice
yacht club on Gull Lake. They were endeavoring to make arrangements with William Bernard to build several
yachts on the same style as the Princess.
Saturday the 13th of February the second heat of the Hearst trophy race was concluded. HiLo was first in a time of
58:53. Pedro was second in 61:16, closely followed by the Princess in third in 61:50. The Arctic broke down and
did not finish. Also sailing and not finishing were Reindeer, North Wind, and Georgie.
That Sunday another large delegation of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek people were out to witness the white-winged
flyers spin around the lake. Rather than race on Sunday, the yachtsmen kept busy nearly all day treating the
uninitiated visitors to rides in their boats.
A month after the regatta was scheduled to begin, things were moving at the pace of one completed race every two
weeks. At that rate, they just might need the rest of the winter to finish the event.
To be continued …
Chapter Three - Misunderstanding or Scandal?
The world was a very different place 100 years ago. Prominent members of the community were local celebrities,
and when they went iceboating it was news for the society pages. In those days iceboating sold newspapers
regardless of whether they actually sailed.
Monday February 15, 1904 Commodore D.C. Olin and his gallant band of sportsmen claimed the honor of
discovering the North Pole. The discovery was made that morning when an expedition was fitted out to investigate
the conditions for the proposed course to sail the third heat of the Hearst International Championship race. They
had no sooner ventured to leave the protecting warmth of the hotel coal stove than it was discovered there was
something doing in the weather line. The balmy breezes which swept across the snow-covered surface of old Gull
caused their teeth to chatter like the patter of hail stones on a tin roof, and large-size shivers played tag up and
down their spinal columns. When they reached the first point of the race course the mercury in the thermometer fell
with such rapidity that it broke the glass bulb of the instrument, dropped through the ice, and disappeared beneath
the beautiful blue water. The sportsmen came to the conclusion that this must be where the North Pole should be
located. A flag was hoisted and a feeble cheer broke the silence of frozen solitude as the band of heroes hastened
back to the hotel to relate their discovery, tell cold weather tales and drink to the success of the expedition.
Needless to say, it was decided that it was too cold and the wind too strong to continue the regatta that day. The
next day was also too cold to venture onto the lake. The races would continue when the weather moderated.
The next day it did. No attempt was made to sail the race in the morning, owing to the extreme coldness, but on that
Wednesday afternoon it was decided to start the third heat of the Hearst trophy race. The wind was not very
strong, but it was thought the race could be finished within the time limit, and it probably would have had the breeze
not died down shortly after the race started. The crowd of spectators was very small, as many doubtless believed
the weather too severe to permit the sailing of any race. There were five starters that day: Princess, HiLo, Pedro,
Arctic and Dreadnaught. At 3:05 the starting signal was given and the boats quickly got under way, the Princess
taking the lead from the first and being nearly three minutes ahead of the HiLo when the race was called off on the
Thursday the races were again postponed. While there was snow on the lake, it was not sufficient to prevent the
sailing of the yachts if only the wind was strong enough.
Friday the long expected Hearst trophy finally arrived. It was placed on exhibition at the commodore's jewelry store,
Olin, White & Olin. The trophy was a pretty silver loving cup with a gold lining. On one side the cup was engraved,
"Hearst International Challenge Cup for the 450-foot class." On the other side, "Presented to the Ice Yachtsmen of
America by William Randolph Hearst, 1904." A number of pretty designs of ice yachts also appeared on the cup.
The trophy was to be taken out to Gull Lake that afternoon and placed on the shelf already arranged for it at the
La Belle resort.
By Sunday, there was six and a half inches of snow on the ice, and by Tuesday, February 23rd, it was wet and
heavy. The Princess and the Arctic were taken down and packed on rail cars for shipment and their crews went
Then ice conditions improved and it was announced the races would resume on Friday March 4th. The Michigan
Championship races were to be sailed first if the weather was favorable, because the club was waiting for the
outside yachtsmen to return. The Hearst and Stuart trophy races would not be sailed until Monday. This was done
in order to give Emil Fauerbach and his skippers a chance to set up the Princess and tune her up in time to
compete in the international races. Fauerbach had been notified and was expected to arrive in the city that night.
But Friday and Saturday there wasn't enough wind, and they did not race on Sundays. It started to thaw, and then
it rained. The ice was getting better and better, and by Monday was as smooth as glass. But by Tuesday, the ice
was so mushy they could not sail. The yachtsmen gathered were disappointed. If a cold wave did not make an
appearance before the week closed, they would be compelled to pack their boats and store them until the next
Then the weather turned and Thursday morning March 10, 1904 the Hearst trophy races were completed. There
was a strong and steady breeze; one of the finest ever experienced at Gull Lake. Two inches of snow ice lay atop
the solid ice.
At 8:25 in the morning, three yachts got underway. The HiLo, Pedro and Arctic rounded the home buoy and sped
down the lake. The Arctic was obliged to reef her sails on account of the stiff wind, but she dug into the snow ice so
badly that she dropped out of the race. The HiLo gained steadily on Pedro every lap and crossed the finish lines
with flying colors one minute ahead in a time of 54:30. Shortly after the first heat was finished the second one was
called. The Hilo won the heat and the Hearst cup with a time of 55 minutes flat. The Pedro finished second with a
time of 55:30. Arctic did not finish.
The HiLo was sailed by Frank Folsom of Marine City, just north of Lake St. Clair and Detroit. Commodore D.C. Olin
was in charge of the Pedro. Both of these yachts were owned by the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club.
Emil Fauerbach was not present, although the papers reported he had been notified that the regatta would
resume. He said he would be on hand Monday. He did not appear, and sent no word.
Saturday March 12, 1904 turned out to be the day all had been waiting for. The ice was in excellent condition with a
northeast breeze freshening throughout the day. The spider-bodied flyers at Gull Lake displayed their supremacy
of the world and shattered the fastest records ever boasted by an Erie, Hudson River, or New Jersey club. In world-
record-breaking time, Wolverine, the boss boat of the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club carried away the Stuart trophy.
She completed the circuit of 20 miles over a difficult two-point course in the unparalleled time of 42 minutes. Joker
finished second in 46 minutes flat. Dreadnaught finished six minutes behind Wolverine.
The sensational close of the ice yachting season covered a multitude of windless days at deceiving Gull. With the
world record smashing spin of the great A-class Wolverine, the name and fame of Gull Lake as an ice yachting
center was secured. The season closed with two international trophy cups resting in the hands of the Kalamazoo
Ice Yacht Club. The winning of the cups cinched another season of magnificent sport at Gull.
Meanwhile back in Madison, the Princess crew was most unhappy. The Madison Democrat newspaper reported,
"Princess Cheated Out Of Trophy." The story alleged the yacht races were held without notifying the Madison men.
That paper stated that Fauerbach was misled by the letter stating that the races would be held for the Michigan
Championship. It was reported the Kalamazoo club feared the Madison yacht.
The Wisconsin State Journal stated that the "Easterners are Poor Sports." Mr. Bernard, the builder of the Princess,
was quoted as saying that the easterners had taken advantage of them. To many in Wisconsin, it appeared to be a
game of "freeze out," the eastern yachtsmen realizing the only way to retain their prestige was to keep the Princess
out of the race. "The very fact that he came to Madison and left his boat at Gull Lake proved that he intended to
return east as soon as he was notified the races were on again."
So while they were rejoicing in Kalamazoo, those in Madison considered themselves victims of a scandal. It is clear
from the race reports that the Princess was fast, especially in light air. She won the first Hearst race, and led races
abandoned for failing to meet the time limit. The Kalamazoo Gazette projected the Princess to win both the Hearst
and Stuart trophies. This must have concerned the enthusiasts at Gull Lake who clearly wanted to win the races
and secure the two magnificent trophies for their club. Yet the Gazette reported March 3rd that Fauerbach had
been notified the races were set to resume.
Now that 100 years have passed since the first Hearst and Stuart trophy regattas were completed, we will never
know why Emil Fauerbach did not return to Gull Lake that March. He did return to Gull Lake for the third Hearst
regatta in 1914 with the Princess II, and won the event. He died the next year at the age of 45.
These early ice yachtsmen went to great effort to organize an event that attracted national attention. When they
had ice, they lost 12 days to lack of sufficient wind to sail or too much cold. From when the event was originally
scheduled, they endured seven weeks of postponements and much frustration and disappointment to finish the
regattas. As a reward for their persistence on that Saturday they had the kind of big time sailing day that has kept
ice yachtsmen coming back to their frozen sailing grounds year after year.
The following clippings from the Kalamazoo Gazette followed the progress of the
Regatta in Randy's story above.
January 5, 1904
January 26, 1904