Jazz Vintage 1912 Wooden Hydroplane

Jazz – A 1912 Hydroplane Re-appears

15th March 2020

Our First Boat Article Post

One feature of our new website blog is that we are going to be reviving old articles from CMBA magazines in years gone by. Looking through the pile of great, historic content that Keith Burgess supplied me with, there was one magazine in particular that caught my eye. The Spring 2003, Issue No 20 of our club magazine. I immediately recognised the boat “Jazz” on the front cover,  having recently seen it appear on Facebook.

The Elephant Boatyard in Southampton had recently taken Jazz in for some work and posted a couple of videos on their Facebook page of her running, one of which you can find here: Elephant Boatyard – Jazz 1912 Hydroplane Facebook Video.

It’s great to see that the boat is still around and being well looked after! Below you can find the 2003 article by John Hewett which gives some history on Jazz.

The 2003 Article

“Originally built for the Royal Motor Club restricted class for racing motorboats – the class was set up in 1911 (maximum length 22ft, engine 4 litres), and by 1912 there were approx. 6 boats of various types constructed.

At the start of 1912, a series of 3 single step hydroplanes were designed by Mr Montague Batting, under Thorneycraft licence. These hulls were built by Morgan Giles & May in Hammersmith, fitted out by Hesse & Savory, Teddington, and then sent for trials at Morgan & Giles, Southampton.

These three boats were fitted with racing engines specifically designed by Vauxhall Motors for this class – they were 4 cylinder, 4 litre and named the A10 Marine. The engine was later developed for the Vauxhall 30-98 sports car.

The boats raced during 1912 and 1913 and were interrupted by The Great War. In 1924, Donald Rowe bought Jazz from a Mr Campbell Farrer (via the Berthon Boat Company). Rowe spent time and money rebuilding the boat and engine, and raced it around Southampton in the 1920’s and 30’s and carefully looked after it until 1967, when it was bought by Mr Alan Betteridge, who had a garage in Southampton and owned very interesting vintage and veteran cars. Betteridge did more restoration, and entered Jazz for the 1986 Daily Express Bollinger Trophy around the Isle of Wight, after which it was kept in his garage until 1997, when he became ill and I bought it.

Steve Mills did a good job checking over the hull, and I went through the engine – both were in very good shape – the engine still has its original lightweight cast iron racing pistons. Since then Jazz has been used at classic boat events in Monaco, Como, Aix le Bains, and is in retirement at the Classic Boat Museum on the Isle of Wight.

The boat runs well, starts well and its surprisingly watertight considering its age and very light construction, but some of its handling characteristics at speed are somewhat interesting – they were originally designed to do over 30 knots – and have no reverse gear.

If anybody has any further knowledge of Jazz’s history I would be very interested to hear. John Hewett.”


Do You Remember Jazz?

Do you remember seeing Jazz running at any CMBA events or have any further history? It would be great to learn some more history of this lovely old hydroplane. If so why not head to our Forum and share any information or pictures you might have.


Blog post by Dan Lee.