Gold Cup – 1962 – What A Day

2 Aug

Fifty years ago – the biggest prize in boat racing was up for grabs on Lake Washington – The APBA Gold Cup.

Here are a few graphs from Bruce Calhoun from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat:

The sky was gray. The 15-knot wind was cold. For the first time since unlimited Hydro racing came to Seattle in 1951 the weatherman served a menu other than what might be called ideal fare for thousands of hydro-maniacs. There was one warming trend-one bright light, however. Bill Muncey driving Miss Century 21 in his usual cool calculated manner won all three heats to total 1,200 points and take home the famous Gold Cup for the fourth time.

In a day of forced delays, postponements, re-run heats, questioned decisions and mishaps, the one thing about which there was no doubt was a sure and solid victory for driver Muncey, owner Willard Rhodes, the hard working crew and the boat that didn’t quit running. Miss Century 21, formerly Miss Thriftway, has started and Successfully finished 47 consecutive heats of competition in the past three seasons of racing.

There were between 250,000 and 300,000 people on hand to cheer their favorites on. The spectacle also provided the largest concentration of pleasure boats for any single aquatic event. The log boom on the east side of the race course furnished moorage to 1,130 boats containing an estimated 11,650 hydro fans.

In addition to seeing Muncey win the cup, spectators were also served up a couple of thrills in the form of disintegrating and burning boats. Dallas Sartz in Miss Seattle Too bounced across a couple of waves in 1-A, dug the right sponson in hard and turned a part of the boat into matchwood in a spectacular combination of geysering water, debris and fancy high diving by Sartz himself. He fortunately came out of it all with only a broken leg and minor lacerations.

In the first running of Heat 1-B Chuck Hickling in Tempest had a near miss when his engine blew and started a fire. The Coast Guard helicopter plucked Hickling out of danger unharmed but his boat burned fiercely for several minutes.

Twenty minutes and 19 seconds after the start of the final heat the last boat crossed the line and Bill Muncey in Miss Century 21 had won his fourth Gold Cup race to accomplish what hasn’t been done since the days of Gar Wood.

Second to Muncey was Ron Musson in Miss Bardahl with 925 points.


The race was contested from noon-8 p.m. The final started at 7:40 p.m.

It took 4 hours and 10 minutes before one full heat was completed.

The course was 3-miles in distance, at the heats were 10 laps. 90 miles total. This was the last year Seattle had a 90-mile race.

Twelve boats qualified for the race – Miss Century 21, Miss Bardahl, Notre Dame, Miss U.S. I, Such Crust IV, Miss Madison, Gale VII, Gale V, Fascination, Tahoe Miss, Tempest, Miss Seattle Too.


“This has been a pretty confusing race. All this might happen in a year of racing, but when it happens in a day, it’s pretty good,” said Lee Schoenith.

“There are some things I don’t like about it,” said Muncey about driving for owner William Rhodes (since 1955). “I don’t want to give them a chance to say Century 21 got whipped. I don’t like banging old Bill around. So I’m only 33. But this is my 19th year of racing. I’ve got back trouble, kidney trouble … and race like today gets me down, too.”


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