By Kevin Bamerick, Rudder Race Boat Historian, and Thousand Islands Chapter Member

     The 1930 City Directory for Petoskey described the northern MI city as the “hub of the Little Traverse Bay resort region.”   One of the region’s tourist attractions was the annual outboard motor boat championship races with views from the limestone cliff bluffs and waterfront park.  Speed boat events were held on Crooked Lake, Burt Lake, Mullet Lake and Little Traverse Bay.  These O/B racers, called water flivvers, included Herbert Franklin ‘Hub’ Myers.  

     Myers represented the Charlevoix Boat Club in piloting his M-502 ‘LITTLE AMERICA’ in a Century Cyclone, class C hull powered by a Caille outboard motor. Caille Motor Co. of Detroit advertised its motor could be “taken apart like a shot gun.”  Motor Boating magazine (April 1930) photographed Myers standing in white overalls and cradling in his arms his Caille Streak outboard motor base.

    Hub was a gas engine mechanic.  His grease monkey crouch in the cockpit jockeyed the attention of the Century Boat Works of Manistee “in the heart of vacationland.”  He became their publicity manager for the “builders of the fastest outboard hydroplanes.”  Racing hulls for the Midget, Cyclone and Hurricane. Cyclone advertised as a “sure investment in flashing, winning speed.”   

     Century credited its hull “strength, durability and light weight” to its Philippine Islands mahogany imported by Black & Yates of NYC. The hull’s underside finish was coated with BAKELITE of NY synthetic resin varnish. The same alcohol proof varnish applied to the outboard lower unit.  Myers lubricated with Galena gear oil which advertised as “friction’s foremost foe.”   

     Century production foreman M. Roy Brady raced flyer M-501 Century-Elto (OMC) motor.  Myers M-502 Hurricane-Evinrude competed in classes D & E for over 50 mph. Hub’s tail spray took the pole lead in taking the checkered flag in the state and countrywide.  His hip bones raw from polishing the cockpit’s grating.   

     At the 1931 Bay City, MI national O/B championship race, Myers won the class C, Div. II and class F, Div. II.  Hub would race through the ‘30’s. In 1938, he set the racing buoys as the general manager of the championship national outboard races at Petoskey. 


  1. Seeing that Albany Commander’s Cup winner photo, I have to admire that bravery. Living (and once mooring a 22′ Formula) out front, on the Hudson, I hasten to note that many don’t realize the river is tidal up until Troy (150 miles north of NYC) and we get 3-4 foot ebb and flow here. But more important to racers is river traffic and wind-whipped waves. I recall being genuinely frightened down around Kingston by the bow wave of a barge headed upstream; the rollers were huge and tossed us around like a cork.

    I can’t imagine facing that in 10 feet of mahogany at 50 mph. Thx for the outboard story; we have a new member in the Adirondack Chapter who displayed his restomod hydroplane at our recent Lake George Rendezvous; I’m sure he’ll apprecaite the company of this story.

  2. More information on Michigan racers and Century Boat Company drivers Melvin Roy Brady, Hub Myers, and Hilda Mueller is available at the Charlevoix Historical Society’s Museum at Harsha House archival collection.

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