The 2004 Online Steamboat Race is about to begin. This is the fourth consecutive online race. This year the captains can place bets on who will win. To help the captains place their bets, here's a recap of previous races.
The contenders in this race were:
The Orline St. Franz, with Capt. Franz Neumeier of Munich, Germany (Steamboats.org)
The Nettie Jer, with Capt. Jerry Canavit of Austin, Texas (Steamboats.net)
The Commerce Muster, with Capt. Nori Muster of Mesa, Arizona (Steamboats.com)
As you remember, the race was a disaster due to storms and turbulent waters. At first it looked as though the Commerce Muster won, but the judge ruled that the winning boat must cross the finish line under its own power, but the Commerce Muster was towed. The Commerce Muster conceded the race and judges declared the Nettie Jer as the winner. The Orline St. Franz came in second.
The ships in this year's race were:
The Belle of Louisville, piloted by Nori Muster, webdesigner for Steamboats.com
The Delta King, piloted by Captain Jerry Canavit, webmaster of Steamboats.net
The Delta Queen, piloted by Franz Neumeier, Carmen Winkler, and their daughter, Leonie, of Steamboats.org.
The boats were actually models crafted by James Wong of Heritage Workshop in Hong Kong. James was the judge.
The race took place on the banks of the Los Angeles river. The Delta King model came in first, the Delta Queen model was a close second. The Belle of Louisville model was washed down the river to the Long Beach Harbor.
In 2003, the same pilots raced the Heritage Works boats again, this time in Silver Lake (Los Angeles) on the board of Life. The judges were James Wong, Paul Motter, and Dave Thomson.
Nori J. Muster for the Belle of Louisville came in first place, Franz, Carmen, and Lonie for the Delta Queen came in second place, and Jerry Canavit for the Delta King was in third place.
Even with three judges, everyone thought the race was fixed, since the Belle of Louisville made such an unbelievable come back.
Here the Delta King is seen lost in the reeds, even though the race track is a mere game board on the patio. (Click here to see coverage of the 2003 race.)
This year the same captains will race, but they will pilot model boats from eBay. The contenders are:
Captain Jerry Canavit, of Steamboats.net
Nori Muster, of Steamboats.com
Franz Neumeier, Carmen Winkler and their daughter Leonie, of Steamboats.org
The captains have placed their bets (these are just gentlemens' bets in the spirit of fair play). Jerry and Nori bet that the folks in Germany will win; Franz bet that Nori will win.
These boats will race for the golden antlers in the Fourth International Online Steamboat Race!
Boat number one piloted by Franz Neumeier, Carmen Winkler, and their daughter, Leonie, of Steamboats.org.
Boat number two piloted by Captain Jerry Canavit, owner of Steamboats.net.
Boat number three piloted by Nori Muster, webdesigner for Steamboats.com.
As the race begins, boat number one pulls into the lead.
Followed by boat number two.
Boat number two, piloted by Jerry Canavit, crosses the finish line first and takes away the coveted golden antler award. The odds were in Jerry's favor, since he has already won two online steamboat races. But nobody could have imagined that an old tub like this could win the antlers! None of the captains bet on Jerry Canavit winning again this year.
Wait just a minute. A pirate boat, with what appears to be a black skull and bones flag, has come on the scene and stolen the antler award.
Why has nobody stopped the pirate ship? The pirates act like they can get away with their dark schemes and people will just go along with whatever they do.
Another pirate ship - this one with a whilte skull and bones flag - has come to the rescue of the steamboat race.
The master of the white pirate ship has contacted the judges by radio to say that he has been after the black flag pirates for many years. He said he is grateful to finally catch the shadowy crew in the act of committing a crime.
The white pirate ship and competing steamboats chase the black pirate ship. One of our judges has declared that even if the black pirates get away with this crime, they will never display the golden antlers with pride!
The official winner of the race is Jerry Canavit - NOT the black pirate ship! If we get the golden antlers back, Jerry Canavit will have the honor of keeping the award until next year's race! (If there IS a next year!) Scroll down for Jerry's speech to the assembled steamboat fanatics.
In the dramatic aftermath of this race, we have traced out the origin of the skull and bones symbol displayed on these pirate ships. It is the exact same skull and bones that the evil Rep. Garmatz used to condemn the Delta Queen before Congress in 1970. See:
Also, if you've ever wondered about the Skull and Bones society at Yale University, which may have some connection to this race, here is a good book on that subject:
Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power, by Alexandra Robbins (click on the title to learn more).
"I, Captain Jerry Canavit, now three-time winner of the Annual Online Steamboat Race, gratefully accept the third set of Golden Antlers. I wish to thank all of the participants for another competitive and lively race. Additional thanks to the White Pirate Ship for its assistance and in restoring our faith that the good vs. evil thing sometimes works out for the best. Thanks to Nori for the best race yet and some superb grapics. And Franz, I'll be pulling for you next year."