Dean Beal’s MISS NORMA running up the course with Chris Smith’s MISTY, both getting first in their respective classes.

BOOTHBAY-ROCKLAND – Some of the rumours and questions about the upcoming lobster boat racing season that had been circulating this winter and spring were soon to be answered. We have heard of new boats, some brand new and some new to their owners, and several boats that had repowered. What their effect would be was anyone’s guess and the best thing was not to perpetuate the rumour, but wait for it to play out and see it for yourself. To do that you just needed to attend the first two races of the season, Boothbay Harbor on 15 June and Rockland the following day.

        Many have been following Facebook and seen Steve Johnson’s and Jeremy Beal’s posts. Steve, who lives on Long Island, had his 1,100-hp Chevrolet engine gone over for the upcoming season. Jeremy Beal’s timeline over the winter was a lot more involved. The boat he was racing last year MISS MARINA & MARIE [Crowley 28; 1000+-hp Chevrolet] did not have a good season, mostly due to engine issues. The engine went was sold west and the boat was finished off and went further Downeast. Over the winter he obtained a Wayne Beal 28 hull and over the spring he and his crew at Wayne Beal’s Boat Shop in Jonesport finished off the hull and named her MARIA’S NIGHTMARE. The question now was what would she be powered with? We had heard it could be diesel, but several weeks ago that was answered when it was learned that he had purchased a big Chevrolet engine. Three days before the Boothbay races the engine was expected to arrive Friday morning, which would allowed them time to install the engine and sea trial it. However when Friday rolled around the engine was not going to arrive until mid-afternoon and they hoped they could install the engine and run it in the shop, but sea trials were out. As Friday evening progressed reports showed they were on schedule and would be there Saturday morning for their first race. Shawn Alley spent the winter rebuilding the bottom of LITTLE GIRL [28’ Calvin Beal Jr.; 514 Ford], which meant straightening, refastening and adding a strengthening piece on top of the keel. Friday night on the dock it was learned that Bruce Engert’s THUNDERBOLT [South Shore 30; 621 Chevrolet] would not been racing as she still needs some engine work. He named off a number of parts he wants to change out, but would not give a time frame when he would be ready to race.

        So what was new in the Diesel Classes? Launched last year from AJ Enterprises in Winter Harbor was Dan Sawyer’s HIGH VOLTAGE [AJ-28; 400-hp Yanmar], which would compete in Diesel Class E. Robert Alley, Jr.’s HANNAH LOUISE [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp John Deere] was launched over the winter and would be competing in Diesel Class M(B). From North Haven, Ryan Haskell’s DECADENCE [Lowell 46; 850-hp Baudouin] would be running in Diesel Class N.

        Not new but either had never been racing or had not been out in a while we had several boats. The end of last fall Ed Shirley sold MISS KARLEE [Mitchell Cove 32, 1,000-hp Caterpillar] to Marshall Spear of Yarmouth, who in turn sold her engine and hull separately. He then purchased, through Steve Johnson a Holland 32, which was for sale on Cliff Island. Steve took it to his yard on Long Island and stored her for the winter and then got her ready for the water. Ed renamed her MISS KYLEE [Holland 32; 148-hp Volvo] and he would be entered in Diesel Class B. Also in this class was Bradley Simmon of East Boothbay in his DON’T ASK [Holland 32; 210-hp Cummins], already for harpooning; and Phil Page’s NICK & ANDY [Duffy 35; 220-hp John Deere] of Boothbay who had not raced since 2005. Over the winter Kyle Look decided to refurbish a Crowley 36 named RISKY BUSINESS [550-hp John Deere]. This was done at Wayne Beal’s Boat Shop in Jonesport and the engine work was done by Toppin’s Diesel & Marine in Columbia Falls. She would be in Diesel Class H. Not really new and did race last year, but if you did not look closely you might not realize Nick Wiberg’s MISS KATIE had grown. Last year Andy Gove decided to retire from lobstering and sold his well-known racer UNCLE’S UFO [Northern Bay 36; 700-hp Volvo] to Nick. Over the winter she was renamed MISS KATIE and repainted in the colours of Nick’s last MISS KATIE [Holland 31; 355 hp Cummins].

        Friday at Brown’s Wharf on the east side of Boothbay Harbor there were about 25 boats already tied up for the evening. With a great forecast for Saturday we expected a good turnout. When sign ups were done we had 47 entrants, one more than last year and not having more could be explained by the late arrival of summer and that a number of boats are not in the water.

        There were just two boats in Work Boat Class A (Skiffs 16 feet and under, Outboard up to 30 hp, operators up to 16 years old), which was won by William Tierney of Long Island in Cameron Murphy’s NUGGET [Holland 14; 30-hp].

        Last year I was informed that a boat in Work Boat Class B (Inboard, Outboard or Outdrive, 31 to 90 hp) was coming with a 48-hp outboard by her owner. The builder of this boat explained that this was way too much power and that she could easily flip. I was prepared to not allow this boat to race, but during sign up the owner stated that the boat was very stable and since it was calm his son would not have a problem running the course. When we got out on the float the wind had picked up and there was a small chop running. When this boat did not show up I thought they decided not to race. Now the rest of the story is that after the races were over I headed for Dunton’s Dogs over by the Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor and met someone from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. We were talking and I said at least there were no problems today and he said with the exception of the boat that flipped, which I said, “What boat flipped?” He explained that the boat in question was the same one I had been told was perfectly safe by the father, which his son was to run in Class B. Now I knew why she was not on the line.

        There were four competitors in Class B and the big battle would be between Frank Bennett’s NADEN [Naden 16; 60-hp Suzuki] and David Noyes’ ZIPPIN’ [Corson 14; 60-hp Johnson]. This battle has been ongoing for a few years, which was dominated by NADEN until the end of last year when ZIPPIN’ had modifications made to her engine. In a close race ZIPPIN’ took the top spot followed by NADEN with third going to Dustin Thiboutot’s LAYLA LYNN [Seaway 19; 90-hp Yamaha].

        In the Work Boat Class C (Inboard, Outboard or Outdrive, 90 hp and over) we had two entrants, which was won by Dave Johnston’s CASCO MISS [Eastern 22, 250-hp Honda] of Peak’s Island followed over by Jim Koehling’s MALAGO [Crowley Beal 23; 150-hp Yamaha].

        There was a question raised Monday about how the Work Boat Classes were run. The question was that it was not fair to run some of these boats not set up for hauling to run with stripped out boats and it was hoped that the Association would create a class for these boats. First the Association is not responsible for the Work Boat Classes or the Free-for-Alls, which are governed by the venue. Unfortunately the Work Boat Classes do not sport many true working boats and those that do show up get left well behind. Just look at the differences in horsepower from top to bottom and wonder how a 31-hp outboard can compete with one of 90-hp. For a few years we did separate these boats, but what a nightmare trying to get the owners in the right class. Really two issues have influenced these races, the declining number of racers in each class and the expense of running them.

        Just two boats were at the line for the Fastest Working Lobster Boat in Boothbay and it was not surprising to see Andrew Taylor’s BLUE EYED GIRL [Morgan Bay 38, 900-hp Scania] get the win with Hayden Brewer’s SEA FOAM [James Brackett 32; 350 Chevrolet] second.

        We all know that the Gasoline Classes have been shrinking over the last several decades as most lobster boats are now powered with diesel engines. However, this is where the racers are that you can hear all over the bay. There were no entrants in Gasoline Class A (Four and Six Cylinder, 24 feet and over), but two where on the line for Class B (V8, Up to 383 cid, 24 feet and over), which was won by Mark Davis’ WHISKEY GIRL [BHM 25; 350 300 hp Chevrolet] of Harpswell. Second went to SEA FOAM. One that has not missed many races over the last several years has been Randy Durkee of Islesboro, who was the only entrant in Class C (V8, 376 to 525 cid, 24 feet and over) with BLACK DIAMOND [Holland 32, 454 Chevrolet] ran down the course with LITTLE GIRL in Class D (V8, 376 cid and over, 24 feet and over (Non-working racer)), each getting first in their respective classes. Now came the race, Class E (V8, Over 525 cid, 28 feet and over, Turbos/superchargers, Alcohol and Nitrous), everyone was waiting for…how would MARIA’S NIGHTMARE run? When the flag dropped she and Steve Johnson’s BUD & DAWN [Jingle Johnson 28; 1,100-hp Chevrolet] screamed off the line. About a third of the way up the course MARIA’S NIGHTMARE slowed and pulled off the course, still running. It was said that she was spilling fuel out some overflow, which when the engine builder was called said would happen when she is idled for a time. Still good to go!

        Up next was the Diesel Classes and there were no entrants in Class A (Up to 235 hp, 24 to 31 feet 11 inches); Class D (236 to 335 hp, 34 feet to 39 feet 11 inches); and Class M(A) (40 feet and over, up to 500 hp). In Class B (Up to 235 hp, 32 feet to 39 feet 11 inches) Four boats were on the line with the win going to DON”T ASK, followed by NICK & ANDY and Matt Thibault’s SANDRA ANN [Young Brothers 33; 210-hp Cummins] of Southport getting third and MISS KYLEE fourth. The only entrant in Class C (236 to 335 hp, 24 to 33 feet 11 inches) was Roy Fagonde’s LAST DESIGN [E. Libby, Jr., 31; 300-hp Caterpillar] from Jonesport so she came down the course with the two entrants in Class E (336 to 435 hp, 24 to 33 feet 11 inches). Class E was won by HIGH VOLTAGE followed over by Sean Haskell’s BAD OBSESSION [Holland 32; 380-hp Cummins] from North Haven. The dominate boat in Class F (336 to 435 hp, 34 feet to 39 feet 11 inches) for the last 11 years has been Ed Torosian’s MS. ROSE [Mitchell Cove 35; 410-hp Sisu] and many were shocked to see Winfred Alley’s AIDEN MARINER [Calvin Beal 34; 425-hp Cummins] was out in front where she would stay by a boat length. In Class G (436 to 550 hp, 28 to 35 feet 11 inches) two boats were on the line and last year’s defending champion, Dana Beal’s RIGHT STUFF [Libby 34; 500 hp Cummins] of Beals Island successfully fended off Todd Ritchie’s SEACOCK [Calvin Beal 34; 436-hp Sisu] from Stockton Springs. Classes H (436 to 550 hp, 36 feet to 39 feet 11 inches) and I (551 to 700 hp, 28 to 35 feet 11 inches) were combined as there was just one entrant, Chris Smith’s MISTY [Crowley Beal 33; 650 hp Scania] in Class I. There were just two boats in Class H, which was won by Dean Beal’s MISS NORMA [Wayne Beal 36; 480-hp Cummins] of Jonesport followed by RISKY BUSINESS from Columbia. Class J (551 to 700 hp, 36 feet to 39 feet 11 inches) was dominated last year by Heather Thompson’s GOLD DIGGER [Wayne Beal 36; 675-hp Scania], but some wondered what MISS KATIE might have for her. As they headed up the course it was obvious they were close, but at the line GOLD DIGGER slipped over by half a boat length. In third was Carl Anderson’s DANICA HEALY [Calvin Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] from Orr’s Island. There was just one entry in both Class K (701 to 900 hp, 28 feet to 39 feet 11 inches), BLUE EYED GIRL and L (901 hp and over, 28 feet to 39 feet 11 inches), Tom Clemons’ MOTIVATION [Northern Bay 36; 1,000-hp Caterpillar] from Harpswell so they ran together with each getting the win for their class. Another class that was a battle ground for two racers last year was Class M(B) (40 feet and over, 501 to 750 hp) between Eric Beal’s KIMBERLY ANN [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp FPT] and Jason Chipman’s MISS AMITY [Osmond 42; 700-hp Scania], both from Milbridge with MISS AMITY winning the year end top spot. The unknown was the new boat HANNAH LOUISE and where she would finish. As they came up the course the race committee got right on the line as this was going to be a close finish. The top three boats has separation and they finished within 40 feet with first going to MISS AMITY, second to HANNAH LOUISE and third KIMBERLY ANN. What a race! Three boats were on the line for Class N (40 feet and over, 751 hp and over) and was one by Joshua Beal’s KAYLA ANNE [Calvin Beal 44; 1,000-hp MAN] of Milbridge with Spencer Thompson’s MAXED OUT [Calvin Beal 44, 800-hp John Deere] from Harrington in second. Third went to DECADENCE. The only entrant in Class O (Non-working boats, any length, any horsepower) was Cameron Crawford’s WILD WILD WEST [West 28; 1,050-hp Isotta]. When she came to the prize float it was learned that she was done for the day as a part in the fuel system had been put in wrong and she could not reach top end, but she would be ready for Rockland the next day.

        Two boats were on the line for the Wooden Boat Race A (Any hp., up to 35 feet 11 inches), which was won by LITTLE GIRL with SEA FOAM second. In Wooden Boat Race B (Any hp., 36 feet and over) the only entrant was Scott Dugas’ SAND DOLLAR III [41’Johns Bay Boat; 700-hp Caterpillar].

        In the Gasoline Free-for-All it was a good battle between LITTLE GIRL and BUD & DAWN with the win just going to LITTLE GIRL. Third went to BLACK DIAMOND. Not on the line was MARIA’S NIGHTMARE.

        In the Diesel Free-for-All eight boats were on the line and the win went to MOTIVATION, followed by BLUE EYED GIRL and GOLD DIGGER.

        In the final race of the day, Fastest Lobster Boat Race, five boats were on the line, including MARIA’S NIGHTMARE. When the flagged dropped the sound was incredible as the two gas boats jumped into the lead. Soon the diesel boats worked their way up, but just could not get by LITTLE GIRL, who won the top prize. Second went to MOTIVATION and third was BLUE EYED GIRL. Now it was off to Rockland for Sunday’s races.

                                                                                     * * * * *

        We need to stop listening to the weather forecasters as they called for rain on Sunday and some of us felt that it kept some racers on the hook. We were blessed with sunshine at first, which later turned overcast, but no rain. Truly a good day for racing and with 57 boats entered it turned into a great event.

        New Hampshire Motor Speedway of Louden, NH sent over Danielle Cyr in one of their pace cars, which was well noticed all the way from the track to Rockland, but especially around Rockland. We were able to get Danielle on board the start boat, then Tom Clemons’ MOTIVATION [Northern Bay 36; 1,000-hp Caterpillar] and then Cameron Crawford’s WILD WILD WEST [West 28; 1,050-hp Isotta]. Not sure it is like going more than 150 or more on a race track, but I bet it is close.

        On Saturday night it was learned that Richard Williams of Vinalhaven would be racing Sunday who we have not seen since Stonington in 2007, when he raced the BAD PENNY [Holland 32, 320-hp Volvo]. He was bringing over MONEY, LOVE & DREAMS [Mitchell Cove 35; 800-hp 3406E Caterpillar], which was rumoured to be going about 48 mph. Jeremy Tyler’s ALL IN [Northern Bay 38, 500 hp Volvo] from Blue Hill had not raced since 2012, but he was signed up in Diesel Class H. Over the winter Parker Murphy of Bass Harbor sold BAND-IT [Duffy 35; 430-hp Cummins] and purchased MISS JESSICA [OEM 42, 751-hp John Deere], which was entered in Diesel Class N.

        NUGGET was the only entrant in Work Boat Class A with William Tierney at the helm. Again it was a battle between NADEN and ZIPPIN’ in Class B, which ended just like Boothbay with ZIPPIN’ the winner. CASCO MISS repeated her win in Class C at Boothbay by besting Harper Conover’s MITCH [Mitchell Cove 20; 150-hp Yamaha].

        In the Gasoline Classes there was not an entrant in Class A. Two boats were on the line for Class B, which was won by Wayne Rich’s WIDE OPEN [26’ Robert Rich; 350 Chevrolet] from Bass Harbor, who is looking to defend his title in this class. Second went to Michael Clayton’s J. T. BEAN [34’ Vinal Beal; 350 Mercruiser] from Islesboro. There was only one entrant in Class C, BLACK DIAMOND and Class D, LITTLE GIRL so they were run down together with each getting first in their classes. In Class E BUD & DAWN lined up with MARIA’S NIGHTMARE and there was plenty of noise when the flag dropped. As they came up the course MARIA’S NIGHTMARE was doing better, but she still was not running the way she should and BUD & DAWN went on for the win.

        In the Diesel Classes, first up was Class A, which was won by Kevin Hornby’s HIGH HOPES [Osmond 27; 225-hp John Deere] over Gary Hatch’s QUEEN’S LADY [29’Rockland Boat; 220-hp John Deere]. Cory McDonald’s HELLO DARLINGS II [Holland 32, 220-hp Izusu] of Stonington got the win in Class B followed by Bill Oliver’s KAREN LYNN [South Shore 34; 220-hp John Deere] second and MISS KYLEE third. Two boats were on the line for Class C and LAST DESIGN, who had won in Boothbay, tried to get by Steven Osgood’s VENOM [Mussel Ridge 28; 300-hp Sisu], but just did not have enough and settled for second. Coming down with them was the only entrant in Class D, Kale Campbell’s BRIELLA GRACE [Duffy 35, 300-hp Cummins], formerly WARDEN’S WORRY. Class E was easily won by HIGH VOLTAGE, followed by Robert Curtis’ WHIRLWIND [BHM 31; 420-hp Cummins] and Kathy Lymburner’s EMMA G. [31’ Buxton, 355-hp John Deere] in third. In Class F at Boothbay AIDEN MARINER upset MS. ROSE and it was wondered could she repeat. As the came up the course they were close, but as they neared the finish MS. ROSE was slowly getting by for the win in a great battle. Second went to Deven Haskell’s HOOLIGAN [Young Brothers (slippery) 38; 375-hp Cummins]. RIGHT STUFF was the winner of Class G with second going to Johnathan Jones’ JAYLIN LUCAS [Duffy 35; 500-hp C9 Caterpillar] and SEACOCK third. When the four boats came to the line in Class H most figured MISS NORMA would get the victory, however as they came up the course ALL IN had the lead and went on for the win. MISS NORMA got second and RISKY BUSINESS third. After a mix up I created was resolved Colby Oakes’ TRIPLE X [Mitchell Cove 35, 700-hp Detroit] from Vinalhaven faced off against MISTY from Swan Island on the Kennebec and edged her out for the win. Next up was a rematch of a great race at Boothbay in Class J between GOLD DIGGER and MISS KATIE. Again it was close and it looked as though MISS KATIE was going to get by, but fell just short. Third went to Jason MacDonald’s HARD GOIN’ [Holland 38, 670-hp Cummins] from North Haven. The next race was going to be interesting. There was just one entrant in Class K, MONEY LOVE & DREAMS and Class L, MOTIVATION. As they neared the finish line they were bow to bow and when they crossed MOTIVATION had slipped by for the win. Alan Knowlton’s SEA URCHIN [] was the only one entered in Class M(A). Next up was Class M(B) and at Boothbay three of these boats finished within 40 feet of each other. Again the top three boats were just as close as the day before and MISS AMITY was able to get by for the win. Second went to KIMBERLY ANN and third was HANNAH LOUISE. In Class N MAXED OUT slipped by for the win giving second place to KAYLA ANNE. The only entrant in Class O was WILD WILD WEST.

        Five boats were on the line for the Gasoline Free-for-All and we all knew when the flag dropped as the sound was deafening. It was a battle between LITTLE GIRL and BUD & DAWN with the win going to LITTLE GIRL. Third went to MARIA’S NIGHTMARE, which was certainly running a little better.

        In the Diesel Free-for-All nine boats were on the line with the win going to WILD WILD WEST, followed by MOTIVATION and GOLD DIGGER.

        The winner of Wooden Boat A was LITTLE GIRL with second going to WIDE OPEN and third to EMMA G. In Wooden Boat B there was just one entrant Vance Bunker’s SARI ANN [42’Johns Bay Boat; 660-hp Volvo] from Owl’s Head.

        In the final race of the day, Fastest Lobster Boat Race, it was no surprise to see WILD WILD WEST leading the other three competitors to the finish. LITTLE GIRL would take second and MOTIVATION got third.

        Now it is onto Bass Harbor next Sunday, 23 June, which is always a great time!

Dave Johnston’s CASCO MISS competing in Work Boat Class C at Boothbay Harbor.

Winner of Diesel Class C was Roy Fagone’s LAST DESIGN at Boothbay Harbor.

Competing in Diesel Class N at the Boothbay races was Ryan Haskell’s new DECADENCE.

In the Diesel-Free-for-All are GOLD DIGGER, MAXED OUT and BLUE EYED GIRL.