Alex Thompson’s CARLEE MARIE (Osmond 47; 900-hp Scania) battling Nick Lemieux’s PHANTOM {Osmond 50, 1,000 hp) at Moosabec Reach.

BASS HARBOR – The third lobster boat race of the year took us to Bass Harbor on Mount Desert, one of Maine’s quintessential working harbors, on 23 June.

        We were greeted with a beautiful warm, sunny morning, and a great turn out of racers. When sign-ups were done, there were 77 boats entered, the most ever at this venue.

        The new boat that many wanted to see run was Ryan Lemieux’s OBSESSION from Cutler, which is a Young Brothers 33 stretched two feet, given a foot more beam and hard chines. She was to compete in Diesel Class G and would be racing the class’s top boat Dana Beal’s RIGHT STUFF [Libby 34; 500 hp Cummins].

        One that was missing was Jeremy Beal’s MARIA’S NIGHTMARE [Mussel Ridge 28 (former Wayne Beal 28); 2,500-hp Chevrolet] from Jonesport. She had raced at Boothbay and Rockland, but was not running right. It was obvious that she had the power, but they needed to work out the bugs.

        There were no entrants in the first race of the day, Work Boat Class A (Skiffs 16-feet and under with outboards up to 30 hp, Operator 18 years and younger), but there were four on the line for Class B (Inboards, outboards, or outdrives31-90hp.). When the flag dropped Eric Eaton’s ASSAULT WEAPON jumped into the lead and lead the others to the finish. In Class C (Inboards, outboards or outdrives 91hp and over) Sue Snow’s Q [20 Aquasport; 115-hp Yamaha] of Trenton bested the two other competitors.

        In the Gasoline Class there were no entrants in Class A (4 & 6 cylinder 24 feet and over) or E (Over 525 cid, 28 feet and over, Turbos/superchargers) and there was one entrant in Class B (V8, Up to 375 cid, 24 feet and over), Wayne Rich’s WIDE OPEN []; Class C (V8, 376 to 525 cid, 24 feet and over), Randy Durkee’s BLACK DIAMOND []; and Class D (V-8, 376 to 540 cid, 28 feet and over), Shawn Alley’s LITTLE GIRL [] from Beals Island so they were run up together with each getting first in their respective classes.

        There was only one Diesel class with no entrants, Class K (701 to 900 hp, 28 feet and over).    Four boats were on the line for Class A (up to 235 hp, 24-31 feet) and Jacob Kirby’s BARE BOTTOM [BHM 25, 220-hp John Deere] of Jonesport jumped into the lead and got the win. The race committee had to be on their toes for the next race, Class B (up to 235 hp, 32 feet and over) as there were nine boats on the line. When the flag dropped Everett Beers’ MISS KARI LYNN [Mitchell Cove 32; 220-hp John Deere] of Bernard grabbed the win. Next up was Class C (236 to 335 hp, 24 to 33 feet) and it would be the first time this year Roy Fagonde’s LAST DESIGN [E. Libby, Jr., 31; 300-hp Caterpillar] of Jonesport would race Dan Eaton’s WHITE LIGHTNING [AJ 28; 305-hp Cummins] of Deer Isle. Last year WHITE LIGHTNING had the advantage, but as they neared the finish line in the first close battle of the day it was LAST DESIGN by just half a boat length. There were three boats in Class D (236-335 hp, 34 feet and over), which was won by Shawn Stanley’s MISS MARGO [Mitchell Cove 35; 300-hp John Deere] from Southwest Harbor. Class E (336 to 435 hp, 24-33 feet) could be interesting with seven boats entered. The two to watch were Dan Sawyer’s HIGH VOLTAGE [AJ-28; 400-hp Yanmar] from Jonesport and Jim Beal’s UPTOWN GIRL [Crowley-Beal 33; 425-hp Cummins] from Milbridge. HIGH VOLTAGE took the lead right at the start and held on for the win. In Class F (336-435 hp, 34 feet and over) the two top boats have been Winfred Alley’s AIDEN MARINER [Calvin Beal 34; 425-hp Cummins] from Beals Island and Ed Torosian’s MS. ROSE [Mitchell Cove 35; 410-hp Sisu] from New Hampshire, but MS. ROSE was not present. It was still going to be interesting as Robert Lee’s JUSTIN & COLBY II [Mitchell Cove 35; 265-hp John Deere] of Seal Cove went well. AIDEN MARINER took off and JUSTIN & COLBY II just did not have enough to keep up with her. Nine boats were on the line for Class G (436 to 550 hp, 28-35 feet) and this would pit RIGHT STUFF up against the new OBSESSION. At the start it looked close, but RIGHT STUFF slowly gained separation and slid over for the win. Last year Class H (436 to 550 hp, 36 feet and over) was dominated by Dean Beal’s MISS NORMA [Wayne Beal 36; 480-hp Cummins] of Jonesport and he took the top spot at Boothbay, but in a surprising finish was bested by Jeremy Tyler’s ALL IN [Northern Bay 38, 500 hp Volvo] at Rockland. As they came up the course, neither of them were in the lead, it was Tee Trundy’s TOP SECRET [Calvin Beal 36; 500-hp] of Steubenwho got the win. In Class I (551 to 700 hp, 28-35 feet) we had Chris Smith’s MISTY [Crowley Beal 33; 650 hp Scania] of Swan Island and Cody Hooper’s LAST ROUND [RP-31. 700-hp Isotta] of Gouldboro, which over the winter was repowered. As they came up the course MISTY gained steadily and went over the line first. With just one boat in Class J (551 to 700 hp, 36 feet and over), Heather Thompson’s GOLD DIGGER [Wayne Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] from Harrington and one in Class L (901 hp and over, 28 feet and over), Tom Clemons’ MOTIVATION [Northern Bay 36; 1,000-hp Caterpillar] from Harpswell, they ran up together with each getting the win. Five boats were on the line for Class M(A) (40 feet and over, up to 500 hp) and it was another real close finish as Aaron Beal’s NIGHT MOVES II [RP40; 455-hp QSM 11 Cummins] from Milbridge and Chris Pope’s OLD SCHOOL [Holland 41; 380-hp Cummins] of Swan’s Island neared the finish. Slipping over first, maybe with two feet to spare, was NIGHT MOVES II. There were 11 boats signed up for Class M(B) (40 feet and over, 501 to 750 hp) and it was decided to split the class in two heats and then race the top three off in a finals race. At the Boothbay and Rockland races the top three boats have been Robert Alley, Jr.’s HANNAH LOUISE [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp John Deere], Eric Beal’s KIMBERLY ANN [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp FPT],and Jason Chipman’s MISS AMITY [Osmond 42; 700-hp Scania]. As they came up the course in the Finals it was going to be a close finish with KIMBERLY ANN crossing the line  just ahead of MISS AMITY. Four boats were on the line for Class N (40 feet and over, 751hp and over) and with just one boat in Class O (Non-working boats, any length, any horsepower), Cameron Crawford’s WILD WILD WEST [West 28; 1,050-hp Isotta] they ran down with them. Streaking first over the line was WILD WILD WEST and now the battle was for the top spot in Class N, which went to Joshua Beal’s KAYLA ANNE [Calvin Beal 44; 1,000-hp MAN] from Milbridge.

        In Wooden Boat A (up to 35 feet 11 inches) no one was surprised to see LITTLE GIRL fly over the finish line first. There were no entrants in Wooden Boat B (36 feet and over.

        The Gasoline Free for All was won by LITTLE GIRL, but unfortunately when she came over the line she slowed and it was obvious there was an engine issue.

        In the Diesel Free for All eight boats came to the line and it was all about WILD WILD WEST.

        In the Fastest Lobster Boat it was again WILD WILD WEST followed by MOTIVATION with WIDE OPEN third.

        The final race of the day was Bass Harbor’s Fastest Lobster Boat and this was won by RACHEL IRENE.

        Looking forward to the Moosabec Reach Lobster Boat Races on Saturday 29 June we all hoped for no fog. We learned before the race that MARIA’S NIGHTMARE was running better. LITTLE GIRL was sitting outside at Wayne Beal’s Boat Shop in Jonesport with a rocker arm issue, but it was also suspected that one of the pistons was burned.

MOOSABEC REACH – It is the biggest worry when going to Moosabec Reach (between Beals Island and Jonesport) fog. As I made my way down to Jonesport it looked promising and when I landed at the Coast Guard station I was relieved to find a clear race course.

        As soon as I set up at 0730 hrs. and began taking entry forms the line continued to grow until finally after 1000 I had signed up the last entrant with a final count of 125 boat, the most since Winter Harbor’s 130 boats in 2002.

        Moosabec looked to honor lobster boat racer, Galen Alley his home port, and had a parade of boats sail up the course before the first race of the day took place.

        One question was answered before the race. LITTLE GIRL had her engine replaced with an old 429 engine.

        Noted designer Calvin Beal, Jr. signed up a new boat this year in Diesel Class A, JEANINE MARIE. He had downsized from a Calvin Beal 36 to a Calvin Beal 30, which he had powered with a 235-hp Cummins. Calvin’s old boat is now owned by Abraham Beal, who renamed her WHIT’S END [Calvin Beal 36; 500-hp Cummins]. Another new name, but not a new boat, was SEMPER FI [Crowley Beal 28; 500-hp Cummins], which raced last year as Jeremy Beal’s MISS MARINA & MARIE. Last year she was powered with 1,000+-hp Chevrolet engines and never got up to speed. Last fall the engine was sold as well as the boat. The engine went west and the boat, after being refitted at Wayne Beal’s Boat Shop, headed to Cutler. Another new boat was Jason Chipman’s MISS AMITY [Mussel Ridge 46; 900-hp Scania], which was entered in Diesel Class N.

        If you want to know what herding cats is like come to Moosabec and try to figure out who is who in the skiff races. In the first Work Boat Class, Class A we had to wait until after the races and the win went to Jacob Alley [Pearson 15; 25-hp Evinrude]. 13 boats were on the line for Class B, which was won by Ralph Davis’ ALPEX [16’, 90 hp Johnson]. In Class C the winner was Caleb Norton’s WHITE LIGHTNIN’.

        In the Gasoline Classes there were no entrants in Class A; two in Class B, Clark Mills’ MCKENSI STARR [Doug Dodge 22; 302 Chevrolet] and WIDE OPEN; one entrant in Class C, Randy Durkee’s BLACK DIAMOND; one in Class D, LITTLE GIRLS; and one in Class E, MARIA’S NIGHTMARE were all run up together. Running classes together saves time, makes the racing more interesting, but confuses the spectators not realizing the real race positions. In this case BLACK DIAMOND, LITTLE GIRL and MARIA’S NIGHTMARE automatically won their respective classes. The only undecided race was Class B, which was won by MCKENSI STARR.

        Next up was the Diesel Classes and just one, Class K, had no entrants. However there were two classes, M(B) and N, with too many boats for one race so they were split up into two heats. The first race, Class A had eight boats on the line, which included Calvin Beal, Jr.’s new boat JEANINE MARIE, which easily got the win. In Class B Chad Libby’s MYRTLE BELLE [Libby 34, 205-hp John Deere] slipped by the other two competitors for the win.. With just one entrant on Class C, LAST DESIGN she ran down with the five boats in Class D. Glenn Libby’s SYLVIA JEAN [Libby 34; 300-hp Caterpillar] was able to slip by the other competitors for the win in Class D. Class E has been dominated by HIGH VOLTAGE so far this year, but he would face for the first time Kenton Fenney’s BAD INFLUENCE [Holland 32, 350-hp Yanmar], which has always been a top boat in this class. As the two came up the course it was close and by a boat length it was HIGH VOLTAGE getting the win. Class F was won by AIDEN MARINER. Class G has been dominated the last couple of years by RIGHT STUFF and no one expected anything different, however SEMPER FI had a different idea as she jumped out into the lead and never looked back. Class H was won by TOP SECRET. There were just two boats in Class I with the win going to MISTY. Class J had two entrants GOLD DIGGER and Nick Wiberg’s MISS KATIE [Northern Bay 36; 700-hp Volvo], and with just one entrant in Class L, MOTIVATION they were run up together. GOLD DIGGER and MISS KATIE have had some very close races and today was no different. As they came to the line it was again close and maybe by a quarter of a boat length the win went to GOLD DIGGER. Nine boats were on the line for Class M(A) and the win went to Milton Merchant’s MISS TONIA [Libby 41; 500-hp Cummins]. Seventeen boats were entered in Class M(B) so they were split into two heats. In the finals MISS AMITY got first, KIMBERLY ANN second and HANNAH LOUISE third with all the bows crossing within 40 feet. Class N had thirteen boats entered and this class was broken up into two heats. In the Finals it was close but MISS AMITY got the win. There was just one boat in Class O, WILD WILD WEST, so she ran down the course by herself.

        There was just one boat in Wooden Boat Race A, LITTLE GIRL as WIDE OPEN was done for the day; and there were no entrants in Wooden Boat Race B.

        Just two boats were on the line for the Gasoline Free-for-All, and BLACK DIAMOND got the win.

        In the Diesel Free-for-All nine boats came to the line and it was no surprise to see WILD WILD WEST leading the way to the finish line.

        In the World’s Fastest Working Lobster Boat there were just four boats on the line with the top spot going to MOTIVATION.

        Just two boats were on the line for the final race of the day, World’s Fastest Recreational Lobster Boat, MARIA’S NIGHTMARE and WILD WILD WEST. To date WILD WILD WEST has been the dominate boat in this class running at just about 60 mph. However, MARIA’S NIGHTMARE has the horsepower, but the big question was would she hold together. As they came up the course MARIA’S NIGHTMARE had the advantage, but here and there she spit and sputtered, but she kept on coming and crossed the line with a two boat length lead for the win in the shocker of the day.

STONINGTON –Stonington has always been one of the most popular races, with the most entrants and spectators. One major factor for this is that this race is centrally located on the coast surrounded by several major lobstering villages. With a forecast of bright sun and warm temperatures one knew that the racers and spectators would certainly be there on 7 July.

        Signing up the racers began just before 0800 and when done about 1000 it did not seem like an exceptional turn out, but it was with 109 racers entered.

        Before the races began a moment of silence for Galen Alley was observed as MISS KATE came down the course spreading some of Galen’s ashes.

        The first races of the day were the three Work  Boat Classes. In Class A the winner was Isaac Chipman. In Class B there was just two boats on the line and the win went  to Doug Hanson [14’ Steury; 60-hp Mercury]. Class C had a very interesting entrant, Devin Bray’s SARAH CHRISTINA [Libby 34; 425-hp Yamaha]. This is the first full sized lobster boat fitted with a high-powered outboard that has been entered in the lobster boat races. When the flag dropped SARAH CHRISTINA was right with the leaders as they headed for the finish line. She did not get first, that went to Caleb Norton’s WHITE LIGHTNIN’ [Eastporter 24; 225-hp Yamaha], but she was second.

        The Johns Bay Boat Co. Race had five entrants and Nathan Jones’ SAILOR’S WAY [47’ Johns Bay Boat; 1,000-hp Caterpillar] got the win.

        Next up was the Gasoline Classes, which had four entrants in the five classes. There were no entrants in Class A or B. Two came to the line in Class C, BLACK DIAMOND and Jim Lee’s ROAR [32’ Clinton Beal, 1960; 454 ci Chevrolet]; and since there was just one entrant in Class D, LITTLE GIRL, these two classes were run together. It was not surprising to see LITTLE GIRL leading the way to the finish with BLACK DIAMOND getting the win in Class C. The only entrant in Class E, was MARIA’S NIGHTMARE ran the course by herself.

        There are not as many wooden boats left, but at Stonington they have a good number of them due to the number of John’s Bay Boats they have homeported there. In Wooden Boat Race A no one was surprised to see LITTLE GIRL come up the course well in front of his other two competitors. In Wooden Boat Race B it was a re-race of the Johns Bay Boat Company Race with nearly the same results. The difference was third, which went to Ben Weed’s EMMA & ANDREW [John’s Bay 44; 700-hp Caterpillar].

        It was now time to see what the Diesel Classes had. In Class A there were four boats on the line and it was Kevin Hornby’s HIGH HOPES [Osmond 27; 225-hp John Deere] that jumped into the lead and got first. Another four boats came to the line for Class B and as they came up the course Cory McDonald’s HELLO DARLINGS II [Holland 32, 220-hp Izusu] worked his way out in front. Class C has been a very competitive class between three racers: LAST DESIGN; Stephen Osgood’s VENOM [Mussel Ridge 28; 300-hp Sisu]; and WHITE LIGHTNING and today would be no different. As they went past half way they were close, but WHITE LIGHTNING had the lead and got the win. Crossing the line first in Class D was Kaleb Campbell’s BRIELLA GRACE [Duffy 35, 300-hp Cummins]. The boat to beat in Class E has been HIGH VOLTAGE, who has won every race in this class so far this year and today would be no different. Ten boats were on the line for Class F and getting the win was AIDEN MARINER. MS. ROSE did not finish the race and ended up going home on a trailer. RIGHT STUFF has dominated Class G for the last couple of years and she continued that domination with another win. There were ten boats on the line for Class H and the favourite had to be ALL IN, which jumped right into the lead. MISTY has been the boat to beat in Class I and today was no different. There has been a great battle in Class J all year between GOLD DIGGER and MISS KATIE with just feet separating their bows at the finish line most of their races. As they came up the course it was obvious that they were close and at halfway it was too close to call. At the line the call was GOLD DIGGER followed by MISS KATIE. The next race, Class K was going to be a good one as all four boats have about the same amount of speed. Right after the start the battle was between Andrew Taylor’s BLUE EYED GIRL [Morgan Bay 38, 900-hp Scania] and Colby Oakes’ TRIPLE X [Mitchell Cove 35, 850-hp Detroit] and at midway TRIPLE X looked like she had the edge. At the line it was BLUE EYED GIRL. There was just one entrant in Class L, MOTIVATION, which ran down with Class M(A) two entrants. The winner of Class M(A) was Chris Pope’s OLD SCHOOL [Holland 41; 380-hp Cummins]. Sixteen boats were signed up in Class M(B) so they were divided into two heats with a final race to determine the winner. In the finals no one was surprised to see KIMBERLY ANN and MISS AMITY out in front and at halfway MISS AMITY had the edge and held on for the win. Third went to ALEXSA ROSE, which shows just how slippery this hull is. There were eight boats on the line for Class N and for the first time this year Marshall Spear and JACALWA [Wesmac 46; 1000-hp Caterpillar] was entered to defend her title. JACALWA took the early lead for the win. The only boat in Class O was WILD WILD WEST and she ran down the course by herself.

        Six boats were on the line for the Deer Isle-Stonington Exhibition and the win went to MISS KATIE.

        Only two boats were on the line for the Gasoline Free-for-All and the winner was LITTLE GRILS.

        No one was surprised to see WILD WILD WEST leading the way to the finish in the Diesel Free-for-All.

        Four boats were on the line for the Jimmy Stevens Cup – Fastest Working Lobster Boat and again no one was surprised to see MOTIVATION take the win.

        The final race of the day, Fastest Lobster Boat Afloat, was all WILD WILD WEST.

        It was a great day of racing, with several close finishes and just a couple of surprises. Now it is onto Friendship, 21 July!