WINTER HARBOR/PORTLAND – With four points races done (Rockland, Bass Harbor, Moosabec and Friendship) it was on to Winter Harbor and Portland. So far, we have had better than average turn outs at each of the previous four events and expected nothing less at the last two races of the year.

With a beautiful warm sunny day, we had 88 entrants signed up and a large spectator fleet sitting on both sides of the race course at Winter Harbor.

There were several new boats making their first appearance. Fred Backman of Winter Harbor has been finishing out a Novi hull for himself the past couple of years with several major modifications. He finished her earlier this summer and named her ATLANTIC VIKING [Sea Pride 35; 210-hp International], which would compete in Diesel Class B. Another one we had been watching go together was at Wayne Beal Boat Shop in Jonesport. She is a Wayne Beal 32 (hard chine) powered with a 500-hp Cummins, being finished out for Wayne Beal. She was launched just before the Winter Harbor races and given the name MISS MARIENA. One boat that has been highly anticipated was Tim Toppins’ new Mitchell Cove 35 SUSPECT [800-hp Scania]. She was launched a couple of weeks before the Winter Harbor races.

Another boat that we had hoped to see this season was MOTIVATION now STARLIGHT EXPRESS 3. Tom Clemons sold her to Alfred Osgood the end of winter and she went to Mainely Boats in Cushing where modifications would be made and the 900+-hp MACK diesel installed. The engine work was being done by Mid-Coast Diesel. This project got delayed as projects ahead of her went behind and we now will not see her until next year.

Last year was the first time in a number of years that Winter Harbor had run a skiff race. This year they continued this with just one race (Inboard, Outboard or Outdrive, any hp, must have working hauler). Two boats, Colin Piper’s LIL’ MISS ABBY [Crowley Beal 23; 150-hp Yamaha] and Evan Strout’s SHIP FOR BRAINS [19-footer; 50 hp] came to the line, and it was LIL MISS ABBY leading the way to the finish line.

There were four boats signed up in the Gasoline Classes. CINDY JEN was in Class A (4 & 6 cylinder 24 feet and over); Colyn Rich’s WIDE OPEN [26’ Robert Rich; 350 Chevrolet] in Class B (V-8 up to 375 cid, 24 feet and up); and Lindsay Durkee’s BLACK DIAMOND [Holland 32, 454 Chevrolet] and Jim Lee’s ROAR [32’ Clinton Beal, 1960; 454 ci Chevrolet] in Class C (V8, 376 to 525cid, 28 feet and over). There were no entrants in Class D (376 and over, 24 feet and over (Non-working racer)) or Class E (V-8, Over 525cid, 28 feet and over, superchargers/Turbos). With just four boats on the line the three classes were run together with CINDY JEN and WIDE OPEN winners of their respective classes. With the drop of the flag WIDE OPEN jumped into the lead with ROAR right behind her, but soon the throttle on BLACK DIAMOND went further forward and she began to gain on ROAR, but just could not catch her. This gave ROAR the win in Class C.

There was an entrant in every Diesel Class. In Class A (Up to 235 hp, 24 to 31 feet) seven boats came to the line and this was going to be a renewed battle between Jacob Kirby’s BARE BOTTOM [BHM 25, 220-hp John Deere] and Josef Guptil’s HOT SHOT [Osmond 27, 220-hp John Deere]. These two have gone head to head several times this season with BARE BOTTOM having the upper hand. Just after the drop of the flag Tom Young’s ETHAN R. [South Shore 30; 225-hp John Deere] was in the lead, but BARE BOTTOM and HOT SHOT were coming. However, at the line HOT SHOT had just got by BARE BOTTOM for the win with BARE BOTTOM second and ETHAN R. third. When we are Downeast the dominate boat in Class B (Up to 235 hp, 32 feet and over) is Chad Libby’s MYRTLE BELLE [Libby 34, 205-hp John Deere] and today was no different. Kit Johnson’s MR. LUCKY [Duffy 35; 225-hp John Deere] finished second just behind MYRTLE BELLE with third going to Rachel Nelson’s HIGHER MAINTENANCE [Webber’s Cove 34; 185-hp Isuzu]. There has been a constant fight for the top spot in Class C (236 to 335 hp, 24 to 33 feet) between Roy Fagonde’s LAST DESIGN [E. Libby, Jr., 31; 300-hp Caterpillar] and Steven Osgood’s VENOM [Mussel Ridge 28; 300-hp Sisu], but neither of them were entered and this made Hollis Smith and his HAKUNA MATATA [BHM 31; 260-hp Cummins] happy as they were the only entrant. In Class D (236 to 335 hp, 34 feet and over) two boats, Roy Whalen’s BONNIE’S BRATS [Osmond 35; 305-hp Cummins] and Kegin Schoppee’s UNPREDICTABLE [Duffy 35; 330-hp John Deere] came to the line. This was a close race at the start, but soon BONNIE’S BRATS slowly slipped out in front for the win. Dan Sawyer’s HIGH VOLTAGE [AJ-28; 400-hp Yanmar] has been the dominate boat in Class E (336 to 435 hp, 24 to 33 feet) but Kenton Feeney in BAD INFLUENCE [Holland 32, 350-hp Yanmar] was hoping to change that. When the flag dropped Allan Johnson’s CATHERINE ELIZABETH [AJ28; Yanmar] jumped into the lead, but it was not long before HIGH VOLTAGE had the top spot with BAD INFLUENCE right on her transom. HIGH VOLTAGE kept BAD INFLUENCE at bay and third went to Randy Durkee’s AUDREY MAY [Holland 32; 425-hp Cummins]. The boat to beat in Class F (336 to 435 hp, 34 feet and over) is Winfred Alley’s AIDEN MARINER [Calvin Beal 34; 425-hp Cummins] and Brian Strout in SUNSHINE CHALET [Mitchell Cove 35; 400-hp John Deere] did her best to get by but just did not have enough and settled for second. SUNSHINE CHALET was the hull given away at Winter Harbor last year, which Brian finished off over the winter. Third went to Blake Alley’s ANGRY ANDIE [Repco 37; 430-hp Cummins]. Class G (436 to 550 hp, 28 to 35 feet) was going to be an interesting race as it would pit Wayne Beal’s new boat MISS MARIENA against Dana Beal’s RIGHT STUFF [Libby 34; 500 hp Cummins] for the top spot in this class. RIGHT STUFF has been the dominate boat in this class for several years, but MISS MARIENA was going to be a serious threat. When they got halfway up the course RIGHT STUFF had a couple of a boat lengths lead, when she went suddenly to port and slowed. She made it into the spectator fleet where she came to a stopped. It was later learned that she had lost steering and when they put her in reverse so they would not hit the boat in front of them the rudder went into the propeller. MISS MARIENA got the win and Ryan Lemieux’ OBSESSION [Young Brothers 35; 450-hp Volvo] took second. Seven boats were on the line for Class H (436 to 550 hp, 36 feet and over) and for the last couple of years Dean Beal’s MISS NORMA [Wayne Beal 36; 480-hp Cummins] has been the boat to beat. However, he would have a challenge from Willie Coombs’ new boat MELYNDA M. [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp FPT], which made her debut at Moosabec. At halfway MELYNDA M. had the lead, but MISS NORMA was coming and streaked by for the win. MELYNDA M. took second and third went to Gary Strout’s TRIPLE H. [Calvin Beal 36; 550-hp John Deere]. The only entrant in Class I (551 to 700 hp, 28 to 35 feet) was Jeremy Beal’s MARIA’S NIGHTMARE [Mussel Ridge (ex-Wayne Beal) 28; 600-hp Cummins]. No one watching the race was surprised to see Heather Thompson’s GOLD DIGGER [Wayne Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] leading the other five competitors in Class J (551 to 700 hp, 36 feet and over) to the finish line including her son Nathan in EASY MONEY [Calvin Beal 36; 490-hp Cummins] who took third. Second went to Mark Kelley’s FIFTH GENERATION [Calvin Beal 36; 600-hp Caterpillar]. In Class K (701 to 900 hp, 28 feet and over) we had three boats on the line including Tim Toppins’ new boat SUSPECT and she should have a good battle with Ira Guptill’s MYSTERY MACHINE [Northern Bay 38; 750-hp, John Deere]. As they came up the course MYSTERY MACHINE had the advantage, but she slowed when she developed an engine issue and SUSPECT slipped by for the win. There was just one boat in Class L, Jeff Eaton’s LA BELLA VITA [Northern Bay 38; 750-hp FPT]. Chris Pope’s OLD SCHOOL [Holland 41; 380-hp Cummins] is the defending champion of Class M(A), but she always gets a serious challenge from Milton Merchant’s MISS TONIA [Libby 41; 500-hp Cummins] and today was no different. MISS TONIA looked like she had the advantage at halfway, but soon OLD SCHOOL was sliding by to get the win. Third went to Aaron Beal’s NIGHT MOVES II [RP 40; 455-hp QSM 11 Cummins]. The biggest class of the day was Class M(B) (40 feet and over, 501 to 750 hp), which had 14 entrants. This group was broken up into two heats with the top three finishers in each heat going on to the finals. The favourite and the winner was Eric Beal’s KIMBERLY ANN [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp FPT] followed by Matt Shepard’s ALEXSA ROSE [Morgan Bay 43; 750-hp John Deere] and Roy Whalen’s HANNAH MARIE [Wayne Beal 40; 730-hp MAN]. Nine boats came to the line in Class N (40 feet and over, 751hp and over). Jason Chipman’s MISS AMITY [Mussel Ridge 46; 900-hp Scania] has been one of the boats to beat in this class, but Jason West’s PIER PRESSURE [Osmond 40; 750-hp FPT] showed her stern to her other competitors and got the win. 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] who made the run up the course by herself.

Winter Harbor runs an extra Diesel Class, which they call Class P “Oh My God That’s a Big Boat,” which is for 44 feet and over, any horsepower. MISS AMITY would get the win with Travis Perry’s ISLA & GRAYSON [Wesmac 50; 900-hp Scania] second and GAVIN & DAWSON [Wesmac SW 46; 1001-hp Caterpillar] third.

Next up was the two wooden boat races and with just three entrants in A (Any hp., up to 35 feet 11 inches) WIDE OPEN, ROAR and CINDY JEN and one entrant Wayne Rich’s RICH RETURNS [38’ Robert Rich; 210-hp Cummins] in B (Any hp., 36 feet and over) so they were run down together. WIDE OPEN got first followed by ROAR and then CINDY JEN.

Another special race at Winter Harbor is the Lady Skipper’s race, but here they must make their living fishing the boat they are racing. Just two boats qualified and GOLD DIGGER took the win with Jenna Beal in KIMBERLY ANN second.

In a repeated of Wooden Boat A, minus ROAR, WIDE OPEN got the easy win in the Gasoline Free-for-All with CINDY JEN a distant second.

When they dropped the flag for the Diesel Free-for-All it was not surprising to see WILD WILD WEST jump right into the lead. The real battle was for second and this went to MYSTERY MACHINE followed by LA BELLA VITA.

In the final race of the day, Fastest Lobster Boat, WILD WILD WEST really showed her speed as she streaked up the course for the win. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the radar gun and we could not get a speed on WILD WILD WEST, but their GPS said 63 mph! Second went to SUSPECT followed by LA BELLA VITA.

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When we left Winter Harbor on Saturday 8 August there was just one lobster boat race left, Portland. Katie Werner, organizer of the Portland races, did not know whether she would be able to run her race at that time, but everyone continued hoping it would be a go. There was a problem: last year wakes had done damage at Fore Points Marina. When confronted with this problem in a final meeting with the Coast Guard and the Portland harbormaster, Katie simply said “let us run the race in reverse.” Problem solved and the permit was issued.

In the end there were some close contests, but the big winner was Andrew Taylor’s BLUE EYED GIRL [Morgan Bay 38, 900-hp Scania], with Jeremy Beal’s MISS MARIENA a close second.

During the spring it was announced that the MS Society had decided not to host their fund-raising event known as the MS Harborfest. Katie still wanted to do a fund-raising event associated with the Portland races and decided to raise money for the fishermen’s student scholarships, which is organized by the Maine Fisherman’s Forum.

For those that follow Facebook we learned on the Friday before the Portland Races that a major accident occurred at the dock on Long Island when the Casco Bay Lines dropped Steve Johnson’s race engine, causing extreme damage. So, on Saturday afternoon Steve Johnson, and a number of others, held a boat parade at the Island mourning its loss.

On race day there was overcast skies and a nice breeze out of the east. With all that has taken place over the last six months it was decided that everything would be done out on the water instead of at Portland Yachts Service in Portland. Some boats had been signed up the previous night at The Island Lobster Company on Peak’s Island, which also raised some money for the scholarship fund. There did not seem to be too much confusion as to where to sign up, which was at Tom Werner’s 45-foot Novi PATIENCE anchored on the finish line. Just after 1000 hrs. the rush was over and we had 47 boats signed up, down four from the previous year. I was hoping a couple of new boats would make an appearance: Zach Donnell just launched a Calvin Beal 38 powered with an 800-hp Scania called REGENCY. The other was Chip Johnson’s new FIVE STARS, which was at the races, but did not race.

The first three races are for Work Boats and since there was just one boat, Aaron Johnson’s, in Class A (Skiffs 16-feet and under with outboards up to 30 hp, Operator 18 years and younger) he run up the course by himself. There were four boats on the line for Class B (Inboards, outboards or outdrives, 31 to 90 hp) and no one was surprised to see Jacob Noyes’ ZIPPIN’ TOO [Corson 15; 90-hp Nissan] leading the way with his father’s ZIPPIN’ [Corson 14; 60-hp Johnson] on his stern and Frank Bennett’s MISS DIANE [Lund 18; 90-hp Honda] on his stern as they finished one-two and three.  In Class C (Inboard, Outboard or Outdrive, 90 hp and over) Dave Johnston’s CASCO MISS [Eastern 22, 250-hp Honda] jumped into the lead and the fight for the position second position became the focus. It was bow to bow as they neared the finish line, but Derek Early in a 17-foot Boston Whaler had half a boat length lead over Jay Perrotta’s SCANIA when they crossed.

Next up was the Gasoline Classes and there was no one in Class A and Class E. There were two entrants in Class B: Mark Davis’ WHISKEY GIRL [BHM 25; 350 300 hp Chevrolet] and Jeff Croft’s TILLY [Brownell; 350 260-hp Mercruiser]; one entrant in Class C: Ernie Callow’s MISS MARJORIE [General Marine 26; 300-hp Crusader]; and one on Class D: Keith Ivers’ FUELISH DECISION [502 cid Chevrolet] so they were run up the course all at once with MISS MARJORIE and FUELISH DECISION getting first if they finished. WHISKEY GIRL took the lead right at the drop of the flag and led the way up the course meaning she took first in Class B with second going to TILLY. Unfortunately, FUELISH DECISION had an issue and died on the course and had to be towed to the side.

In the Diesel Classes there was just three races that did not have an entrant: Class D; Class L and Class O. There was also a couple of races, which had just one entrant and they were combined with another race and given first automatically. There was five boats signed up in Class A, but just four came to the line. Missing was Steve Johnson’s TIKI BAR [Jingle Johnson 28; 650-hp GM]. At the dropped of the flag Riley Johnson’s LYNN MARIE [Sisu 26; 235-hp Isuzu] went instantly into the lead and never looked back. Second went to Taylor McGovern’s DOROTHY GRACE [Crowley Beal 26; 230-hp] and third was Peter Haver’s LEDGE HAMMER [Webber’s Cove 26, 225-hp John Deere]. The boat that drew my attention was John Carroll’s wooden GRAMMIE ANNIE, which was built by Frank ‘June’ Day of Brooklin in 1980. There was just entrant, Andrew Millar’s REWBEN [RP 35; 230-hp Cummins] in Class B show she ran down with the three entrants in Class C. There has been a great battle in Class C between Roy Fagonde’s LAST DESIGN and Steven Osgood’s VENOM but LAST DESIGN was a no show after suffering a major engine failure at Friendship. VENOM was the boat to beat and Adam Kimball and MISS ATTITUDE [Holland 32; 265-hp John Deere] did all she could, but was back a couple of boat lengths at the finish. Third went to Allan Dugas’ GRASSHOPPER [Frost 31’; 260-hp Volvo]. Class E has been another well contested race with Dan Sawyer’s HIGH VOLTAGE being the dominate boat, but a very close second was either Kenton Feeney’s BAD INFLUENCE or Ed Shirley’s MISS KYLEE [Holland 32; 430-hp Cummins]. Today, of the three, just MISS KYLEE was on the line and she led the way to the finish line with Randy Durkee’s AUDREY MAY back by a couple of boat lengths. Third went to Ed Apon’s EXCAVATOR [Harris 28; 370-hp Cummins]. In Class F two boats came to the line and it was Cameron Murphy’s BLUE DOLPHIN II [Crowley 36; 402-hp Caterpillar] who took first followed by Josh Audet’s KARAMEL [Jim Beal-34; 380-hp Hyundai]. All the way from Jonesport came Jeremy Beal and MISS MARIENA and he faced off against Tom Cloutier’s ENTRAPMENT [Crowley 33; 490-hp Cummins] in Class G. At the dropped of the flag MISS MARIENA jumped out in front and streaked for the finish line at 45 mph getting first place. Three boats were on the line for Class H and the winner was Nick Martinez’s PRETTY WOMAN [Calvin Beal 36; 510-hp Caterpillar] with second going to John Shusta’s SPECIAL J. [Crowley 36; 450-hp Cummins]. The top boat in Class I was Chris Smith’s MISTY [Crowley Beal 33; 650 hp Scania], who bested Scott Wood’s WILD ONE [Crowley/Beal 33; 892-GM]. In Class J we expected to see Heather Thompson’s GOLD DIGGER, but her boat was still in Harrington as she needed to haul the next day, but Heather was there riding on another boat. Carl Anderson III’s DANICA HAILEY [Calvin Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] took first with Allan Dugas’ DELUSIONAL [38’ John’s Bay Boat, 600-hp Cummins] coming across in second. The only entrant in Class K was Andrew Taylor’s BLUE EYED GIRL [Morgan Bay 38, 900-hp Scania] and being clocked at 49.4 mph proving she was the boat to beat today. Justin Papkee’s PULL N’ PRAY [Wayne Beal 40; 500-hp Hyundai] suffered a major fire before last year’s races at Long Island and over the winter she was trucked to Wayne Beal Boat Shop in Jonesport where she was totally rebuilt. She was now on the line with 50 less horsepower than she had previously meaning she was now in Class M(A). Also, on the line was Allan Knowlton’s SEA URCHIN [Young Brothers 45, 425-hp John Deere]. As the two came up the course, PULL N’ PRAY slowly worked her way into the lead and went on for the win. In Class M(B) KIMBERLY ANN came all the way up from Milbridge for the first time and there was no question she would be the top boat in this class. There was a real fight for second and right at the finish line it was Hugh Bowen’s LONG HAUL [Wesmac 42; 650-hp John Deere] sneaking over for second with Scott Dugas’ SAND DOLLARS III [41’Johns Bay Boat; 700-hp Caterpillar] back by half a boat length in third. There was just one entrant in Class N, Parker Murphy’s TURN THE PAGE [OEM 42, 751-hp John Deere], but he did not make it to the line.

Three boats were on the line for Wooden Boat A and this was won by GRASSHOPPER, followed by TILLY and then GRAMMIE ANNIE. In Wooden Boat B SAND DOLLARS III just got by DELUSIONAL for the win.

In the Gasoline Free for All it was all WHISKEY GIRL with second going to MISS MARJORIE.

In the Diesel Free for All it was BLUE EYED GIRL showing the way to the finish with MISS MARIENA back by two boat lengths. Third went to KIMBERLY ANN. In the final race of the day and season, Fastest Lobster Boat it was the same results as BLUE EYED GIRL streaked over the line with MISS MARIENA just behind her.

With this race the season was over. It was a challenge for everyone involved in making the six races that took place happen, especially the race committees. They had to deal with town officials and people who just did not want to see anything happen. Now, it is onto to the final event of the season, which will be the annual meeting and awards banquet at Robinson’s Wharf on Southport Island 17 October.