BOOTHBAY LOBSTER BOAT RACES
Lobster boat racers were asking what happened to spring as the racing season was just weeks away. Several new boats and a number of repowers were waiting for their final details. The biggest worry was could they get what they needed to finish their project. Too many times a boat goes over just before the racing season is to begin with little time to do enough sea trials so she is dialed in.
As we neared the weekend many were looking at the weather forecast and hoping it would change. The forecast called for wind, good size waves and rain and that meant a tough ride to and from Boothbay. Despite the weather Friday afternoon there was 17 boats tied up at Brown’s Wharf and the party was just in the simmer mode. The party heated up and did not end until about 0400.
Boothbay is one of the most popular venues on the racing circuit. It is partly because it is the first race of the season; partly because fishing has not really started; but mostly because it is a social event. Many of those that like to travel around the coast to race love coming to Brown’s Wharf Friday afternoon and joining a number of their friends that they have made over the years. The parties were legendary, but age has quieted the parties down. However, this year I heard that the party lasted until about 0400 when they ran out of alcohol.
Looking around the dock the first new boat I found was Zach Donnell’s REGENCY [Calvin Beal 38; 800-hp Scania], which was launched a couple of years ago. She still looked just like new. Just to her stern was Douglas Blasius’ TWILIGHT II [John’s Bay 46; 803-hp], which was launched last fall. Arriving later that night after a tough ride from Beals Island was Winfred Alley, Jr’s FAITH MELLE [Libby 34; 425-hp Cummins] and Dana Beal’s NATALIE E. [Libby 41; 1,000-hp FPT]. Both boats were launched less than two weeks before. Another new boat arrived on race day and that was Tom Clemons’ 4 LADIES [Wesmac SW46; 1,000-hp Caterpillar], which he launched back in April.
At daybreak rain was falling and a strong wind was coming out of the NW. It was not looking good regarding turnout. Most knew that many were going to roll over and go back to sleep. Once sign-ups concluded we had 39 boats entered and that meant a quick day. Fortunately, once we started the races the sun slowly came out and the wind died out. So, we had a great day on the water and great racing to watch.
First up was the Work Boat Classes. With no boats in Class A, Class B was up. The dominate boat for the last couple of years was Jacob Noyes’ ZIPPIN’ TOO [Corson 15; 90-hp Nissan] and when the flag dropped, he went immediately to the front for the win. Ron Pottle’s DELUSIONAL [Corson 18; 225-hp Evinrude] took the win in Class C.
There were just two boats entered in the Gasoline Classes, all in Class C. As they approached halfway it was obviously a close race, but Lindsay Durkee’s BLACK DIAMOND [Holland 32, 454 Chevrolet] had a couple of boat length lead. The other boat was Jim Koehling BROWN EYED GIRL [Duffy 26; 454-hp Chevrolet], which certainly was competitive.
In the diesel classes there were no entrants in Class D, G, L and O. There was just one entrant in Classes A, B and C and they were sent down together. The winner of Class A was Riley Johnson’s LYNN MARIE [Sisu 26; 235-hp Isuzu]; Class B, Ross Branch’s JACQUELINE [F. Lenfesty 38; 130-hp Volvo], the former ROQUE; and in Class C, Adam Kimball’s MISS ATTITUDE [Holland 32; 265-hp John Deere]. Three boats came to the line for Class E and this was going to be a close race between Randy Durkee brought AUDREY MAY [Holland 32; 425-hp Cummins] and Ed Shirley’s MISS KYLEE [Holland 32; 430-hp Cummins]. As they came up the course it was close, but AUDREY MAY had the advantage and then MISS KYLEE slowed and black smoke poured out her exhaust and then white. The black smoke would likely mean a turbo let go and the white may indicate a piston, but hopefully the diagnosis is not too extreme. Last year she suffered an engine failure just before the racing season started and we did not see her until the Long Island races. Diesel Class F also had three boats on the line. Over the winter Winfred Alley, Jr. built a new boat and sold AIDEN MARINER [Calvin Beal 34; 425-hp Cummins] to Mitch White, who renamed her BOUNTY HUNTER. Winfred’s new boat is FAITH MELLE. When the flag dropped at the start both boats were bow to bow with the edge going to BOUNTY HUNTER. It remained this way right to the finish with BOUNTY HUNTER getting the win. Four boats were on the line for Class H and it was no surprise to sea Dean Beal’s MISS NORMA [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp Cummins] lead the way to the finish line in Diesel Class H. Second went to Travis Otis’ FIRST TEAM [Northern Bay 36; 410-hp Sisu 645] followed by Jason West’s TUNA WISHING [West Bay 37; 450-hp Cummins]. The surprise here was Willie Coomb’s MELYNDA M. [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp FPT] running slowly up the course. It was explained after the race that the engine coded and would only run at a minimal rpm. It is always a good battle between Chris Smith’s MISTY [Crowley Beal 33; 650 hp Scania] and Gary Genthner’s LIL’ LISA MARIE [Mussel Ridge 28; 600-hp FPT], but by a boat length it was LIL’ LISA MARIE getting the win in Class I. The only entrant in Class J was Heather Thompson’s GOLD DIGGER [Wayne Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] so she raced up the course with the two entrants in Class K, Andrew Taylor’s BLUE EYED GIRL [Morgan Bay 38, 900-hp Scania] and Zach Donnell’s REGENCY [Calvin Beal 38; 800-hp Scania]. Getting the win in Class K was BLUE EYED GIRL. In Class M(A) Alan Knowlton’s SEA URCHIN [Young Brothers 45, 425-hp John Deere] was able to slip by Justin Papkee’s PULL ‘N PRAY [Wayne Beal 40; 500-hp Hyundai] for the win. Four boats were on the line and in a very close finish Eric Beal’s KIMBERLY ANN [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp FPT] captured first by half a boat length over Jason Chipman’s MISS MADELYN [Osmond 42; 700-hp Scania]. Third went to Wayne Clemon’s TEMPTATION [Young Brothers 40; 730-hp MAN]. Four boats were on the line for Class N and jumping right into the lead was Chip Johnson’s FIVE STARS [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp Renault-Mack] followed by NATALIE E., 4 LADIES, TWILIGHT II.
There were no entrants in Wooden Boat A, but three were on the line for Wooden Boat B. This was a battle of the John’s Bay Boats, which was won by Scott Dugas’ SAND DOLLARS III [41’Johns Bay Boat; 700-hp Caterpillar], followed by Vance Bunker’s SARI ANN [42’Johns Bay Boat; 660-hp Volvo] and TWILIGHT II.
The Gasoline Free-for-All was a repeat of Gasoline Class C race with BLACK DIAMOND getting the win over BROWN EYED FIRL.
In the Diesel Free-for-All it was all BLUE EYED GIRL, with GOLD DIGGER second and KIMBERLY ANN third.
In the final race of the day, Fastest Lobster Boat it was the same result.
By the time the races were finish, which was about 1300, it turned out to be an enjoyable day: bright sunshine and little wind. However, looking outside you could see that it was still going to be a tough ride to Rockland or home.
There were several missing boats, mostly due to the weather. However, there were some waiting on engines or other items before they could compete. Mark Davis, owner of DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE [Mussel Ridge 28; 1,000-hp Chevrolet] was in Boothbay and said his engine is almost ready and hopes to have it soon. Shawn Alley’s LITTLE GIRL [28’ Calvin Beal Jr.; 466 Ford] is also waiting for his engine and the hope was to have it in and running by the Moosabec Reach Races. Over the winter we heard that Bruce Engert’s THUNDERBOLT [South Shore 30; 621 Chevrolet] would be ready and be the boat to beat, but the talk on the dock was they were still working on an electrical issue. Also missing was Mark Freeman’s FOOLISH PLEASURE [30’ Custom Riley Beal; 650-hp 455 Stroker] and Jeremy Saxton’s VOOP [Duffy 30; 502 Chevrolet], but we did not hear why they were missing. In the Diesel Class we missed Jeremy Beal’s MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II [Wayne Beal 32; 1,000-hp Isotta], but it was said he was still working to get her back together and the weather was an issue. Roy Fagonde’s LAST DESIGN [E. Libby, Jr., 31; 300-hp Caterpillar] did leave Jonesport for Boothbay, but after taking a beating for an hour he turned and headed back, but still came to Boothbay for the party by his truck. Another I certainly thought would be there was Matt Shepard’s ALEXSA ROSE [Morgan Bay 43; 750-hp John Deere], as he made every race last year.
ROCKLAND LOBSTER BOAT RACES
Well, if we thought getting to Boothbay was bad, it was not any better getting to Rockland. The wind was blowing 15 knots out of the northwest and rain was on the way. Those from Downeast who made the trek to Boothbay were already at Rockland, but lots of the missing boats were right from the immediate area. I am sure many took one look at the wind and rain and decided a little more sleep was a much better idea.
When sign ups were done, we had 32 entrants, so this was going to be another quick race as again we combined a number of classes. Unfortunately, Ron Barrett, who does the radar gun, was hampered by the rain, and only got a few speeds.
With a light rain falling and a decent chop coming across the racecourse. First up was the Work Boat Classes and there were no entrants in Class A, so Class B was up first and since there was just one in Class C they were run together. Again, the winner of Class B was ZIPPIN’ TOO and for Class C DELUSIONAL.
There were just two boats entered in the Gasoline Classes: one Class A Jon Johansen’s CINDY JEN [34’ Clinton Beal, 1964; 292 Chevrolet] and BLACK DIAMOND in Class C. They were run down together with each getting the win in their respective class.
In the diesel classes there were no entrants in classes: B, D, I and O. There was just one entrant in Class A Abby Waterman of South Thomaston in FIRST SHOT [James West 28; 210-hp Cummins] and one in Class C LAST DESIGN and they were run together and given first in their respective classes. Three boats were on the line for Class E and the winner in a remarkably close race was Dan Sawyer’s HIGH VOLTAGE [AJ-28; 400-hp Yanmar] with AUDREY MAY second and Shawn Carlson’s KAMERON & HOPE [Mitchell Cove 32; 355-hp Cummins] in third.
Class F was a repeated of Boothbay with BOUNTY HUNTER and FAITH MELLE on the line with Avery Waterman’s SOUTHERN COMFORT [Mitchell Cove 35; 405-hp Cummins]. The battle was for the top two spots between BOUNTY HUNTER and FAITH MELLE with the win going to BOUNTY HUNTER by half a boat length. Also running down with them was David Osgood’s SPLIT SECOND [Crowley Beal 33; 550-hp D-8 Volvo], which was the only entrant in Class G. MISS NORMA took the win in Class H followed by FIRST TEAM and Jeremiah MacDonald’s MARGARET ANN [Calvin Beal 36; 550-hp Nanni] getting third. Again, MELYNDA M. came up the course, but was still having an engine issue. GOLD DIGGER was the only entrant in Class J as was MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II in Class L, but there were three on the line for Class K and they were all sent up together. Winning Class K was Jeff Eaton’s LA BELLA VITA [Northern Bay 38; 815-hp FPT] followed by Steven Osgood’s SHOOTING STAR [Northern Bay 36; 750-hp John Deere] from Vinalhaven. If SHOOTING STAR looks familiar, she is the former MOTIVATION formerly owned by Tom Clemons. REGENCY took third. Three boats were on the line for Class M(A) and the winner was Richard Hildings’ SEA BREEZE [Osmond 40; 500-hp Cummins] followed by SEA URCHIN and PULL N’PRAY. There were two entrants in Class M(B) and just one in Class N so they were run together. It was another close race in Class M(B) between KIMBERLY ANN and MISS MADELYN with the win going to KIMBERLY ANN, but only by half a boat length. The winner of Class N was NATALIE E.
BLACK DIAMOND got the win in the Gasoline Free-for-All with CINDY JEN second.
CINDY JEN then got the win in Wooden Boat A.
In the Diesel Free-for-All the winner was MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II, followed by LA BELLA VITA and then GOLD DIGGER.
In the final race of the day Fastest Lobster Boat Jeremy Beal decided not to push MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II’s engine and did not come to the line. The win went to LA BELLA VITA followed by GOLD DIGGER and KIMBERLY ANN.
At the end of the race the weather was a little better, still a good breeze out of the northwest, but the rain had stopped. Now it is onto Bass Harbor on 26 June and one can only hope for a little better weather.