Jeremy Beal’s MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II setting the record at Moosabec Reach 68.3 mph
BASS HARBOR, 26 June
Early in the week the weather forecast for the Bass Harbor races was looking good. The forecast did not change through the week and on race day we had a perfect summer day, bright sunshine, and a light cool SW breeze. Early in the morning of race day (26 June) Penobscot Bay was flat calm as was the waters around and outside of Bass Harbor.
Bass Harbor is one of the quintessential working harbors along the Maine coast. Filled with lobster boats, a few docks loaded with traps, a couple of lobster buyers, two boat yards and a restaurant.
There was a steady line of boats coming into the harbor right up till 0930. A large contingent came from Downeast: Beals, Jonesport and Milbridge, and some from the west’ard: Deer Isle, Islesboro, Searsport, Stonington and Vinalhaven. However, most of the competitors came from Mount Desert Island. When sign up closed we had 43 boats ready to race.
It was not that long ago that the Work Boat Classes drew almost 25 to 35 percent of the racers. However, over the last several years these numbers have dropped substantially depending on the venue. The further Downeast we go we still see a good turnout of what is known as the “mosquito fleet.” A number of fishermen, most those under 20, opt for an 18-to-24-footer with a center console and a pot hauler, some even had a fore deck, trunk, and house, and mostly always powered with an outboard, but inboard/outboards or inboards were also used.
There was only one boat in the Work Boat Classes, Nathaniel Robertson’s DADDY DIDN’T BUY IT [Passamaquoddy 24; 175-hp Mariner], which won Work Boat Class C (Inboards, outboards or outdrives 91-hp and over).
One could say the same for the gasoline powered boats. However, it is easier to understand these diminishing numbers as few fishermen opt for a gasoline over a diesel engine. Many of the boats that enter the gasoline class are classic lobster boats, now used for pleasure, or true race boats with big powerful deafening engines. On this day there were just two entrants in the five gasoline classes, one (Roy Hadlock’s EMPTY POCKETS [Crowley 28; 350 Chevrolet]) in Class B (V8, Up to 375 cid, 24 feet and over) and one (Lindsay Durkee’s BLACK DIAMOND [Holland 32, 454 Chevrolet]) on Class C (V8, 376 to 525 cid, 24 feet and over). The classes were combined and it was BLACK DIAMOND leading the way to the finish.
In the diesel classes there were no entrants in just Class A. There were several with only one entrant and those were combined with another class to speed up the day. The first race was Class B (up to 235 hp, 32 feet and over) and it was going to be a close one between the two racers on the line: Brian Gordius’ SUN DANCER [Stanley 36, 210-hp Caterpillar] and Wayne Rich’s RICH RETURNS [38’ Robert Rich; 210-hp Cummins]. As they headed for the finish they were bow to bow and it was so close that when they crossed the finish line it was deemed a tie. Four boats were on the line for Class C and the winner was Roy Fagonde’s LAST DESIGN [E. Libby, Jr., 31; 300-hp Caterpillar] with second going to Ryan Mitchell’s HANNAH PEARL [BHM 28; 265-hp John Deere]. There was just one entrant in Class D (Diesel Class D- 236-335 hp, 34 feet and over), Shawn Stanley’s MISS MARGO [Mitchell Cove 35; 300-hp John Deere], and he ran down the course with Class C. Four boats were on the line for Class E (336 to 435 hp, 24-33 feet) and this was going to be a close race between Randy Durkee’s AUDREY MAY [Holland 32; 425-hp Cummins] and Dan Sawyer’s HIGH VOLTAGE [AJ-28; 400-hp Yanmar] and they did not disappoint. As they sped for the finish line they were bow to bow, but right before they crossed AUDREY MAY slipped by with a boat length to spare and got the win with a speed of 36 mph. Third went to Dan Eaton’s DESTINY [Crowley 28; 420-hp Yanmar]. Class F (336-435 hp, 34 feet and over) has been exciting races (Boothbay and Rockland) between Mitch White’s BOUNTY HUNTER [Calvin Beal 34; 425-hp Cummins] and Winfred Alley, Jr.’s FAITH MELLE [Libby 34; 425-hp Cummins], with BOUNTY HUNTER getting both wins by mere few feet. The big question was did FAITH MELLE find a little more speed? Yes, she did, crossing the finish with a half boat length lead. Class G (436 to 550 hp, 28-35 feet) had just one entrant (David Osgood’s SPLIT SECOND [Crowley Beal 33; 550-hp D-8 Volvo]) so he ran down with the four boats in Class H (436 to 550 hp, 36 feet and over). Dean Beal’s MISS NORMA [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp Cummins] jumped right into the lead followed by Willie Coombs’ MELYNDA M. [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp FPT] and Travis Otis’ FIRST TEAM [Northern Bay 36; 410-hp Sisu 645] in third. After a total refurbishing Josef Guptill’s INDIAN OUTLAW [Northern Bay 38; 500-hp Cummins], made her first appearance and placed fourth. Two boats were on the line for Class I (551 to 700 hp, 28-35 feet) and the win went to Travis Lunt’s STEPPIN’ OUT [Mitchell Cove 35; 580-hp Volvo] followed by Colby Oakes’ TRIPLE X [Mitchell Cove 35, 650-hp Scania]. Heather Thompson and GOLD DIGGER [Wayne Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] continued her domination of Diesel Class J (551 to 700 hp, 36 feet and over) with second going to Eric Robbins’ SLEEPLESS NIGHTS [Calvin Beal 36; 675-hp Scania]. Class K (701 to 900 hp, 28 feet and over) promised to be another close race between David Myrick’s JANICE ELAINE [Northern Bay 38; 815-hp FPT] and Jeff Eaton’s LA BELLA VITA [Northern Bay 38; 815-hp FPT] and it was. They came up the course side by side and just before crossing the finish line LA BELLA VITA slipped out in front by a boat length for the win. Probably the most anticipated race of the day was next when Cameron Crawford’s WILD WILD WEST [West 28; 1,050-hp Isotta] Class O (Non-working boats, any length, any horsepower) agreed to ran up the course with Jeremy Beal’s MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II [Wayne Beal 32; 1,000-hp Isotta] in Class L (901 hp and over, 28 feet and over). When the flag dropped smoke poured from WILD WILD WEST’s stack and it looked as though MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II was in the lead, but also that WILD WILD WEST was closing in. They thundered for the finish and it kept getting closer and when they crossed the finish line they were bow to bow, but since they were in separate classes, they each got their respective wins. Then came the announcement that the speed was 62 mph and each were awarded the speed and the record. In Class M(A) (40 feet and over, up to 500 hp) Chris Pope’s OLD SCHOOL [Holland 41; 380-hp Cummins] took the win with Chris Goodwin’s DREW & HENRY [Osmond 40; 500-hp John Deere] second. Class M(B) (40 feet and over, 501 to 750 hp.) is always a close race between Eric Beal’s KIMBERLY ANN [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp FPT] and Jason Chipman’s MISS MADELYN [Osmond 42; 700-hp Scania] and when they came off the line one thought they would be side by side, but KIMBERLY ANN slowed just after the start nearly coming to a stop before she got going again. MISS MADELYN easily took the win, but the battle was for second and amazingly KIMBERLY ANN was able to run down Romain Jordan’s AMP [Osmond 43, 750-FPT] for second. The first two races of the year Class N (40 feet and over, 751-hp and over) has been won by Dana Beal’s NATALIE E. [Libby 41; 1,000-hp FPT], but Robert Jones, Jr’s. BOUNTY HUNTER IV [Calvin Beal 44; 1,400-hp MAN] slipped by and won by a boat length with a speed of 39 mph. Third went to Aaron Beal’s NIGHT MOVES II [RP 40; 800-hp Scania].
Next up was the Mitchell Cove Boat Race, which saw STEPPIN’ UP and TRIPLE X on the line again and with the same result.
There were no entrants in Wooden Boat A and just one in Wooden Boat B, RICH RETURNS, which ran down the course by herself for the win.
In the Gasoline Free-for-All BLACK DIAMOND and EMPTY POCKETS was on the line and it was all BLACK DIAMOND with EMPTY POCKETS getting second.
Six boats were on the line for the Diesel Free-for-All and MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II and WILD WILD WEST opted not to race again due to some minor issues on each boat. So, it was a re-match between JANICE ELAINE and LA BELLA VITA. As they came up the course it was close and as they got closer to the finish line JANICE ELAINE slide into the lead for the win. Third went to GOLD DIGGER.
In the Fastest Lobster Boat Race four boats were on the line and again it was a close one between JANICE ELAINE and LA BELLA VITA again, but with the same results as in the Diesel Free-for-All.
The final race of the day was Bass Harbor’s Fastest Lobster Boat, which was won by STEPPIN’ UP, followed by Patrick Hanley’s SOPHIE MACK [Young Brothers 40; 610-hp Volvo] and RICH RETURNS.
It was an excellent day for racing, some close races and a new diesel record was set. With less than a week to go before the Moosabec Reach races (2 July) one can be assured that some boats will make changes to gain a little more speed. With two boats holding the diesel record will they both be at Moosabec and do they have more for each other? I am betting they do, which will make for a very interesting day.
MOOSABEC LOBSTER BOAT RACES, 2 July
Everyone was watching the weather forecast, which was not looking good for the Moosabec races on Saturday, 2 July. As the weekend approached the forecast remained the same, showers through Friday night to Saturday morning with clearing before noon. During the night I heard several down pours, and was hoping it was going to clear earlier than forecasted. When I headed for Jonesport there was some very light rain and it looked like it might clear. However, when I arrived in Jonesport it got darker and the rain heavier. The rain was not the biggest worry, that is fog and when I got to Moosabec Reach you could see both ends, we were good to go.
Sign-ups were steady and the last one did not arrive until after 1000 hrs. Signing up for the first time this year was Mark Davis’ DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE [Mussel Ridge 28; 1,000-hp Chevrolet] and Mark Freeman’s FOOLISH PLEASURE [30’ Custom Riley Beal; 650-hp 455 Stroker]. Mark Davis was able to get his engine back from the builder and get her running. Mark Freeman is still running last year’s engine and will only do a handful of races this year. He is hoping next year to have a new and bigger engine. On Friday night FOOLISH PLEASURE’s engine had an issue, but they hoped they had it fixed. Some may not have noticed the torpedo stern TATIANA [Willis Beal 36; 240-hp MAN], steered by Josh Kelley of Roque Island. She was the last big boat built by Willis Beal of Beals Island and the last wooden torpedo stern boat built in Maine. She was built for Julian Fischer of Port Clyde and was launched in 1991. Willis did follow this boat up with the plugs for the RP 31 and RP 35.
Who was missing: Shawn Alley and LITTLE GIRL [28’ Calvin Beal Jr.; 466 Ford, Blower], which is still waiting for his engine to return from the engine builder; and Doug Dodge’s UNCLE HAROLD [Doug Dodge 28’; 350 ci Chevrolet]. Doug and several helpers were able to get the boat out of the shop Thursday evening and on Friday they began sea trials. He was clocked at 42 mph, but lost the water pump and that ended his chances to race on Saturday. Many were hoping to see Cameron Crawford’s WILD WILD WEST [West 28; 1,050-hp Isotta], and a re-match between Jeremy Beal’s MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II [Wayne Beal 32; 1,000-hp Isotta] as to who has the fastest diesel boat. Glenn Crawford said during the week that he was not going to make it as he needed to check her cooling system as she had overheated at the Bass Harbor races and he was not going to have time to do that.
When sign-ups were done we had 82 entrants and after a downpour it began clearing, we were ready for racing.
The first event of the day, a recreational boat race, was won by Alton Smith in OB-II at a speed of 62.4 mph.
To date we have not had many entrants in the Work Boat Classes, but this day we had one in Class A; nine in Class B; and 8 in Class C. Teggan MacLaughlin in SHIT DIGGER [14’ aluminum; 25-hp Yamaha] won Class A. Class B has been dominated by Ralph Davis in ALPEX [16’, 90 hp Johnson] for years and today was no different with second going to Ned Merchant’s THE BOY [16’; 90-hp Mercury]. The winner of Class C was Caleb Norton’s WHITE LIGHTNIN’ [Mako 20; 200-hp Evinrude] followed over by Nick Graham’s MADDISON ANN [Libby 18; 115-hp Yamaha].
There were no entrants in Gasoline Classes A, C and E and there was just one in Class B and two in Class D so they were all sent down together. When the flag dropped the big engines of DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE and FOOLISH PLEASURE in Class D could be heard all over the Reach. DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE jumped out into the lead and about third of the way to the finish line FOOLISH PLEASURE pulled off the course with an engine issue. The winner of Class B was D. Crowley’s LEXIANN MARIE [General Marine 25; 350 Chevrolet] and of Class D DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE with a speed of 44.3 mph.
The only Diesel Class with no entrants was Class O. Five boats were on the line for Class A and Jacob Kirby’s BARE BOTTOM [BHM 25, 220-hp John Deere] crossed the finish line with a two boat length lead over Anson Kelley’s MISTY MAE I [Wayne Beal 28; 230-hp John Deere]. Early on it looked like it was going to be a close race in Class B, but about halfway Curtis Robinson, Jr.’s BETSY ANN [Calvin Beal 34, 220-ho John Deere] slipped out in front and won. Second went to Chad Libby’s MYRTLE BELLE [Libby 34, 205-hp John Deere]. There were just two entrants in each Class C and D so they were run up together. Roy Fagonde’s LAST DESIGN [E. Libby, Jr., 31; 300-hp Caterpillar] easily won Class C with TATIANA second and Ivan Libby’s WRECKING CREW [Libby 38; 305-hp Caterpillar] took the top spot in Class D with second going to Conner Rossi’s ELLEN LOUISE [RP 35; 300-hp John Deere]. Class E had three entrants and all eyes were on the Randy Durkee’s AUDREY MAY [Holland 32; 425-hp Cummins] and Dan Sawyer’s HIGH VOLTAGE [AJ-28; 400-hp Yanmar] as they have had real close races this year. As they came for the finish line it was close again and looked like HIGH VOLTAGE had the advantage, but just before crossing AUDREY MAY slipped ahead for the win by less than half a boat length with a speed of 35.1 mph. Another competitive class this year has been Class F between Mitch White’s BOUNTY HUNTER [Calvin Beal 34; 425-hp Cummins] and Winfred Alley, Jr.’s FAITH MELLE [Libby 34; 425-hp Cummins], but today it was FAITH MELLE winning by several boat lengths. The real race was between FAITH MELLE and Dana Beal’s RIGHT STUFF [Libby 34; 500 hp Cummins]. There was only one entrant in Class G, RIGHT STUFF, so she was sent up with Class F and FAITH MELLE beat him over the line by two boat lengths. Six boats were on the line for Class H and no one was surprised to see Dean Beal’s MISS NORMA [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp Cummins] come across the finish line first with Willie Coombs’ MELYNDA M. [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp FPT] second. Ryan Lemieux’s OBSESSION [Young Brothers 35; 450-hp Volvo] won Diesel Class I with second with Tony Gallagher’s MARGARET E. [Young Brothers 30; 580-hp FPT]. MARGARET E. was formerly owned by Patrick Faulkingham of Winter Harbor. There were two entrants in Class J and K so they ran up together. Heather Thompson’s GOLD DIGGER [Wayne Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] showed no mercy to her son, Nat Thompson in EASY MONEY [Calvin Beal 36; 600-hp Cummins] winning Class J. In Class K it was a great battle between David Myrick’s JANICE ELAINE [Northern Bay 38; 815-hp FPT] and Ira Guptill’s MYSTERY MACHINE [Northern Bay 38; 750-hp, John Deere], but JANICE ELAINE crossed with a three-boat length advantage. Class L, with just MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II entered, ran the course alone for the win. Ten boats were on the starting line for Class M(A) and it was sad to learn that two weeks previous Milton Merchant, owner of MISS TONIA [Libby 41; 500-hp Cummins] had passed away and his son David would run her in the race. When the flag dropped MISS TONIA jumped into the lead and got the win by two boat length over Patrick Kelley’s FEELING’ NAUTI [Osmond 40; 405-hp Cummins]. Class M(B) has been dominated by Eric Beal’s KIMBERLY ANN [Calvin Beal 42; 750-hp FPT] and Jason Chipman’s MISS MADELYN [Osmond 42; 700-hp Scania] so a number were surprised to see Todd Pinkham’s TERRIE J. [South Shore 42; 750-hp FPT] out in front with MISS MADELYN right on her stern and on his stern was KIMBERLY ANN and that is how they finished. Eight boats were entered in Class N and it was all Dana Beal’s NATALIE E. [Libby 41; 1,000-hp FPT] with second going to Dixon Smith’s SIZE MATTERS [Libby 45’ 3”; 1,000-hp FPT].
Where are the wooden boats? Beals and Jonesport was always a place that one could see a number of wooden lobster boats. Unfortunately, they have been slowly replaced by fiberglass models. The only entrant was TATIANA in the Wooden Boat A and this time Willis Beal took the helm and sailed her up the course.
Just two boats were on the line for the Gasoline Free-for-All, DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE and FOOLISH PLEASURE, which had cured her engine issue. With the drop of the flag all heard the scream of their engines as they headed down the course with DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE leading the way.
Five boats were on the line for the Diesel Free-for-All and no one was surprised to see MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II lead the others up the course with a speed of 55.6 mph. Second went to JANICE ELAINE.
Three boats entered the World’s Fastest Working Lobster Boat and JANICE ELAINE lead the way with the real battle being for second between GOLD DIGGER and MYSTERY MACHINE, which went to MYSTERY MACHINE by a boat length.
Now came the final race of the day, World’s Fastest Recreational Lobster Boat. It was known that Jeremy Beal in MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II was going to give it all in the final race of the day and without a problem could he set a new diesel speed record? DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE was going well, but should not be a threat to MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II. As the two came flying up the right side of the course it was obvious MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II was well in front and came streaking across the finish line quickly followed by DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE. Then came the announcement from the person running the radar gun that MARIA’S NIGHTMARE’s speed was 68.3 mph and DOWNEAST NIGHTMARE 61.4 mph. In looking at all the radar speeds for the day they were all where they should be and it was deemed these two speeds were good. This gave MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II the record for the top diesel speed. But what was the cost? Jeremy said that he had an issue with the gear and thought the top end of the engine had an issue and did not think that he would have time to repair the issues before the Stonington races (10 July), but would try.
Four races are in the books, with Stonington up next and this is always one of the biggest races of the year.
STONINGTON LOBSTER BOAT RACES, 10 July
One could not have asked for a better day on the waters of Penobscot Bay. When Tom Brownell, of Brownell Boat Haulers of Mattapoisett, MA, and I left Searsport on CINDY JEN [34’ Clinton Beal, 1964; 292 Chevrolet] at 0530 there was no wind and the sun was just coming up. Tom and his crew were up here moving the oyster schooner A. J. MEERWALD from the parking lot next to Front Street Shipyard in Belfast to Front Street’s main yard so the Shipyard could pick her up with the travelift and put her in the water after a major rebuild.
We arrived at Stonington at 0740 and there were just a few race boats on the dock, where they had spent the night. Sign-ups were steady, right up to 1000 and when finished we had just 53 boats registered. Many were hoping to see Jeremy Beal’s MARIA’S NIGHTMARE II [Wayne Beal 32; 1,000-hp Isotta] and Cameron Crawford’s WILD WILD WEST [West 28; 1,050-hp Isotta] go at, but neither boat was there. We knew Jeremy had issues with his gear and engine after setting the speed record at Moosabec Reach on 2 July. Both will probably face off at the Winter Harbor races 13 August, which could be the event of the year.
There were 10 boats entered in the Work Boat classes. Class A was won by Haven Ciomei’s ESSIE GRACE [Holland 14; 25-hp Yanmar]; Class B by Ned Merchant’s THE BOY [Aluminum 16’; 90-hp Mercury]; and Class C by Edgar Robbins’ ONLY ADVICE [Bayliner 20; 125-hp Force].
Stonington is the home for over a dozen wooden boats built by the John’s Bay Boat Company of South Bristol, but just one, John Williams’ KHRISTY MICHELLE [44’ Johns Bay; 500-hp Cummins] was entered in the John’s Bay Boat Company Race.
The Gasoline Classes have not seen a very good turn out this year with just two gasoline powered boats showing up at Stonington. CINDY JEN won Class A and Lindsay Durkee’s BLACK DIAMOND [Holland 32, 454 Chevrolet] won Class C.
Another dwindling class is Wooden Boats, and just two were entered this day. CINDY JEN won Wooden Boat A and KHRISTY MICHELLE Wooden Boat B.
Next up was the Diesel Classes and there were no entrants in Classes B, C, L and O and if there was just one entrant in a class we combined them with another race. The dominate boat in Class A this year is Abby Waterman’s FIRST SHOT [James West 28; 210-hp Cummins] from South Thomaston as she bested Brandon Murphy’s BLACK THUNDAH II [Repco 30; 210-hp Cummins]. The only entrant in Class D was Dan Carter’s OUTNUMBERED [Duffy 35; 300-hp John Deere]. A real good battle took place in Diesel Class E between Danny Eaton’s DESTINY [Crowley 28; 420-hp Yanmar] and Randy Durkee’s AUDREY MAY [Holland 32; 425-hp Cummins], which was won by AUDREY MAY. Third went to Mark Fowler’s THOMAS WAYNE [Osmond 27; 430-hp Cummins]. Seven boats were on the line for Class F and we all expected a close race between Mitch White’s BOUNTY HUNTER [Calvin Beal 34; 425-hp Cummins] and Winford Alley’s FAITH MELLE [Libby 34; 425-hp Cummins]. They both have battled for the top spot in Class F all year and every finish has been close, sometimes within a boat length of each other and this day was no different. It was so close that the race committee used video to make sure the results were correct and the win went to FAITH MELLE. The only boat in Class G was Thomas Ciomei’s NOT ENOUGH [Duffy 35; 330-hp John Deere]. Four boats were on the line for Class H and with the dropped of the flag Willie Coombs’ MELYNDA M. [Wayne Beal 36; 500-hp FPT] jumped into the lead followed by Travis Otis’ FIRST TEAM [Northern Bay 36; 410-hp Sisu 645]. About three quarters of the way to the finish FIRST TEAM’s engine stopped, and after several attempts to refire, she finally started, but by then all other were finished. The win in Diesel Class I went to Chris Smith’s MISTY [Crowley Beal 33; 650 hp Scania] closely followed by Tony Gallagher’s MARGARET E. [Young Brothers 30; 580-hp FPT], skippered by Avery Scott. No one was surprised when Heather Thompson’s GOLD DIGGER [Wayne Beal 36; 675-hp Scania] streaked up the course and across the finish line for first in Diesel Class J with second going to David Haskell’s MOLLY RYAN [Holland 38; 602-hp QSM Cummins]. The two fastest boats entered were up next: Andrew Taylor and BLUE EYED GIRL [Morgan Bay 38, 900-hp Scania] and Jeff Eaton’s LA BELLE VITA [Northern Bay 38; 815-hp FPT] and in a close race it was BLUE EYED GIRL getting the win in Class K. Three boats were on the line for Class M(A), which was won by Chris Pope’s OLD SCHOOL [Holland 41; 380-hp Cummins] followed by Allen Knowlton’s SEA URCHIN [Young Brothers 45, 425-hp John Deere]. Matt Shepard and ALEXSA ROSE [Morgan Bay 43; 750-hp John Deere] made their first appearance of the season in Class M(B), and it became obvious why he had not shown up before as he was in a full neck brace following an automobile accident. He faced off against three other challengers and fell to just Jason Chipman’s MISS MADELYN [Osmond 42; 700-hp Scania] in another close race of the day. Six boats were entered in Class N, but just five came to the line with the win going to Dana Beal’s NATALIE E. [Libby 41; 1,000-hp FPT] followed by Robert Jones, Jr.’s BOUNTY HUNTER IV [Calvin Beal 44; 1,400-hp MAN].
The two gasoline powered boats faced off in the Gasoline Free-for-All and it was no surprise to see BLACK DIAMOND led CINDY JEN to the finish.
Next came a rematch between BLUE EYED GIRL and LA BELLA VITA in the Diesel Free-for-All with the same results. Third went to GOLD DIGGER. This would also be the same results for the Andrew Gove Memorial Cup – Fastest Working Lobster Boat and the Fastest Lobster Boat Afloat.
Five down and it was now off to Friendship on 17 July.
FRIENDSHIP LOBSTER BOAT RACES, 17 July
It was a pleasant sail down West Penobscot Bay, through the Mussel Ridges and over to Friendship for a day of racing. On the way there was some wind, some rain, some fog, but when I arrived in Friendship it was bright sunshine with a slight sea breeze, perfect. Sign up went smoothly and when finished there were 32 boats signed up to race.
There were nine boats signed up for the Work Boat classes. Jennifer and Emily Noyes’ JENILY [Corson 14; 30-hp Johnson] from Harpswell came out for the first time this year and won Work Boat Class A with a speed of 34 mph. Four boats were on the line for Class B and this was won by Jacob Noyes’ ZIPPIN TOO [Corson 15; 90-hp Nissan] followed by David Noyes’ ZIPPIN [Corson 14; 60-hp Johnson], his father. From Newburyport, MA Griffin Fogerty, helmed MISS DIANE III [Lund 18; 90-hp Honda] to third. Four boats were on the line for Class C and this was won Ron Pottle’s DELUSIONAL [Corson 18; 225-hp Evinrude] with second going to Myron Wotten’s [23’ Seaway; 115-hp Suzuki].
Just two boats were entered for the Gasoline Classes with no entrants in Class B, D and E and just one in A and C. Jon Johansen’s CINDY JEN [34’ Clinton Beal, 1964; 292 Chevrolet] would win Class A and Lindsay Durkee’s BLACK DIAMOND [Holland 32, 454 Chevrolet], would win Class C.
Next up was the Diesel Classes, with no entrants in Class C, F, L and O. There were also several classes with just one entrant and they were run down with another classes. What is interesting to denote is the difference in competition in certain classes depending on the area of the coast. The further Downeast we go the more boats we get over 40-feet and there are times that we have to divide one class up into several heats to qualify for the finals. There was just one boat entered in Class A (Abby Waterman’s FIRST SHOT [James West 28; 210-hp Cummins]) and one in Class B (Robert Achorn’s MELODY MARIE II [Young Brothers 33; 210-hp Cummins]). They were run together with each getting the win in their respective classes. There was just one boat in Classes D (Frank Guptill’s SALTY COD [Duffy 35; 300-hp John Deere]) and E (Randy Durkee’s AUDREY MAY [Holland 32; 425-hp Cummins]), so they were ran down together. There was just one boat (David Osgood’s SPLIT SECOND [Crowley Beal 33; 550-hp D-8 Volvo]) entered in Class G so she ran down with Class H. There were two boats in Class H, which was won by Travis Otis’ FIRST TEAM [Northern Bay 36; 410-hp Sisu 645] with second going to Philip Genthner’s MELINDA KAY [South Shore 38; 500-hp Hyundai]. Two boats were on the line for Class I and the win went to Gary Genthner’s LIL’ LISA MARIA [Mussel Ridge 28; 600-hp FPT] with a speed of 41.7 mph followed over by Chris Smith’s MISTY [Crowley Beal 33; 650 hp Scania]. Just like at the Stonington races, Andrew Taylor’s BLUE EYED GIRL [Morgan Bay 38, 900-hp Scania] and Jeff Eaton’s LA BELLA VITA [Northern Bay 38; 815-hp FPT] would battle for the day’s fastest boat, beginning with Class K. As they came up the course it was close, but BLUE EYED GIRL had the advantage. About halfway up the course LA BELLA VITA slowed, but regained speed and crossed in second. Jeff said that the engine coded, likely due to temperature, but seemed to be okay. Also, running with Class K was the only boat entered in Class J, Carl Gross’s HEY BABY [Northern Bay 36; 610-hp Volvo]. In Class M(A) two boats were on the line and Alan Knowlton’s SEA URCHIN [Young Brothers 45, 425-hp John Deere] would get the win with a speed of 22.3 mph. Second went to Dustin Delano’s KNOTTY LADY [Wayne Beal 40; 500-hp Hyundai]. There was just one boat in Class M(B), Matt Shepard’s ALEXSA ROSE [Morgan Bay 43; 750-hp John Deere] so she ran up with the four boats in Class N. It was a great race with ALEXSA ROSE right in the middle of the fray. The winner of Class N was Keith Simmons, Jr.’s ISAAC & COLBY [Wayne Beal 46, 1,400-hp MAN] with second going to Tom Clemon’s 4 LADIES [Wesmac SW46; 1,000-hp Caterpillar] followed by Frank Guptill’s TAYLOR NICOLE [Calvin Beal 44; 1000-hp Caterpillar].
The only wooden boat entered in the day’s races was CINDY JEN and this race was combined with the Gasoline Free-for-All. BLACK DIAMOND got the win in the Gasoline Free-for-All and CINDY JEN won Wooden Boat A and placed second in the Gasoline Free-for-All.
Six boats were on the line for the Diesel Free-for-All and no one was surprised to see BLUE EYED GIRL lead LA BELLA VITA to the finish with third going to ALEXSA ROSE.
Five boats came to the line for the final race of the day, Fastest Lobster Boat. It looked like it was going to be the same result, but again LA BELLA VITA slowed and this time headed off course. The win went to BLUE EYED GIRL, followed by ALEXSA ROSE and then 4 LADIES.
With such a gorgeous day I am puzzled at the light turn out. I figured there would be between 40 and 50 boats racing. One can wonder if it is the price of fuel, price for lobsters or just other events got in the way. The turn out so far this year is about where it was last year, which was slightly less than the year before. That downturn was due to weather was several races had rain.
Now it is on to Harpswell, 24 July. Hope to see you there!