There’s gonna be a lot of wake goin’ on this weekend with the start of the 34th lobster boat racing season Saturday, June 15 at 10 a.m. with the Charles Begin Memorial Races right here in Boothbay Harbor. Sign up begins at 9 a.m. Racing fee: $25.
Categories include gas classes based on length and cubic inches, diesel classes based on horsepower and length, a wooden boat race, gas and diesel free-for-alls, and four races just for Boothbay region boats.
The race course runs in front of Tumbler Island toward the finish line at the Maine State Aquarium. The absolute best viewing is on the water, preferably in a boat. Spectators can also catch the action well at the aquarium on McKown Point Road in West Boothbay Harbor. Other spots on land are on Atlantic Avenue, on the east side, at Brown’s Wharf.
Last year in the Gasoline-Free-For-All it was Bud & Dawn in first place; Motivation in first place in the Diesel-Free-For-All. Wild, Wild West, which took just about every race last season, developed issues with its steering arm and was done racing. Three boats competed in the Fastest Lobster Boat Race — Motivation, Blue Eyed Girl and Gold? — crossed the finish line in that order.
There are cash prizes for first ($100), second ($75) and third ($50) and non-cash prizes of equal worth including gift certificates from area restaurants, a snatch block, and prop conditioning.
“We’re expecting right around 40 boats this year, but it’s all weather dependent,” race organizer Ashlee Lowery said.
This year’s T-shirts ($20) and sweatshirts ($30) are navy blue in sizes up to 2XL. Lowery will be at Boothbay Lobster Wharf the night before (Friday, June 14) with a table of the shirts for purchase from 5:30 to 7 p.m. “It’s a great way for us to help promote one of our sponsors,” Lowery said. But don’t despair if you can’t make it that night; all the shirts will be for sale at Brown’s Wharf, a.k.a. Sign Up Central!
Lowery has been organizing the Boothbay Harbor races for the past 14 years. Why? She said it’s a combination of it just being rote at this point and because she just can’t seem to stop.
So, dig out the sunscreen, get your 2019 shirts, don your best shades, and head for the waterfront this Saturday. Maine lobster boat racing season is here!