That’s right, racing fans, it’s time to rev up your motors! Maine’s 2022 lobster boat racing season kicks off right here in Boothbay Harbor with the Charles Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races on Saturday, June 18.
If you’re a boat captain, signup is at Brown’s Wharf at 121 Atlantic Ave. between 8 and 10 a.m. First race is at 10.
This year’s color for the T’s ($20) and sweatshirts ($35) is maroon. Get yours at the signup table. They sell out fast, so get there early even if you’re not the captain of a lobster boat. Consider yourself forewarned!
Sponsor names on the back of these shirts are Samoset Boatworks, Inc., Merton's Fiberglass Supply, Carousel Marina & Fuel, Robert Kohler Design, New York Life Ins. Co. Agent Kyndall Schmidt; major sponsors are Kaler's Restaurant, Pat Farrin and Sons Dirt Work, Rope Razor, Hammond Lumber Company, Kaler Oil Co., Inc., Mainetain Charters, Barrett Transportation, Water Street Kitchen & Bar, Cook's Landing Pizzeria & Pub, Ocean Point Homes, Gerry Gamage, Town of Boothbay Harbor. The 2022 Super sponsors are Red's Eats Inc., Harold W. Bishop Agency, Nautilus Marine Fabrication, Brooks Trap Mill, Rose's Oil Service, Inc., Mama D's Mercantile Inc., Ames Supply, Inc., Working Man Construction Co. Inc., E.M. Wood Construction, Inc, Viking Lumber Inc., Hodgdon Yacht Services, Martin Page, Janson's Clothing and A/C MidCoast Storage. Additional sponsor/donors’ names will appear on flyers distributed come racing day.
Ashleeann Lowery has been a member of the Boothbay Harbor Race Committee since 2007, and president for 10 or so of those years. She’s looking forward to the races and is curious about how many boats will show up.
“We may have more this year,” Lowery said. “What I hear from Jon Johansen, he’s president of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing, and sees a lot of these guys, is no one cares about the gas prices. They just want to get out there and live life.”
That speaks volumes about how much lobstermen look forward to racing season – especially when you consider the high cost of marine diesel. On June 9, the National Fisherman reported diesel was $5.70 a gallon; in May, it was $5.93 a gallon. A boat fill-up would run hundreds of dollars.
The race course runs in front of Tumbler Island toward the finish line at Maine State Aquarium on McKown Point Road in West Boothbay Harbor where the race committee will be.
Here’s who’ll likely be racing to retain their championship titles from 2021: Fastest Working Lobster Boat, Boothbay: Blue Eyed Girl/Andrew Taylor (47 mph); Fastest Working Lobster Boat: Blue Eyed Girl/Andrew Taylor (51 mph); Gasoline Free For All: Foolish Pleasure/Mark Freeman (46 mph); Diesel Free For All: Maria Nightmare II/Jeremy Beal (50.1 mph); Diesel Class K – 701-900 hp, 28 feet and over: Blue Eyed Girl (56 mph).
To relive last year’s event and refresh your memory, visit www.boothbayregister.com/article/2021-boothbay-harbor-lobster-boat-races...
If you can’t be out on a boat, lots of race fans watch from the aquarium. Bring binoculars and watch from Brown’s Wharf and at Whale’s Tale next door. Racing information will be broadcast over VHF marine channel 10.
The first place winners in the Fastest Gasoline, Fastest Diesel and Fastest Lobster Boat Afloat categories will each win a cash prize of $200 or a gift certificate for a prize of comparable value.
“Some folks follow the boat races weekend after weekend, it isn’t just the committee members,” Lowery said. “You become part of a family and we are lucky enough to be the first race of the season so a lot of people come out for it.”
Never been? You’ve got to go. Check out the photos from last year’s lobster boat races taken by Michael Leonard: www.boothbayregister.com/article/2021-boothbay-harbor-lobster-boat-races...