The Fish Relay Races held Wednesday, June 29 during the 60th Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days Festival drew a very large crowd, and why not? It’s one of the most exciting and fun competitions adopted from the region’s former Fishermen’s Festival.
The winning team was Shmaker’s Bay. All four runners and their “manager” were from the Youth Sailing Program at Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club, with a time of two minutes and 55.08 seconds.
Competitors must put on fisherman’s rain gear: jacket, bib pants, and boots, then run like a perfect storm is on their heels around the race course set up on Commercial Street from Whale Park, up past the Smiling Cow and back. And this is adult-sized gear; kids have to wear them, too.
Race 1 teams: 3 Girls, 1 Boy & a Cod vs Shipyard Shipwrights; Race 2 teams: Southern Slashers vs The Slimy Cods and The Winners; Race 3 teams from Capitol Island: Capitol Assets vs Capital Liabilities (fathers and grandfathers vs sons and grandsons; we’ll let you decide who was on each team); Race 4 teams: Shipyard Scallywags vs Speedy Cods; Race 5: Mainers vs Shmakers Bay.
A special prize of $25 was given to Shipyard Scallywags team member Kevin Tyska for “willingly sacrificing his body for the team.” Tyska was involved in a collision, stumbled, kept running, and fell again just before the finish. He finally just stayed lying in the middle of Commercial Street with a huge smile on his face. The spectators loved him.
Both shipyard teams were from The Shipyard/Bristol Marine.
People walked away from this year’s races with many memorable visuals ... the young boy who took off with the jacket hanging like a veil with the hood pretty much blocking his vision. Along the way, one woman tried to quickly adjust the hood as he was running by, now with his pants falling down his legs. Another boy took off running, right out of his boots and just left them and kept on running!
One runner was running so hard while holding on so tightly to his fish, the force beheaded one of them with other pieces flying off the body as he ran to the finish.
The races were definitely ones to remember and, recalling how packed the street was and the expressions of the spectators, the memories will linger for quite some time.