Lobster boat racing season opener June 17
Spectators and lobstermen alike are getting revved up for Boothbay Harbor's Charles Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races set for Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. This year marks the 32nd year of lobster boat races in Boothbay Harbor.
Racing 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 and event organizer Ashley Lowery expects 40 boats to be on that course.
Racing awards are all cash prizes for the first three placing boats in each race: First place $150, second place $100 and third place $50 — are presented from the prize float. Lowery said boat captains can choose the cash or another prize of equal value; for example, a first place winner might opt for two lobster traps or a gift certificate from Marine Hydraulics.
Over 40 boats raced in 2015. Here’s a recap of the first place winners: Nugget, Cameron Murphy; Zippin, Amanda Dumas; Casco Miss, Dave Johnson; Whiskey Girl, Mark Davis; Black Diamond, Randy Durkee; Thunderbolt, Bruce Engert; Fastest Working Lobster Boat – Boothbay only race: Blue Eyed Girl, Andrew Taylor (two races); Gracie, Ed Glover (two races); Sand Dollars III, Scott Dugas; Lynn Marie, Steve Johnson; Last Design, Winifred Alley; Pull n’ Pray, Justin Papkee; Bigger Girls, Steve Carver; Ms. Rose, Ed Torosian; Seacock, Todd Ritchie; First Team, Travis Otis; Margaret E., Patrick Faulkingham; Lisa Marie, Gary Genthner; Wild Wild West, Cameron Crawford (three races – including fastest lobster boat at 54.8 mph); 51, Billy Bob Faulkingham; Whistlin’ Dixie, Andy Johnson; Black Diamond, Randy Durkee.
The finale, which determines the fastest working lobster boat in the race, was won last year by Cameron Crawford’s Wild Wild West besting Andy Johnson in Whistlin’ Dixie. These two boats have a history throughout the season - and many years - of causing a whole lotta wake as captains Crawford and Johnson take each other on.
On June 19, the boats head for Rockland, followed by Bass Harbor, Long Island, Moosabec Reach, Searsport, Stonington, Friendship, Harpswell, Winter Harbor, Pemaquid, Portland and Eastport.
Lobster boat racing trivia: Maine lobster boat racing originated in the waters between Jonesport and Beals Island.
A welcome party will be held back at Boothbay Lobster Wharf the night before the races, Friday, June 16, with music by Tim Sprague and the Murky Water Band from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
The absolute best viewing of the racing is on the water, preferably in a boat. From land, the best location is at the Maine State Aquarium on McKown Point Road in West Boothbay Harbor — the location of the finish line.
Commemorative T-shirts ($20) and sweatshirts ($30) will be available for racers and spectators alike. The flip side of the shirts will have the list of the sponsors of the Boothbay Harbor lobster boat races.
Call Ashlee Lowery at 207-380-5348 with any questions.
For the rest of the 2017 dates and other information, visit the Fans of Maine Lobster Boat Racing Facebook page.