Speed on the water!

Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races
Sat, 06/08/2024 - 8:15am

    There’s a whole lot of wake on the way when lobster boat engines start revving up for another season of lobster boat racing on the coast of Maine.

    The official start to Maine’s lobster boat racing season happens every year in Boothbay Harbor over Father’s Day weekend. This year, that date is Saturday, June 15. In 2005, the race event became the Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races, in honor of the beloved native lobsterman and racing participant.

    These races have been thrilling lobstermen, their passengers and spectators since the official start in 1964. Over the past 10 years or so, 35-45 boats have participated from all over the coast. Race 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, including Fastest Working Lobster Boat. Some years, there are some serious contests between lobstermen – particularly when they are looking to keep the title earned the previous year.

    If you cannot get on a boat yourself, the racecourse is in front of Tumbler Island toward the finish line at Maine State Aquarium on McKown Point Road in West Boothbay Harbor.

    Best places to watch from the shore: Atlantic Avenue in Boothbay Harbor at Whale’s Tale & Carousel Marina or Brown’s Wharf, and lots of race fans watch from the Aquarium. Suggestion for spectators on land: Bring binoculars! 

    Some people, with and without boats, follow the races all season every weekend through the end of August. After the races here, they move to Rockland and Bass Harbor in June. In July, they kick off in Jonesport, Stonington, Friendship and Harpswell; August finds racers and fans in Winter Harbor, Pemaquid (Merritt Brackett Memorial Race), Long Island and, finally, Portland. 

    If you’re interested in catching some past action, Jon Johansen, president of Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association, has a video chock full of action and information on YouTube at https://rb.gy/9bhbwb