Maine Lobster Boat Racing: Be a Spectator!
The first Maine Lobster Boat Race of the season opens at Boothbay Harbor in mid-June, and there are plenty of opportunities throughout the summer to watch lobster boat races throughout the summer in other areas around Maine.
Since the early 1900s the lobster fishermen of the State of Maine have been competing to see just who has the fastest boat. It began with sloops and evolved to power boats with the development of the internal combustion engine. First it was the make-and-break engines, which were followed by the typical automobile gasoline engine of 200 hp and now the boats are diesel powered with engines putting out as much as 1,200 hp.
With the evolution of the engine also came an evolution in design. Initially the boats were long and thin, with a beautiful sheer and no house. As more power was introduced the boats got wider and longer with big wheelhouses, giving the fisherman much more deck space to work from. The 30 footer with a beam of 8 feet in the 1950s is now a 40 footer with a 16 foot beam.
Organized races were run as far back as the 1920s, but were not truly organized until the Beals Island-Jonesport race in 1963. Over the years more harbors have joined Maine’s answer to NASCAR. Formed in 2002, the Maine Lobsterboat Racing Association oversees races and hands out awards for five gasoline classes and 14 diesel classes at the end of the season.
There are a number of crowd favorites. The big winner over the last several years has been Galen Alley’s FOOLISH PLEASURE from Beals Island, which also set the gasoline and over speed record of 72.8 mph at Stonington in 2011. Another crowd favorite is Alfred Osgood’s STARLIGHT EXPRESS of Vinalhaven, which holds the diesel speed record of 58.9 mph set at Portland in 2010.
THE MAINE LOBSTER BOAT RACE SCHEDULE 2018
June 16 – Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races. These races are best viewed via boat.
June 17 – Rockland Lobster Boat Races. These races are best viewed via Rockland Breakwater.
June 24 – Bass Harbor Lobster Boat Races. These races are best viewed via boat.
June 30 – Moosabec Reach Lobster Boat Races (Jonesport Beals). These races are best viewed from the Beals Island bridge.
July 8 – Stonington Lobster Boat Races. The Stonington lobster boat races are best viewed by boat and Isle au Haut Boat Services runs a charter for flatlanders who want to view the action on the water (for further details email firstname.lastname@example.org).
July 22 – Friendship Lobster Boat Races. These races are best viewed via boat.
July 29 – Harpswell Lobster Boat Races. These races are best viewed via boat.
August 4 – Kennebec Reach Lobster Boat Races. This is a new addition to the 2018 lobster boat races schedule.
August 11 – Winter Harbor Lobster Boat Races. These races are best viewed via boat. The lobster boat races form part of a wider Downeast Maine Lobster Festival held in the town that day.
August 12 – Pemaquid Lobster Boat Races. These races are best viewed from the top of the tower at Pemaquid Colonial Park.
August 18 – Long Island Lobster Boat Races
August 19 – Portland Lobster Boat Races (MS Harborfest). These races are best viewed from Fort Allen Park/the Eastern Promenade (including the walk-way below).