Black Velvet, a modified Osmond 36 lobster boat skippered by Bass Harbor fisherman Justin Sprague of Bass Harbor competes in a previous edition of the Bass Harbor Lobster Boat Races. This year's races are set for Sunday, June 23. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Lobster boat races are here again

TREMONT — Nearly $15,000 worth of prizes will be given away at the Bass Harbor Lobster Boat Races this Sunday, June 23, with bait topping the list again.

More than 100 buckets of pigs’ hide bait has been donated for the event.

The town’s ninth annual races will begin right around 10 a.m., according to organizer Wayne ‘Cooly’ Rich.

“Just about everybody’s going to get one of those — maybe two,” he said.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. in the harbormaster’s office on the town wharf in Bernard and will end at 9 a.m. A pancake breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. on the town wharf.

Lobster boat racing season kicked off last weekend in Boothbay Harbor on Saturday and in Penobscot Bay on Sunday. Bass Harbor is one of the locations where there is no fee to enter the races and Rich hopes to keep it that way.

“If I didn’t do it that way, I’d have half the people I do participate,” he said.

No registration fee and lots of great prizes attract more local fishermen to the event, he explained. For the last couple of years about 70 boats have raced.

There are between 28 and 30 races scheduled for Sunday. Racing classes depend on boat length, fuel type and engine horsepower.

Rich said the races would not be possible without the help of volunteers who collect prizes, help out on race day and provide a barge for the judges who tally points.

He not only oversees the event, but Rich also participates in at least two or three races and gets his son involved.

“When I started, I was one of the slowest boats around,” he said. “I knew I was going to lose. I just enjoyed going.”

There will be T-shirts to commemorate the event this year.

Both breakfast and lunch are being sold and served by the Bass Harbor Memorial Library as a fundraiser. Breakfast is served from 7:30-10 a.m. and lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m.

“It’s always a good time,” said Rich.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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