BOOTHBAY HARBOR — If the weather isn’t enough of a tipoff, summer is here. Or it will be Saturday morning, when the 2017 lobster boat racing season gets underway in Boothbay Harbor.
This year, there are 10 events scheduled on the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association calendar between this weekend and Aug. 20. Four races are within an easy drive, or boat ride, of Mount Desert Island: Bass Harbor on Sunday, June 25; Moosabec Reach on Saturday, July 1; Stonington on Sunday, July 9; and Winter Harbor on Saturday, Aug. 12. Another, scheduled for Rockland this coming Sunday, is close enough to make the ride worthwhile, especially with excellent viewing from the Rockland breakwater.
Though it comes early in the season and is a relative newcomer to the circuit, the Bass Harbor event – at the southern tip of MDI – has produced some thrilling racing moments.
In last year’s Fastest Lobster Boat Race, the radar gun clocked Cameron West’s 1,050-horsepower diesel 28-footer Wild, Wild West at 60.6 mph. That broke a six-year-old 58.9-mph record set in Portland by Alfred Osgood’s Starlight Express.
Galen Alley of Jonesport set the overall lobster boat speed record in his gasoline-powered Foolish Pleasure at the 2011 Stonington races.
Missing from this year’s events will be one boat that dominated its racing class for nearly two decades – Steve Carver’s Holland 32 Bigger Dirls. The boat caught fire on its mooring in Moosabec Reach last year and was a total loss. Fortunately, no one was injured and Carver is waiting for the Holland boat shop in Searsport to finish off a new 35-footer for him.