WINTER HARBOR — With six points championship events already behind them and just three more to go, serious devotees of lobster boat racing will gather off Schoodic Point Saturday morning for the Winter Harbor Lobster Boat Races. With 50 years of racing already in the books, the Winter Harbor races are among the oldest on the coast and should be a high point of the 51st annual Winter Harbor Lobster Festival.
While every set of boat races has some unique events, the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association sponsors a summer-long championship chase for five classes, based on size and horsepower, of gasoline powered boats and 14 classes of diesel powered boats. With a handful of exceptions — a few boats that take part are built just for competition — the boats that participate in the races are real working lobster boats. Even so, many of the faster boats top 40 miles per hour and a few have been clocked at better than 50 miles per hour.
One boat, the gas-powered racer Foolish Pleasure, which runs in a class by itself most of the time, has topped 70 miles per hour, though so far not this season.
Among this year’s other top competitors in the several gas classes are Wide Open Little Girls, Thunderbolt and Black Diamond. Diesel speedsters include boats such as Wild Wild West, Miss Karlee, Turn the Page, Misty and La Bella Vita.
Downeast, the fleet has already raced at Jonesport-Beals, Bass Harbor and Stonington. To the west, Boothbay Harbor, Rockland and Friendship have come and gone. After this weekend, only races at Long Island, in Casco Bay, and Portland will be left to decide who will have bragging rights until next summer for running the fastest lobster boat in its class.
Racing at Winter Harbor gets under way at 10 a.m.
The best way to view the races is from one of the many boats that anchor along the course that runs seaward between Grindstone Neck and Schoodic.
For spectators without access to a boat, the best vantage point is Frazer Point off the Schoodic Loop Road in Acadia National Park.