“That’s right, lobster boat racing fans and racers. The 33rdseason begins right here in Boothbay Harbor at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 16, with the Charles Begin Memorial races.” That announcement of the start of Maine’s iconic lobster boat racing season from the Boothbay Register is just one of the many reasons to head Down East this summer, but it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable.
In case you’ve missed all this, a lot of Maine’s lobster boat fishermen love to soup up their vessels and race against each other in these summer festivals, which are held in ports throughout the state. Sure, most lobster boats run in the 8 to 16 knot range; after all, they were built to run economically and efficiently in the roughest seas, in any weather, and to bring their crew – and their catch – back home safe and sound. They weren’t meant to set speed records. You want to go fast, get a Fountain or a Cigarette.
But lobster boats also can move. Indeed, last year’s winner of the season opener in Boothbay Harbor, Wild, Wild West, pictured above, topped out at an even 56 mph. And it barely beat the second-place finisher, Motivation, at 55.5 mph. Wild, Wild West, owned by Cameron Crawford, will be back again this Saturday; it’s won the last three years in a row. On Saturday, more than 30 lobster boats will race in various categories, for gas- and diesel powered- boats, split up by length and horsepower; there will be four races just for boats from the Boothbay region.
In Boothbay, the start of the season means more than the race itself. There’s a kickoff party on Friday, June 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Boothbay Lobster Wharf with music by Tim Sprague and the Murky Water Band. You can buy commemorative T-shirts and sweatshirts there, or on race day at Brown’s Wharf. For more: