In Maine you are never sure when winter is over. This year it made a brief reappearance at the start of the 2022 Maine Lobster Boat Racing Season on Saturday, June 18 in Boothbay and Sunday, June 19 in Rockland.
While there wasn’t snow, as there was in Maine’s western mountains on Sunday, the weather on both days was best described as extremely nasty with a good amount of wind and very, very cold and very rainy on Sunday.
It was bad enough that one boat after bucking into the wind and sea on its way to the Boothbay races reportedly showed up with seaweed on its wheelhouse.
Thirty-nine boats raced at Boothbay, five fewer than a year ago. There were 30 races, starting with Class-A Skiffs (16 feet and under with an outboard up to 30 hp and operator 18 years and younger) and ending with the Fastest Working Lobster Boat race.
A good race was between Eric Beal’s Kimberly Ann, a Calvin 42 with a 750-hp FPT, and Jason Chipman’s Miss Madelyn, an Osmond 42 with a 700-hp Scania, two boats that are usually within a mile or two of each other. That was true at Boothbay with Kimberly Ann barely winning the Diesel Class M(B) race (40 feet and over, 501 to 750 hp), crossing the finish line at 40.8 mph, just ahead of Miss Madelyn at 39 mph.
The fastest boat at Boothbay was Andrew Taylor’s Blue Eyed Girl, a Morgan Bay 38 with a 900-hp Scania. Blue Eyed Girl won the Diesel Free for All at 48.8 mph and the Fastest Working Lobster Boat race at 47.2 mph. Just behind in both races was Heather Thompson’s Gold Digger, a Wayne Beal 36 with a 675-hp Scania, followed by Kimberly Ann.
The next day in Rockland, the weather prevented a lot of boats from traveling to the race. In fact, the rain was so intense that no speeds could be recorded on the radar gun. Thirty-two boats showed up, whereas the year before 64 boats raced in Rockland.
Winning two of its three races was Jeff Eaton’s La Bella Vita, a Northern Bay 38 with an 815-hp FPT. La Bella Vita won Diesel Class K (701 to 900 hp, 28 feet and over), took second in Diesel Free For All to Jeremy Beal’s Maria’s Nightmare II, a Wayne Beal 32 with an 800-hp Nanni, and won the Fastest Lobster Boat Race, the last event of the day. Gold Digger took second place.
After Rockland nine more races remain, with the last race on Aug. 21 in Portland.