The 2019 Maine lobster boat racing season started on June 15 in Boothbay Harbor and ended this past weekend with races on Saturday at Long Island and Sunday in Portland. The Portland races on Aug. 18 are better known as the MS Harborfest Lobster Boat Races, since it is a fund-raising event for the MS Society of Maine.

Altogether there were 11 races in 2019 with 823 boats. That’s 84 more than the 739 boats that came to the line in 2018. It’s also the most boats to race in a season since 2008, when record-keeping was initiated.

Probably the two fastest boats on the racing circuit, Wild Wild West, a West 28 with a 1,050-hp Isotta, and Maria’s Nightmare, a Mussel Ridge 28 with a 2,500-hp Chevy, weren’t at either race. That left it to Motivation, a Northern Bay 38 with a 1,000-hp Cat, and Blue Eyed Girl, a Morgan Bay 38 with a 900-hp Scania, to provide the high-speed thrills. Motivation prevailed all weekend, running at about 50 mph.

The absence of Wild Wild West at Portland was a bit of a letdown for a young girl whose birthday present was a ride on Wild Wild West. Instead, the race committee put her on Motivation, according to Jon Johansen, president of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association. “She was more than happy.”

Maine lobstermen do remember their own, so in Portland and Long Island, as in every other race this year, some of the ashes of the late Galen Alley, whose Foolish Pleasure still holds the speed record of 72.8 mph, were spread on the race course.

Most races have special special prizes. At Portland, as in the past, Portland’s Global Oil gave a voucher for 100 gallons of diesel fuel for each diesel race and the diesel-free-for-all. You didn’t have to win the race, you just had to enter and draw the lucky voucher.

That’s it for this year.

Michael Crowley is the former Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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