Excerpt: Propulsion

Excerpt: Pumping iron

Maine lobstermen put their engines and reputations on the line

By Michael Crowley

When Glenn Holland first considered racing his 32-foot Red Baron in 1981, there was a rule that limited a boat’s engine to 400 horsepower. At that time, the major Maine lobster boat race was on July 4, down Moosabec Reach, which separates Jonesport and Beals Island.

Holland knew he’d have problems going down to that part of Maine and matching up with the locals. “I’d been talking to those guys a couple of years. You had to be an idiot not to realize those guys were playing with their engines,” meaning some engines went well past the 400-horse mark.

Prior to the race, one Beals Island lobsterman was very adamant that the 400-hp limit be enforced. Twenty years later, Holland talked to the mechanic who had been working on the guy’s engine. “He told me what he’d been doing to it — a different camshaft and a whole bunch of other shit.

“You didn’t have a dyno to test an engine, so what it boils down to is as long as it wasn’t obvious the engine had been tinkered with, you could get away with murder.”

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