Saturday was the day — the start of the 2018 Maine lobster boat racing season. Forty-six boats showed up for the Boothbay races and a day later 56 lobster boats came to the starting line at Rockland. Wonderful sunny weather was one reason more boats came to both races than in the past couple of years, steaming down from as far away as Milbridge, Harrington and Moosabec Reach.
The closest race on either day was between the Kimberly Ann, a Calvin Beal 42 with a 750-hp FTP and the Miss Amity an Osmond 42 with a 700-hp Scania. That was in Class MB — 40 feet and over, 501 to 750 horsepower.
he two boats quickly separated themselves from the pack and came down the course stem to stem. It was too close to call when they crossed the finish line, though some thought Miss Amity won. The bigger problem was that the race had been canceled because of a false start but the racers didn’t realize it had been called off, so the race was rerun. This time the Kimberly Ann won by five to 10 feet at 36.9 mph.
A couple of new boats were Stevie Carver’s Bigger Dirls, which is the first Holland 35, and Kathy Lymburner’s 31-foot Emma G, a wooden lobster boat that took first in the wooden boat race at Rockland.
The 28-foot Wild, Wild West was a casualty at the Rockland races, suffering what rumor says is a broken steering arm. But the day before, Wild, Wild West with a 1,050-hp Isotta Fraschini “basically cleaned up,” says Jon Johansen, who heads up the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association.
Wild, Wild West’s best time was in the fastest lobster boat race for non-working boats, where she hit 55.9 mph. Motivation, a Northern Bay 36 with a 1,000-hp Caterpillar C18 won the working class fastest lobster boat race at 46 mph.
The next race is on June 24 at Bass Harbor.