On July 4th 81 boats showed up at Moosabec Reach for the third race of Maine’s Lobster Boat Racing season. Wild, Wild West, a West 28 with a 1,050-hp Isotta Fraschini, was there after missing the races in Rockland and Bass Harbor. “She smoked everyone,” says Jon Johansen, president of Maine Lobster Boat Racing.
Wild, Wild, West, along with Maria’s Nightmare, a Mussel Ridge 28 with a 600-hp Cummins are the only “play boats” that showed up, says Johansen. The rest are all working lobster boats but Maria’s Nightmare and, especially, Wild, Wild West are always crowd favorites.
Wild, Wild West took the Diesel Free For All followed by Maria’s Nightmare at 52.8 mph. That was the same order of finish in the Recreational Lobster Boat Race, where Wild, Wild West hit 59.9 mph on the race committee’s radar gun, but Johansen says that a GPS reading had the speed at 62 mph and he thinks that’s more accurate.
The Gas Free For All was won by Lindsey Durkee’s Black Diamond, a Holland 32 with a 502 Chevy at 35 mph. The World’s Fastest Working Lobster Boat race went to Dana Beal’s Right Stuff, a Libby 34 with a 500-hp Cummins, at 42.9 mph.
Most fishermen might think it’s necessary to give your new boat — and engine —a break-in period before slamming the throttle hard up against the dash to scream down the race course, but if you are in to racing you can’t wait and you’ll be going to the line as soon as possible. That was the case with the Melynda, a Wayne Bea 36 with a 500-hp FPT that was launched the day before the Moosabec Reach race. She lined up in Diesel Class H (4366 to 550 hp, 36 feet and over) and took second to the Miss Norma.
Things don’t always go right in these races, even to well-broken-in boats. A good example was the Kimberly Ann, a 42 Calvin with a 750-hp FPT that also raced the day after she was launched. That was in Bass Harbor in 2018 and she won her class M(B) (40 feet and over, 501 to 750 hp) at 33.5 mph. However, this past Saturday, after winning her heat, things didn’t go so well for the Kimberly Ann in the diesel finals.
Running hard along the side of the course she lost her throttle and basically died on the course. But then, says Johansen, who was monitoring the races, “all of a sudden it was whoosh and she went by.” Kimberly Ann almost made back the distance that was lost; “boy was he coming when he got going.” But it wasn’t enough and Kimberly Ann got fifth. Pier Pressure, an Osmond 40 with a 750-hp FPT, won.
Maine’s lobster boat racing history has its legends. One of those is Andy Gove who died last month at the age of 90, after lobstering for 82 years and after racing since 1999. This Sunday, July 12 at noon, Gove, will be remembered by a fleet of lobster boats that will run in a double line along the Stonington waterfront where Gove grew up.
Leading the lineup will be the Miss Katy, better known on the racing circuit as Gove’s Uncle’s UFO. She one of the first Northern Bay 36s and Gove raced her with a 900-hp Mack and then a 700-hp Volvo, until two years ago when he stopped racing. That’s when Nick Wiberg bought her and changed the name to Miss Katy, but a lot of people still see her as And Gove’s Uncle’s UFO.