The last race of the season on the Maine lobster boat racing circuit once again took place during Portland’s MS Harborfest, which raises money for the Greater New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Sixty-one boats showed up for the Aug. 18 races. Besides being an opportunity to contribute to the MS Society, take part in a race in front of a large crowd gathered along Portland’s Eastern Promenade, there was the opportunity for lobstermen to leave Portland with 100 gallons more diesel fuel in their tank.
Global Partners in South Portland donated 1,600 gallons of diesel to be divided among 16 races. At the end of the day, the festival’s organizers held a drawing among the participants in each race; you didn’t have to win a race to get the 100 gallons, you just had to compete.
Several of the faster boats — Foolish Pleasure; Wild, Wild West; and Uncle’s UFO — didn’t show. That left it up to Whistlin’ Dixie, a Holland 40 with a 1,000-hp Cat; Thunderbolt, a South Shore 30 with a 496 Chevy — horsepower unknown; and Mojo Inc., a Holland 32 with a 560-hp FPT diesel to provide most of the high-speed entertainment.
Unfortunately for Thunderbolt, she blew her transmission, so at the end of the day, Whistlin’ Dixie came out on top at about 45 mph with Mojo Inc. at number two.
The Black Diamond, a Holland 32 owned by Islesboro’s Randy Durkee had a unique distinction among the boats in Portland; Durkee’s Black Diamond was the only boat to show up at all nine of the lobster boat races, from Portland to Moosabec Reach.
The Black Diamond, with a 454 Chevy, usually wins her races in Class C (376 to 525 cubic inches, 24 feet and over) running in the low-30-mph range.