BOOTHBAY HARBOR LOBSTER BOAT RACES
18 June 2005
Forty seven racers registered for the first lobster boat race of the season, the Charles Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races at Boothbay Harbor on 18 June. This was a drop from last year, but more than likely can be attributed to the poor weather surrounding the race. The 17 th was rainy, but on race day it drizzled a bit during the races and then cleared off following the races.
For those not close to racing, Charles Begin was a lobster fisherman from Boothbay and one of the nicest people you could ever have the pleasure knowing. He had been very involved in the lobster boat races at Boothbay for a number of years and after he past away unexpectedly just after last year’s race, it was only appropriate that the Boothbay races bear his name.
Eighteen of the boats that registered had never raced before and of them seven were new. The one that got most of the attention was the 25-foot Cry Baby, which was built by D. & L. Boatworks of Lewiston. D. & L. Boatworks consists of Jean Dubuc and Bruce Lepage, and this is the first lobster boat they have built. The only other boat they have built was a John Gardner 16-foot semi-dory. They designed this boat by looking at several others. She has the looks of Isaac Beal’s Christopher above the waterline and a Duffy 30 below. Dubuc and Lepage started construction four years ago, right after the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. The first year they gathered parts off a derelict, mostly hardware. They removed the transmission, thru-hulls, hauler, shaft and so forth. Also during this time they carved a half-hull, lofted the lines, and built the backbone. She was built upside down with stringers on the strong back and the frames interlocking with them. They truss built the keel, which was then covered with plywood. Once this was done they strip planked the hull. The strips are ¾-inch on the flat bottom and the rest is 5/8-inch. She was then fiberglassed, which was followed by fairing, which took a lot of time around the skeg. The second winter they rolled the hull over and fiberglassed the inside. Then came the platform, the cabin, main deck, washrails and installing the engine, a 292 Chevrolet. The third year they finished the cabin in another building where it was warm put on some finishing touches and built a trailer. Last August she was launched with the hope of making it to the Harpswell races. She was tested on Lake Auburn and they discovered a knock in the engine. During the past winter they tore the engine down and re-bored the cylinders, turned the crankshaft and put in new pistons. Just three weeks before the Boothbay races the engine went back in and they tried her again. There were a few problems, but they worked through them. They were very thankful to all the boatbuilders who gave them advice, such as the Lowell Brothers, Walter Greene, Glenn Holland and Ethan Cook.
Eight boats were signed up for the Work Boat Classes. In the first race, Mom’s Nightmare, Eben Court, captured first over Howard Carter’s Predator in Class A. It was not a fair fight, Mom’s Nightmare sported a 25-hp Evinrude, and Predator, a 4½-hp Evinrude. In Class B, Larry Reed’s Sea Jay, got by Nathan Goodwin’s Crazy Waters II. Class C did not have any entrants, but Class D had four. Cody Devenger’s Mello Yellow, (Mitchell Cove 20, 305 cid Ford), out distanced William Debery’s Supa Gupp, and Dave Johnston’s Casco Miss, took third.
The Gasoline Class entrants were light with just four entrants in the five classes so they were all run together. Cry Baby made her debut and as they came up the course, she was holding her own against Doug Carter’s Babe, (30-foot Everett Barlow wooden boat, 455 cid Oldsmobile). Babe won, but Cry Baby was not too distant. Both were given first in their respective classes, Cry Baby Class A and Babe Class D. The other three, Lawrence Durfee’s Heather Anne, (General Marine 26, 350 cid Chevrolet), Phillip Peters Eleana’s Comet (Repco 30, 350 cid Chevrolet) and Bob Mondor’s Exodus, (26-foot Everett Barlow wooden boat), finished as listed in Class B.
There are two new classes this year, Lady Skippers and Wooden Boat. To qualify for the Wooden Boat class you can not have fiberglass on the hull. There were no entrants in the Lady’s race and just Babe ran in the Wooden Boat race.
There are 16 diesel classes and there were 36 entrants. Some classes, B, F and M, had no entrants and there was just one in Classes H and N. Five boats came to the line in Class A with Chuck Williams’ Mjr. Weakeyes (Duffy 26, 235-hp Steyr) going up against Howard Gray’s Blue Thunder (Northern Bay 28, 230-hp Steyr) just like last season. Mjr. Weakeyes won by several boat lengths. Also racing was Donnie Clark’s Knot Guilty (BHM 25, 150-hp), who took third and Chris Hutchinson’s Minor Debt (Muscle Ridge 28, 210-hp Cummins), fourth. In Class C, Andrea & Donna (Crowley 28, 300-hp Isuzu), owned by David Taylor faced off against Venom. During the winter Venom, a Muscle Ridge 28, was sold to David Grant of Farmington. She did not come with the 680-hp Isotta and replaced it with a 250-hp Sisu. She easily outpaced Andrea & Donna with a speed of 36.5 mph, compared to 33 mph. Six boats came to the line in Class D. During the winter Keith Smith of Beals Island sold his boat Why Knot (Libby 34, 300-hp Caterpillar) to his son, Aaron. She came up against Wendall Bryant’s 16 th Avenue (Holland 32, 315-hp Cummins) and defeated him by three boat lengths. Cory Robertson brought his new boat, Pisscuttah II (South Shore 34, 300-hp John Deere), and finished sixth in Class D. Class G has been dominated by Bill Grant’s Gladiator (Crowley Beal 33, 287-hp Volvo), and again was the victor with a speed of 38.8 mph. Second went to Kenton Fenney’s (Holland 32, 350-Yanmar). Class I had four boats line up and two of them, Bill Haass’ Duncan & Blake (Mitchell Cove 35, 500-hp MAN) and Gary Genthner’s Lisa Marie (Libby 34, 550-hp Isuzu) fought tooth and nail last year. Also in this class was Todd Ritchie’s new boat, The Seacock (Calvin Beal 34, 410-hp Sisu). The first run was so tight that the judges were deadlocked on the committee boat so they decided to run the race again. This time Duncan & Blake won by a little more than a boat length, followed by Lisa Marie and The Seacock. Five boats came to the line for Class J, which was won by Ira Guptill’s Mystery Machine (Northern Bay 38, 410-hp Sisu). John Drouin’s Rebbie’s Mistress (Wesmac 42, 540-hp Caterpillar), which finished second, has been sold to Kristan Porter and his new boat, a Wesmac 46, should be finished the middle of July, hopefully in time for the Stonington races. Steve Johnson entered his new boat Wild One (Crowley Beal 33, 892 GM) in Class K and grabbed first from Richard Olson’s M. J. R. (Mitchell Cove 35, 660-hp Caterpillar). Another two boats, Apparition II (Young Brothers 38, 892 GM) owned by Bill Hallinan and Hattie Rose (Crowley 36, 892-GM) Steve Johnson, battled all last year in Class L. Apparition II took the win with Hattie Rose back a couple of boat lengths. Andrew Gove of Stonington brought out his Uncle’s UFO (Northern Bay 36, 900-hp Mack) and was the only entrant in Class N. Class O was won by Wayne Clemon’s Temptation (Young Brothers 40, 650-hp Mack), followed by Andy Hawke’s Miss Lelia R. (Young Brothers 40, 525-hp John Deere). Colin Yentsch entered his new boat, Ella & Sadie (RP 40, 575-hp Scania) in this class and took third.
The Gasoline Free-for-All went bad for Cry Baby when she was cut off by the Coast Guard boat, which was the starter boat. She was racing up the course with the racers and inadvertently cut in front of Cry Baby who was then buried in their wake. She could not recover and finished fourth with first going to Babe. Nine boats came out for the Diesel Free-for-All and it was no surprise that Uncle’s UFO cross the finish line first with a speed of 47.7 mph. It also was not a surprise when he best Babe and Why Knot in the last race of the day, Fastest Lobster Boat.