STONINGTON LOBSTER BOAT RACES
17 July 2005
STONINGTON – The third lobster boat race of the season is in the book and what a day of racing we had at Stonington. Eighty-one boats signed up, the most to date this year, and a number of them for the first time this season. The big winner was Stonington’s Andrew Gove with Uncle’s UFO, (Northern Bay 36, 900-hp Mack) who won his class, the Diesel Free-for-All and the Jimmy Stevens Cup for the fastest lobster boat. However, Alfred Osgood’s Starlight Express (Northern Bay 36, 900+-hp Mack) from Vinalhaven may not have won his class or the Diesel Free-for-All, but he set the new diesel speed record in Class N, with a speed of 55.2 mph.
The weather forecast early in the week was for rain all day Sunday, but as the week progressed the weather outlook changed for the better. There was only a slight bit of fog first thing in the morning and that cleared off and it was a beautiful, however a hot day even out on the water.
The Work Boat Classes A and B had just one boat in each. Class C had four entrants with Chris Hildings’ Last Chance crossing the finish line first with a speed of 40.1 mph. Five boats came up the course in Class D, which was one by Eric Ray’s Penetrator, followed by Walter Howland’s Kane/Nakita.
There were only six boats signed up for the five Gasoline Classes. In Gasoline Class A, for four and six cylinder engines, there was just George Stevens’ Bohica (24-foot Robert Rich, wooden, 110-hp Ford). In Class B was Julie Eaton’s Cat Sass (Repco 30, 225-hp Chevrolet) grabbed first over the only other entrant Robert Ray’s Dragon Fly (a 24-foot homemade boat with a 350 cid Chevrolet). Isaac Beal’s Christopher (Mariner Beal, wooden, 502 cid Chevrolet) was the only entrant in Class C and ran up the course with a speed of 35.3 mph. Early that morning he was running the boat, when she developed a problem with the engine. She began turning 700 rpms less than usual and Beal was not able to get them back for the races. Wyatt Beal, Isaac’s son, was racing his Moxie (Mariner Beal, wooden, 535-hp Chrysler) against James Bray Jr.’s White Cap (32-foot Frank Day, wooden), which he was able to outpace for the win. There were no entrants in Class E.
There were 58 entrants in the diesel classes and they were pretty well spread out through them. In Class A Chuck Williams of Vinalhaven brought over his Mjr. Weakeyes (Duffy 26, 235-hp Steyr) and battled by Howard Gray’s Blue Thunder (Northern Bay 28, 230-hp Steyr) for the top spot. Third went to Little Ladies (Osmond 27, 220-hp John Deere), Isaac Beal’s other son Christopher. Six boats came out for Class B and it was Steve Carter’s Bigger Dirls (Holland 32, 225-hp John Deere), skippered by Andrea Holland, getting first over Brent Davis’ Hee Haw (Wayne Beal 34, 220-hp John Deere). Third went to Ronald Carver’s Mr. T, (Wayne Beal 32, 235-hp Sisu). Dena Alley brought his Raffy D. (South Shore 30, 300-hp Caterpillar) down from Jonesport and beat David Grant’s Venom (Mussel Ridge 28, 250-hp Sisu) in Class C. Four boats headed up the course in Class D, which was won by Aaron Smith’s Why Knot (Libby 34, 300-hp Caterpillar) followed by Marshall Farnham’s Miss Attitude (Holland 32, 265-hp John Deere). Thurman Alley’s Melanie Jean (38-foot Willis Beal, wooden, 300-hp Caterpillar) from Beals Island won Class E with second going to Ben Hardy’s Lindsay Rene (Northern Bay 36, 270-hp Caterpillar). Sid Eaton’s Kimberley Belle (AJ-28, 370-hp Volvo) won Class F by a several boat lengths over Matt Shepard’s Sea Devil II (Osmond 29, 430-hp Cummins). It was no surprise when Bill Grant’s Gladiator (Crowley-Beal 33, 287-hp Volvo) won Class G. Second went to Terry Luan (Holland 32, 350-hp Yanmar) owned by Kenton Fenney of Beals Island. Third went to Bad Penny (Holland 32, 370-hp Volvo), owned by Kevin Moore of Vinalhaven. A battle that was dominated by Jim Minott’s Hooked Up (Crowley-Beal 33, 375-hp John Deere) over Travis Otis’ First Team (Northern Bay 36, 410-hp Sisu) in Class H was again on the slate for today. As they came up the course it was First Team by almost two boat lengths at the finish, which means their second meeting, hopefully at Friendship, could be very interesting. Third went to Jeremy McLellan’s Serenity (Wayne Beal 36, 435-hp Cummins). At the past two race Bill Haass’ Duncan & Blake (Mitchell Cove 35, 500-hp MAN) had dominated Todd Ritchie’s Seacock (Calvin Beal 34, 410-hp Sisu). Well, that was not what happened this day, it was Seacock first with Duncan & Blake back by a boat length. In Class J Ira Guptill’s Mystery Machine (Northern Bay 38, 410-hp Sisu) would keep Keith Jordan’s Hot Spot II (Libby 38, 450-hp John Deere) just behind for the first place finish. Clive Farrin’s Sea Swallow (Newman 36, 450-hp Caterpillar) took third. Steve Johnson has continuously dominated any class he has raced in. This year he brought out a new boat, Wild One (Crowley-Beal 33, 892 GM) and won his first race in Class K at Boothbay. Brian Osgood’s First Light (Crowley-Beal 33, 700-hp Caterpillar) would change that with a two-boat length win over Wild One. In Class L Bill Hallinan got his second win of the season with his Apparition II (Young Brothers 38, 892 GM). Second went to Skip Young’s Silver Spoon (Mitchell Cove 37, 650-hp Volvo) and third to Alan Miller’s new boat Sea Star (Wayne Beal 36, 660-hp Caterpillar). We have missed James West’s Wild Wild West (West 28, 466 International) and hoped he would appear for this race, but he was a no show. Amby Alley’s Shitpoke (Northern Bay 36, 800-hp Caterpillar) came out and won this class with Dennis Young’s Christina & Seth (Mitchell Cove 35, 735-hp GM) second. For over a year we have been hoping to see Alfred Osgood’s new Starlight Express run up the course without any problems. Rumours were running around the dock that she going between 55 and 58 mph. Andrew Gove knew Osgood was coming and at midnight he grounded out his boat and put a smaller wheel on her so she was quicker out of the hole and it paid off. As the boats made their start Starlight Express just was not getting any speed. She would accelerate and die, accelerate and die, before she final caught and took off. However, even with a speed over 55 mph she did not have enough course to catch Uncle’s UFO. The problem with Starlight Express was the crankcase filter hose, which had gotten in front of the turbo throwing a lot of smoke into it. Richard Hildings’ What’s Left (RP 40, 800-hp Caterpillar) had little trouble winning Class O against Dana Rice’s Unpredictable (Duffy 42, 575-hp Scania). In Class P five boats went to the line and they were sure to throw quite a wake down the course. First went to Frank Thompson’s Independence (Duffy 42, 1,000-hp Caterpillar), who had raced in Class N, but thought it best he move to this class where he stood a better chance of competing. Second went to Chris Young’s Madelyn (Duffy 42, 1,000-hp Caterpillar) and third to Murray Thompson’s Sunday Money (Duffy 42, 800-hp Caterpillar). Sunday Money was another one of the new boats debuting at Stonington, which had been finished off by Lash Brothers of Friendship during this past winter. Fourth went to another new boat, which was Seth Ciomei’s Temptress (Duffy 42, 800-hp Caterpillar).
The next race was the Boatbuilder’s Exhibition Class, which pitted Isaac Beal’s Christopher against Travis Otis’ First Team, which was a closely match pair. However as they came up the course First Team walked away from Christopher who was still having carburetor problems. Christopher managed to finished third just in front of Wayne Rich’s Rich Returns (Robert Rich, wooden, 315-hp Cummins). Second went to Wyatt Beal’s Moxie.
Christopher got it together for the next race, the Gasoline Free-for-All, winning by three boat lengths over Moxie.
In the Diesel Free-for-All we all waited for the rematch between Uncle’s UFO and Starlight Express, but as the boats came up the course there was Uncle’s UFO leading, but where was Starlight Express? She had problems getting going again and instead of battling the wakes of the other boats she bowed out, which also meant she could not race for the Jimmy Stevens Cup. Shitpoke took second followed by Independence and Terry Luan.
For the first time the John’s Bay Boat Co. Race was sponsored. Six of these wooden boats came to the line and it was Edward Grant’s Samuel Ryan (41-footer, 610-hp Volvo) taking first. Second went to Scott Dugas’ Sand Dollars (45-hp Caterpillar) and third was Sari Ann (40-footer, 375-hp Caterpillar), owned by Vance Bunker of Matinicus.
Nine boats were schedule for the Lady Skipper’s Race, which was won by Independence, helmed by Jean Thompson. Second went to Kelley Otis on First Team and third was Ashley Branscom on Sea Devil II. Where was Julie Eaton who had petitioned the race organizers for this class back at the Forum?
There was no entrants in the Novi Boat Race, but five came out for the Wooden Boat Race and it was another win for Christopher, followed by Moxie and Melanie Jean.
In the final race of the day, the Jimmy Stevens Cup for the fastest lobster boat, just three boats came to the line, all diesels and it was no surprise as we watched Uncle’s UFO streak down the course for another first place finish with a speed of 47.2 mph. Second went to Shitpoke followed by Independence.
The only down side of the racing was the announcement before the race that race organizer Jeff Eaton and his assistants, who has been doing it for ten years, were stepping down. Over the years they have done an excellent job running the event, which is not an easy task, ask any organizer. Eaton and his crew will lend a hand to the next organizers to allow a smooth transition.
For complete results see page 18, or go on-line at www.mainescoast.com for a complete race summary and results right after the event.