MERRITT BRACKETT LOBSTER BOAT RACES
14 August 2005
WINTER HARBOR/PEMAQUID – Lobster boat racers were looking for a big weekend with the Winter Harbor and Merritt Brackett Lobster Boat Races scheduled for 13 and 14 August. With sign up at Winter Harbor completed just over 50 racers and a large number of spectators waited for the fog to lift. Just before 1300 the races were called and it was announced that they would be rescheduled on 28 August. The following day many of those who had been at Winter Harbor made the voyage down to Pemaquid for the Merritt Brackett Lobster Boat Races. This is one of the largest drawing races on the coast, and this year there were about 75 boats entered for the event.
Just before the races started it was announced that former President George Bush would becoming to Pemaquid for a clam bake. He owns a Fountain with triple outboards and is capable of speeds in excess of 70 mph. He arrived after the first race with a Coast Guard and Secret Service boat surrounding him. We must mention that that first Secret Service boat to arrive in the harbor an hour or two before the former president got one of their propellers caught up in a mooring. The former president stayed about two hours and when asked if it was alright for him to make a pass up the course the reply came back only if he would open her up, which he more than happily did.
This is the only non points race on the coast, and thus they have very different classes. It also spawn discussion about the classes of the points races. It was thought that there were too many classes, which is becoming very costly for race organizers as they try to get prizes for them. Discussion also centred around what to do about the cheating, but no one could come up with a solution. This is the main reason for the decrease in racers at all the venues this year. Most races were down 20 entrants and it made some wonder what next year would bring.
Fourteen boats came to the line for the first race, 25-hp outboards with operators under 16 years old, which was won by Nicholas Poland’s Revenge of the Bananas, followed by Steve Richardson’s Green Crab and Jason Hall’s Skiff Destini. In Race 2, outboards up to 70 hp, first over the line was Travis O’Brien. Second went to Larry Reed’s CJ and third Ronald Carter’s Junk. In the third race, inboard or outboards 71-hp and over, there was some confusion. First went to William DeBery’s Supa Gupp (Beal 23, 225-hp Honda O/B) and third was Joel Hallinan’s Poly One. The second and fourth place boat failed to come to the committee boat so it was unknown who placed where in those positions.
The gasoline classes have few entrants at the other venues and Pemaquid has dealt with this by having just two races. One for four and six cylinder engines and another for eight-cylinder engines. Cry Baby, owned by D&L Boatworks made an appearance, but could not get off their trailer at the ramp so they sat the day out. Bruce Farrin, Jr. sold Dry Rot (Everett Barlow, wood, 318 cid Chrysler) over the winter and purchased Sumner (Sumner McFarland, 1960, wood, 300 cid Ford) and he sped his way to first place in the four and six cylinder race. Second was Dana Russell’s Phixt Twixt (25-foot, 250 cid Chevrolet). Four boats came to the line for the second gas class and Isaac Beal’s Christopher (Mariner Beal, wooden, 502 cid Chevrolet) was the easy winner. Second went to Doug Carter’s Babe (Everett Barlow, 1962, 455 cid Oldsmobile) and third to the former Dry Rot, now Exodus, now owned by Bob Mondore.
In the first diesel race, up to 175 hp, first went to Mi-Jen (Repco 30, 165-hp Volvo) owned by John Bracket. Second was Donald Boyington’s Papa & I (35-foot Fern Carter, 80-hp Perkins). Chris Hutchinson’s Minor Debt (Muscle Ridge 28, 210-hp Cummins) would be first in race 7, 176 to 210-hp. He was followed over by Gary Clifford’s Destini (Duffy 26, 200-hp) and David Hanna’s Bella Gail (Young Brothers 30, 210 hp). In diesels 211 to 250-hp there were nine boats entered so they ran two heats taking the top three boats and running them together in the finals. In the Howard Gray’s Blue Thunder (Northern Bay 28, 230-hp Steyr) had a real battle with Marshall Farnham’s Miss Attitude (Holland 32, 247-hp John Deere), but it was Blue Thunder crossing first. Aaron Smith brought his Why Knot (Libby 34, 300-hp Caterpillar) down from Beals Island and won the next class, 251 to 350-hp. Second was Raymond Carter’s Who’s Buyn (Flowers 33, 300-hp John Deere) followed by David Taylor’s Andrea & Donna (Crowley 28, 300-hp Isuzu). Sid Eaton showed the his transom of his Kimberley Belle (AJ-28, 370-hp Volvo) to Todd Ritchie’s Seacock (Calvin Beal 34, 410-hp Sisu) in the diesel 351 to 450-hp, 28 to 36 feet in length class. Third was Bill Grant’s Gladiator (Crowley-Beal 33, 287 Volvo). In the next class, 351 to 450 h, 36 feet and over, was won by Travis Otis’ First Team (Northern Bay 36, 410-hp Sisu) with Spencer Dyer’s The Chain (Holland 38, 420-hp Caterpillar). Five boats came to the line for the next race, 451 to 650 hp diesels, which was won by Steve Johnson’s Wild One (Crowley-Beal 33, 892 GM). Second went to Gary Genthner’s Lisa Marie (Libby 34, 550-hp Isuzu) and third was Bill Hallinan’s Apparition II (Young Brothers 38, 892 GM). The final diesel class was for those over 651 hp and it was no surprise that the winner was Andrew Gove’s Uncle’s UFO (Northern Bay 36, 900-hp Mack). Second was Richard Hildings’ What’s Left (RP 40, 800-hp Caterpillar).
In a very tight race four Novi boats battled up the course throwing water everywhere. The winner was Miss Vicious (36-foot Novi, 650-hp Mack) owned by Steve Genthner and second was Canadian Mist (38-foot North Shore, 300-hp Caterpillar) owned by Travis Carter.
Ten boats came to the line for the Wooden Boat Race, which was won by Christopher, followed by Babe and Don Drisko’s Merganser (Calvin Beal Jr., wood, 230-hp Yanmar).
The Gasoline Free for All had just Christopher and Babe line up for the start with the same result as the first two contests between these two boats.
There was a tight battle and it was by less than half a boat length that Uncle’s UFO got by Gladiator. Third went to Wild One.
In the Fastest Lobster Boat Afloat, first was Uncle’s UFO, second Wild One and third Gladiator.
It is now on to Searsport and Winter Harbor and then another season is over!