Lobster boat races thunder through Searsport harbor
Competitors and spectators from all over the state gathered at the Searsport Town Wharf Saturday morning, July 14, for an event that one might refer to as Maine's version of NASCAR racing.
The Searsport Lobster Boat Races represented the fifth of 12 total races that the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association set for the 2012 season, which began in mid-June in Boothbay Harbor and will wrap up Sunday, Sept. 9, in Eastport, according to the 2012 schedule.
The races got off to a late start Saturday morning, but all it took was for the engines on the competing vessels to start roaring, and the crowd was immediately buzzing about their favorites for the morning's drag-race-style contests.
One boat that seemed to be attracting a lot of attention was Foolish Pleasure, a vessel under the ownership of Galen Alley out of Beals Island, which shattered the world speed record for a lobster boat in 2011 after it tore through one of last year's races at 72 mph.
Spectators had their eyes on Foolish Pleasure this year as well, and if the sight of the boat's sleek design or the knowledge of its reputation didn't capture the crowd's attention, the monstrous roar of the engine certainly did — many viewing the races on the wharf covered their ears to muffle the sound.
Also participating in the Searsport races was First Team, the lobster boat under the ownership of Searsport race co-organizers, the father-and-son duo of Keith and Travis Otis. Other boats carrying names such as Easy Money, Blue Thunder, All Jacked Up, Venom and Hee Haw also kept the crowd entertained throughout the morning.
Race enthusiasts and competitors moved on to Stonington to compete there Sunday, July 15, and will be back on the circuit again in Friendship Saturday, July 28. Additional races are slated for Harpswell (Sunday, July 29), Winter Harbor (Saturday, Aug. 11), Pemaquid (Sunday, Aug. 12), Portland (Sunday, Aug. 19) and Eastport (Sunday, Sept. 9).