Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races

There’ll be a whole lotta wake goin’ on!

Mon, 06/10/2024 - 1:30pm

According to the Complete Guide to Lobster Boat Racing, the first organized Maine races were held in 1964. Sixty years later, we are counting down the days for the race that kicks off the season right here in Boothbay Harbor. The Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races are Saturday, June 15; start time is 10 a.m.

Boat captains from up and down the coast will sign up at Brown’s Wharf at 121 Atlantic Ave. between 8:45 and 9:45 a.m. Entry fee is $20 with one exception: boat captains 18 or younger can enter for free to encourage their participation and keep the sport going strong.

If you want a 2024 commemorative T-shirt or sweatshirt, be at Brown’s at 8 a.m. Both shirts are heather gray with cream color lettering. T’s are $20 and sweatshirts are $35.

Ashleeann Lowery, who has been organizing the Races for 18 years, noted 2023 was the first time it rained during her time at the helm. Fortunately for fans, lobster boat racers are a passionate bunch and have no fear of water drops … getting wet’s a given with all that wake they kick up! There are usually 45 boats in the Boothbay Harbor races, so Lowery is hoping for the sun’s return.

Said Lowery, “It will be interesting to see who comes. We will be looking forward to seeing some boats come up from Portland. It’s always nice to see those guys.”

The first three places in all categories except Fastest Boat receive cash or a gift card of equivalent value: First place is $150, second is $100, and third is $50. Race winners make a pass by the Prize Float to see Lowery for these prizes.

In last year’s competitions, the Fastest Working Lobster Boat award went to Jeff Eaton of Deer Isle/Stonington. His boat, La Belle Vita, took the prize with a speed of 40.2 mph. Andrew Taylor’s Blue Eyed Girl won the race in 2021 and 2022, but didn’t enter it last year. Taylor did win first place (49 mph) for Fastest Working Lobster Boat with Boothbay’s Caleb Knapp, in Evangeline, taking third place in the race; John Albaum in Beluga came in second. Knapp took first in Wooden Boats 36 feet and over (any horsepower).

First Place in the Diesel Free For All was Jeremy Beal in Maria’s Nightmare flying across the water at 57.5 mph with Blue Eyed Girl coming in second place. Other racing categories are: Work boats under 24 feet, gas-powered boats 24-feet and over, diesel powered vessels 24-feet and over. For the complete 2023 winners list of races, visit https://tinyurl.com/4mtvpy6d

Lowery noted the much-anticipated event is 100% sponsor-funded with sponsors’ names printed on the back of each year’s commemorative shirts. The monies raised are used for the prizes and funding of the Charlie Begin Memorial Scholarship, awarded to four Boothbay Region High School seniors.

If you cannot be out on the water for the races, the course is in front of Tumbler Island, there’s that great lawn at Maine State Aquarium on McKown Point Road in West Boothbay Harbor and, in the Harbor, try Brown’s Wharf and Whale’s Tale. Binoculars are also a good idea from any viewing point.

After the races, Lowery, committee members, some local racers, and spectators head over to Robinson’s Wharf for a celebration. Robinson’s has School Street Band booked for the occasion! And Lowery will be bringing any unsold T’s and sweatshirts with her to the celebration.

Don’t miss any of the 33 Maine lobster boat races during this 60th year! Many fans travel up the coast for all or most of them. For a complete list of 2024 races, visit https://shorturl.at/UjPP0