View Full Version : Lobster boat races
Have you ever seen them? The fastest time seems to be right about the 60mph mark!
Here is one of the wood Novi's
11-27-2002, 08:22 PM
I saw this on the Sunday Morning show a few years ago and thought it was pretty cool. As memory serves these guys are'nt running their every day working engines, they're having some mean Warren Johnson, 500 cube, supercharger, NO2 type stuff built. Does anyone know when and where? It seems like a heck of a show.
There are lobsterboat races held just about anyplace lobstermen congregate, but I believe the Winston Cup of lobsterboat racing is at or near Searsport, Maine. Maybe some of our forumites in that area can chime in here. And yes, those aren't your standard lobsterboats. The one in the photo is probably a commercial boat with a race engine stuffed in for the day, but the really fast ones - yes, 60 mph is a reasonable speed - are not much more than a ludicrously light hull, drivetrain, and windscreen. Forty-foot boats weighing less than two tons and powered by supercharged 1500-hp Keith Black hemis are not uncommon.
What's the old saw?
"The only difference between men and boys
Is the size and price of their toys"
Check out http://www.lobsterboatracing.com/
[ 11-27-2002, 10:02 PM: Message edited by: mmd ]
There are number of races during the summer on different dates. Commercial fisheries News always has a big run-down on them. Some of the boats are built light but they compete in different classes, outboard skiffs all the way to unlimited hp gas and diesel categories.
In no way is this a strictly hot rod event. Many of these boats are workers like mine with plenty of clunkers sporting 350s and 4 and 6 cyl diesels. Interestingly one of the fastest is about an old '53 or so owned by.. I forget which one of the Beals. Another wooden boat, Christopher, usually gets its picture taken cause it looks so good next to the newer boats
Joel, the fame of the Beals' fast lobsterboats has spread far & wide. They DO make a fine lookin' boat.
01-01-2003, 12:25 PM
Saw this picture on a fly fishing web site that I often lurk on. Ouch!
01-01-2003, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by dcobbett:
Saw this picture on a fly fishing web site that I often lurk on. Ouch!Holy... "Ouch" is right!
01-01-2003, 01:05 PM
BoatUS's "Seaworthy" mailing that comes with BoatUS Insurance, showed the three-photo sequence. Said the 28-foot, Wild Wild West , with a turbo-charged 502 tipped over at 46.5 mph, in August, 2001 at Searsport. The second photo show her, still at speed, with port corner of the cabin top in the water. Some guys have all the fun.
01-01-2003, 01:18 PM
Originally posted by mmd:
Forty-foot boats weighing less than two tons and powered by supercharged 1500-hp Keith Black hemis are not uncommon.DROOL :D
01-01-2003, 04:25 PM
The lobster boat races look like a waterman's version of the tractor pull. Starting out with a boat hull that is not suited to high speed, they add on more and more power. The foundering of the boat in the photos is not surprising. 46 mph is not all that fast either. Because they are boats, the races are a lot more interesting than the tractors though.
01-01-2003, 06:01 PM
Unlike the tractor pulls, the lobsterboat races (at least in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where I've seen them) don't begin from a standing start. There are no official lanes, so the jockeying about before the running start, which is signalled by a dropped flag on an accompanying CG boat heading down the course is where alot of the action is. The trouble some boats get into with others' wakes , a la 'Wild Wild West', can be spectacular.
Because the races aren't standing starts, it's not clear to me how they measure the speeds accurately, unless they're using GPS top speed readings on each boat... but the owner's are very cagey about revealing what their true capabilities are and a recent attempt to certify actual cubic inches and horsepower has been defeated by the association members.
[ 01-01-2003, 07:05 PM: Message edited by: rbgarr ]
01-01-2003, 10:26 PM
When I said they were like tractor pulls I meant that they took boats meant for work and made them into a competitive anomaly where the boats are of little use for their first purpose.
01-02-2003, 07:57 AM
Well, yes. There are tractor pulls and then there the abominations of machines they call tractors. I love to see an old Johnny Popper to tail to tail with a Oliver--battle of the once green giants sort of thing. But, a jet engine on wheels, blech!
It's sure be nice if we had enought water for lobster, even crawdad, boat races.
01-02-2003, 01:03 PM
A similarity between tractor pulling and lobsterboat racing seems to be the balance between applying power to the properly shaped/inflated/spinning tires and the sized/pitched propellor without losing traction/cavitating.
Sometimes the lobsterboat skippers give it just a little too much throttle at the start and you can hear the engine race momentarily (cavaitating). When the boat settles without lifting up on a plane, even for a second, they often lose the race right there.
01-03-2003, 10:49 AM
Lobster boat races are seriously a lot of fun. A few of the boats (in the unlimited classes) are basically race boats. But most of the boats are working boats, including all the way down to outboard skiffs run by kids.
The rules require two in the boat - the lobsterman and the sternman (who can be of either gender). One of the things that you see is that if a fisherman has a boat he figures won't be quite competitive that day, he'll load the boat up with family and all (I've seen up to 11-12 people) which signal he isn't going to go hide in shame but knows he won't win that day. Guys who run a real work boat (sometimes complete with all the gear) usually get a good cheer for showing up.
The high end of the sport is exciting and dangerous, and displays all the usual effects of serious competition. One guy showed up with his pilot house removed a few years back (it wasn't against the rules) and won; so they changed the rules. You always see a blown engine or two. Two years ago a boat flipped over at speed; fortunately the two men in it survived.
Best seen from the deck of another lobster boat, with a driver who has lots of friends in the boats and the crowd. To a large extent these races are by and for the lobster fishing communitry.
It's so much fun you'll want to rip the arms off your TShirt.
Wonderful description, Ross. smile.gif I have only attended two such races (sadly, both viewed from on-shore) and your prose reveals that you had as much fun as I did.
01-10-2003, 08:27 AM
MMD I sure do want to thank you for the link. As I've always loved the lines of these boats. I have a bunch of lobsterboat pix's on my screen saver. Now I'll have a bunch more. :D
Warthog5, have you seen the pics I posted in: http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000004
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