TREMONT — Fifty-seven area lobstermen spent Sunday afternoon competing just off-shore from the Bernard Town Wharf during the second annual Bass Harbor Lobster Boat Races held in conjunction with the fourth annual blessing of the fleet and the rededication of the sea memorial.
The harbor was packed with anchored boats full of fans, and viewing from the barge Charles Bradley — which marked the race’s finish line — was practically standing room only.
The races, which are not officially sanctioned as part of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association season, were host to competitors from Jonesport, Searsport, Stonington, Bar Harbor, Frenchboro, Swan’s Island and Islesford. About 30 boats registered from Bass Harbor.
“The fact that nothing’s gained by winning besides bragging rights, makes it a friendly thing,” said Wayne Rich, organizer of the event. “It’s just fun, there’s no points, and it doesn’t cost anything to enter.”
Jamie Thurlow in Family Tradition won the coveted title of Tremont’s fastest lobster boat in a race that drew 16 boats to the starting line that stretched nearly all the way across the harbor.
“We’re all so competitive that we had two false starts,” Rich said. “Everybody wanted to win.”
After the false starts, the race committee decided to run the race in two heats and Family Tradition came out ahead. Thurlow’s award (a wooden propeller and plaque fashioned by Chummy Rich) will be posted in the Tremont town office for the year.
Rich’s son Colyn, 10, captained two boats during the races, his skiff and a 1953 boat built by his grandfather, Bobby Rich.
“I have to say, my favorite race was the battle of the black and buff,” he said, smiling. “It was me, my dad, and my cousin Cameron (Crawford).”
For more maritime news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.