JONESPORT – It’s a bit soon to be sure, but after Saturday’s Moosabec Reach lobster boat races, it looks like there may be a new sheriff in town.
Appropriately, the evidence was on displace on Moosabec Reach, home waters for Jeremy Beal’s new 28-footer, Maria’s Nightmare, built in Wayne Beal’s boatshop and home-ported on the reach in Jonesport.
For the past few years, Cameron Crawford’s Wild Wild West, a 28-footer with a 1,050-horsepower Isotta Fraschini diesel protruding through the platform was the fastest lobster boat—if non-working, around. The Lamoine-based rocket regularly topped its class races, often running alone, and almost invariably won the fastest lobster boat title at whatever racing event was on the calendar.
At Moosabec, Wild Wild West won its class race—solo—and the diesel Free-for-All, beating out Tom Clemons, a top racer from the Midcoast, making his first appearance at Moosabec with his 1,000-horsepower, diesel-powered 36-footer Motivation, a real, though fast, working lobster boat. Then came the climactic World’s Fastest Recreational/Working Boat Race.
Wild Wild West and Maria’s Nightmare—powered by a 2,500-horsepower Chevrolet gas engine—were bow to bow when the starter dropped the flag. It was a different story as the boats neared the finish line just short of the new Beals Island bridge.
Crawford and his diesel speedster were at least a boat length behind as Beal and Maria’s Nightmare crossed the finish line for a decisive victory. Unfortunately, the race committee’s radar gun was out of order, so there is no official record of Maria’s Nightmare’s speed, but a week earlier Wild Wild West clocked in at 56 mph winning the Diesel Free-for-All at the Bass Harbor lobster boat races and wasn’t notably slower Downeast.
The emergence of Maria’s Nightmare at the Moosabec Reach races was timely.
For many years, Galen Alley of Beals ruled the racing circuit with his record-setting lobster boat Foolish Pleasure. Alley died in a one-car traffic accident last January and in March the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association decided to dedicate the 2019 racing season to Alley’s memory.
“Before racing got underway,” association president Jon Johansen said Sunday, “numerous boats” had an “impressive” run down the course dedicated to Alley and “some of his ashes were spread” on the waters of Moosabec Reach.
“We have also spread his ashes at the other venues and will do it for the remainder of the races,” Johansen said.
The Moosabec Reach races are always popular, but this year was something special, according to Johansen.
In all, 125 boats signed up to race, “the most so far this season and is the most since Winter Harbor in 2002.”
Though the morning fog still hung heavy at the eastern end of the reach, shrouding the hills of Pig Island and obscuring the distant Chandler Bay, the racers were not deterred at all.
There were several “real close races,” Johansen said, and some “notable” new boats, among them Calvin Beal, Jr.’s Jeanine Marie from Beals and a new, larger Miss Amity, owned by Jason Chipman of Milbridge.
This weekend, racing moves to the Deer Island Thorofare for the Stonington Lobster Boat Races on Sunday morning. It should be an interesting day on the water.