ROCKLAND, Maine — A lobsterman in a souped-up boat set a new speed record Sunday on the Maine lobster boat racing circuit.
Galen Alley, of Beals Island, was clocked at 68.1 mph in his 30-foot fiberglass boat, Foolish Pleasure, at lobster boat races in Rockland, said Jon Johansen, president of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association. Alley beat the old record of 64.5 mph, which he set last summer.
“He’s in the record book,” Johansen said.
In all, more than 110 boats roared their engines and sprayed roostertails over the weekend as Maine’s annual lobster boat racing season kicked off.
Sixty-nine boats competed Sunday in Rockland, a day after the first races of the season drew 45 boats to Boothbay Harbor, Johansen said.
The races are annual action-packed contests where lobstermen race their vessels as spectators watch from shore and from boats that line the race courses. Racers compete in several different classes, with many having souped-up engines built for speed.
Alley’s gas-powered boat is equipped with a massive dragster-style engine mounted on its deck. In the diesel class, Alfred Osgood, of Vinalhaven, had the fastest showing on Sunday, clocking in at 54.7 mph aboard the Starlight Express.
There are 10 lobster boat races this season, in Boothbay Harbor, Rockland, Jonesport-Beals Island, Searsport, Stonington, Friendship, Harpswell, Winter Harbor, Pemaquid and Portland.
Last week, the racing association announced it had signed an agreement with a Portland marketing company, Aura360, to produce a television series based on the races. The company had two video crews on hand in Rockland to record footage that it intends to turn into a pilot that it can pitch to television networks, said Aura360 spokeswoman Lauren St. Clair.
The idea is to create a series similar to the hit cable TV show “Deadliest Catch,” which focuses on fishermen aboard Alaska’s crab-fishing boats, she said.