EASTPORT, Maine — Eight-year-old Cody Thomas of Brewer watched the inaugural International Lobster Races at Eastport with his mouth hanging open.
“He was entranced,” said Elissa Thomas, the boy’s mother.
“I want one of those boats,” the boy added with eyes wide.
Hundreds of spectators lined the Eastport breakwater and the fish pier or sat in boats in Passamaquoddy Bay to enjoy the races, which turned out not to be so international after all. There were no entrants from Canada.
The race seemed to suffer a bit from “opening night jitters,” as the racing committee boat broke down and had to be towed, a mooring let loose and a sightseeing boat was pressed into service as the official timing boat, complete with radar gun.
But all of the delays were quickly forgotten when the first three racers, cigarette boats, shot by the breakwater at breakneck speeds.
The crowds cheered and clapped for each of the lobster boat heats, too, clearly enjoying a sunny day on the coast.
Sunday was the third and final day of the Pirate Festival, which included parades on and off the water, bed races, a pirate ball and crowning of king and queen pirates, races, costume contests and live music, as well as food and vendors. Organizers estimate 10,000 people attended the three-day festival.
Event organizer John Miller said that Sunday’s lobster boat races were not part of the sanctioned races on the 10-race circuit in Maine this year, but he hoped they would be part of the circuit next year.
A grand prize of $1,000 was awarded.
Miller said the lobster boat races were particularly appropriate for Eastport because the city is steeped in maritime history.
“In addition to marking that history, the races also honor the hardworking men and women that earn their living on the water here in Maine and New Brunswick,” he said.