BATH, Maine — When Ben Gilmore and Mark Murrell decided to launch their elite Captain’s Club program, in which VIPs for a tidy sum can buy a proverbial boatload of fresh Maine lobsters and try out an authentic trap-hauling experience, they wanted to make a big splash.
Which is precisely what would have happened if their celebrity inaugural club member, Boston Celtics forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis, had fallen off the boat Saturday. Three years after helping the Celts capture the NBA championship, Davis came up to the Midcoast to help Popham Beach lobsterman — and Ben’s son — Richard Gilmore capture savory crustaceans.
There was no gold in the approximately 30 or 40 trophies the bombastic forward hauled up from the ocean floor Saturday, but by all accounts, “Big Baby” found Maine’s signature crustaceans to be sweeter. Literally.
“It was his first trip to Maine, and he loves lobster,” said Murrell, who runs the website GetMaineLobster.com. “They had a blast. It was an awesome experience for them.”
Davis also visited Gilmore’s Seafood on Court Street in Bath, which Ben runs alongside his brother, Kevin, and which will supply all of the lobster for the Captain’s Club program.
Ben Gilmore described the 6-foot-9, nearly 290-pound Davis as a gentle giant.
“He was so big, but he was really nice,” Gilmore said. “He was polite and cordial. He had a big smile on his face. He had a great time. He loved being up here and loved the state. I’m sure he’ll be back at some point.”
Murrell called the charismatic and well-networked “Big Baby” a good choice to recruit as the first member of the club, which Gilmore said is geared to appeal to celebrities and the nation’s high rollers.
According to Murrell’s website, organizers are accepting enrollment in what they envision as a 50-person exclusive society, where members can “battle the salty surf to snare the ocean’s elusive delicacy, the Maine lobster.”
For a membership price Gilmore said was in the thousands of dollars, Captain’s Club members receive all the catch from their personal lobster trap, with a guaranteed minimum of 100 pounds of the bottom-dwelling creatures shipped anywhere in the country.
They also can co-captain a lobster boat and experience trap-hauling firsthand in an all-expense-paid trip to Maine, as Davis did in tipping off the program Saturday.
Other membership benefits include Captain’s Club attire, monthly status videos with updates on the member’s trap’s hauls and a replica lobster trap — described on GetMaineLobster.com as a “perfect mantle piece.”
“While your buddies talk about their latest round of golf, you can one-up them with tales from the sea,” the website coaxes potential customers, adding: “The next time your friends start yapping about their golf games, try to stifle your yawns of boredom.”
Davis began publicizing the program Saturday, using the social networking website Twitter to comment on his experience to more than 50,000 of the hoops star’s Internet followers.
“I have a different respect for catching lobster,” Davis wrote. “It was hard. Plus, I didn’t know Maine was so pretty. I love Maine.”
Murrell joined Davis on the lobster boat along with Richard Gilmore and Joe Finibaldi, a shipbuilder from Bath Iron Works.
“I happened to know some people [Davis] works with, and that was that,” Murrell told The Times Record on Monday. “It was an effort to build awareness around the industry, and also to try and sell the idea of coming out and giving [lobstering] a try of your own.”
To read more of the Times Record, visit timesrecord.com.