In preparation for the Maine lobster boat racing season the Maine Boatbuilding Forum will host boat builders Travis and Keith Otis, Glenn Holland, Stewart Workman and Calvin Beal, who will debate the qualities that make the very best and fastest lobster boats. This month’s forum is at Penobscot Marine Museum’s Main Street Gallery on Thursday, June 12, at 7:00 pm.
Keith Otis grew up in Maine, joined the Air Force Strategic Air Command then later re-enlisted in the Army’s 1st Calvary Division (Airmobile) where he worked on fire control systems for attack helicopters in Vietnam. He started Otis Enterprises Marine in Searsport in 1979. Keith’s son Travis grew up with sandpaper in his hand, helping his dad. Otis Enterprises Marine has produced over ninety boats, ranging from modest lobster boats to top of the line luxury sportfish boats. Travis Otis is Vice President of the Maine Lobsterboat Racing Association.
Glenn Holland, of Holland’s Boat Shop in Belfast, started building boats in 1972 with an unfinished Repco hull which he finished in a temporary building on his parent’s front lawn. Glenn eventually partnered with Royal Lowell and together they designed the Holland 32 which went into production in 1978. Holland’s Boat Shop is home of the racing lobsterboat “Red Baron”, which won the title “World’s Fastest Lobster Boat” in 2000, and has won over 100 trophies.
Stewart Workman’s father was a lobster boat owner, and Stewart ran his own boat and pulled lobsters out of the water starting in junior high school. He was in the Coast Guard in Alaska but returned to Maine to focus on schooner and passenger boat restorations, a deep- sea fishing business, and being a yacht captain. SW Boatworks was founded by Capt. Stewart Workman in 2000.
Calvin Beal started working in and around boat shops as a young boy, helping the old time boat builders of Beals build their boats. In 1969 Calvin built his own wooden, 22′ lobster boat, then he built a 35′ wooden boat named the Octavia A for his father-in-law. Calvin worked on wooden boats and plugs until he built his own molds for fiberglass boats in the late ’90s. After building one hundred and twenty-five boats, Calvin sold the molds to SW Boatworks in Lamoine.
The Maine Lobster Boat Races start on June 14th in Boothbay Harbor. For a schedule of the races, go to “Fans of Maine Lobster Boat Racing” Facebook page.
The Maine Boatbuilding Forum is moderated by Jon Johansen of Maine Coastal News, and is held at Penobscot Marine Museum’s Main Street Gallery, Route One, Searsport, Maine. Tickets are $8 members and $10 non-members. For more information go to www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org or call 207-548-2529 or 0334.