‘Like NASCAR and tractor pulling all wrapped into one’: Lobster boats race in Stonington Harbor

Posted July 14, 2014, at 1:05 p.m.
Whistler, entered by Isaac Dworsky, races against Chris Page's Abigail and Carter during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Whistler, entered by Isaac Dworsky, races against Chris Page's Abigail and Carter during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
A seal made an appearance at the finish line during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
A seal made an appearance at the finish line during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Ben Walls uses a radar gun to track speeds during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. The fastest boat of the day was clocked at 47.4 mph.
Ben Walls uses a radar gun to track speeds during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. The fastest boat of the day was clocked at 47.4 mph. Buy Photo
Spectators tie off to moorings, each other or anchor in Stonington Harbor along the &quottrack" where lobster boats faced off during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Spectators tie off to moorings, each other or anchor in Stonington Harbor along the "track" where lobster boats faced off during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Emma and Andrew, entered by Ben Weed, competes during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Emma and Andrew, entered by Ben Weed, competes during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
&quotUncle's U.F.O.", owned by Andy Gove, and Cameron Crawford's &quotWild Wild West" race during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
"Uncle's U.F.O.", owned by Andy Gove, and Cameron Crawford's "Wild Wild West" race during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Lobster fisherman and boat enthusiasts compete during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Lobster fisherman and boat enthusiasts compete during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
The crew aboard the Jarsulan 4 cheer after crossing the finish line during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
The crew aboard the Jarsulan 4 cheer after crossing the finish line during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
 Judges Susan Soper (left) and Keith Young watch the finish line of a race during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Judges Susan Soper (left) and Keith Young watch the finish line of a race during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Spectators cheer as lobster boats face off in drag races during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Spectators cheer as lobster boats face off in drag races during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Judges make notes after a race Sunday afternoon on top of a barge during the 2014 lobster boat races in Stonington.
Judges make notes after a race Sunday afternoon on top of a barge during the 2014 lobster boat races in Stonington. Buy Photo
Racers cheer as they cross the finish line during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Racers cheer as they cross the finish line during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Hooligan races through the water during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Hooligan races through the water during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Spectators watch lobster boats face off during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Spectators watch lobster boats face off during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Spectators of the 2014 lobster boat races climb on rocks along the track to watch the finish line on Sunday in Stonington.
Spectators of the 2014 lobster boat races climb on rocks along the track to watch the finish line on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Emily Kaplan (left), Erin Polselli (center) and Rod Raykhman dance on top of the Jarsulan 4 during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Emily Kaplan (left), Erin Polselli (center) and Rod Raykhman dance on top of the Jarsulan 4 during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Emma and Andrew, entered by Ben Weed, pushes through the water during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Emma and Andrew, entered by Ben Weed, pushes through the water during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo
Marshall Spear crosses the finish line on &quotJ-Bird" to win the Class C Inboards, outboards or outdrives, 61 to 90 hp during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington.
Marshall Spear crosses the finish line on "J-Bird" to win the Class C Inboards, outboards or outdrives, 61 to 90 hp during the 2014 lobster boat races on Sunday in Stonington. Buy Photo

STONINGTON, MAINE — On Stonington’s idyllic coastline, the sounds of gulls were drowned out by the roar of 750 horsepower engines on Sunday. Race fans lined the liquid drag strip with dozens of boats and hundreds of people to watch the 2014 Stonington Lobster Boat Races in the fishing town’s harbor.

“It’s like NASCAR and tractor pulling all wrapped into one,” said Travis Otis, vice president of the Maine Lobster Boat Association.

Otis said some of these high speed lobster boats can reach upwards of 70 mph. The fastest boat of the day was Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, owned by Roger Kennedy, and it clocked in at 47.4 mph.

“I’ve been going to these races since the ’70s,” said race judge Keith Young.

Young’s job as one of the judges is to decide the winners and make sure the boaters stay compliant during the day’s 31 races. Young sits perched atop a giant floating barge that is moored at the finish line.

Brent Oliver’s boat, the Jarsulan 4, was one of two boats filled with partying spectators tied off to the barge. Emily Kaplan, Erin Polselli and Rod Raykhman were dancing on the roof, while about 20 others were on deck.

“[My daughter] says it’s Christmas in the summer,” said Oliver. “It’s just a gathering of friends mainly.”

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