The official 2015 Maine Lobster Boat Races schedule has just been posted and I am sharing it below along with a few notes (some of them courtesy of Travis Otis).
The 2015 Maine Lobster Boat Races Schedule
Boothbay Harbor: June 20th. This is a points race and best viewed via boat.
Rockland: June 21st. This is a points race and best viewed via Rockland Breakwater. This race has good prizes and draws a nice crowd of local boys and big boats from the surrounding islands. Expect lots of rafting up and partying.
Bass Harbor: June 28th. This is a non-points race, best viewed via boat. A blessing of the fleet takes place after the races.
Moosabec Reach: July 4th. This is a points race best viewed via the Beals Island bridge. This is perhaps the most iconic race of the season as Maine lobster boat racing as we know it originated in these sheltered waters between Jonesport and Beals Island. The races are always highly competitive and the towns host 4th of July events alongside the racing. The iconic arching bridge which connects Jonesport to Beals Island is an excellent vantage point for watching the boat races. For a look at the Jonesport Beals / Moosabec Summerfest 4th of July schedule, click here.
Searsport: July 11th. This is a points race and best viewed from Mosman Park or the town landing.
Stonington: July 12th. This is a points race and best viewed via boat. A pancake breakfast is held before the races and crab meat rolls are served in the odd fellows hall after (you haven’t lived until you’ve had a Stonington crab meat roll)! Stonington is one of the most picturesque lobster fishing villages in Maine and well worth a visit even if you can’t make it to the races. Bagaduce Lunch, in Brooksville, is a great lobster shack to check out if you’re in the area. To read about Stonington’s Annual Fishermens Day, which takes place the week after the Stonington boat races, click here.
Friendship: July 19th. This is a points race best viewed via boat. The week after the Friendship lobster boat races, the town will be hosting their Annual Friendship Day.
Harpswell: July 26th. This is a points race best viewed via boat. If you are heading to Harpswell for the races, it’s worth stopping into Estes Lobster House, which consistently gets listed as one of the best lobster shacks in Maine.
Winter Harbor: August 8th. This is a points race best viewed via boat. The races form part of a wider Downeast Maine Lobster Festival held in the town that day. The festival itself is well worth a visit and includes a pancake breakfast, parade and lobster dinner. For a look at this year’s Downeast/Winter Harbor Lobster Festival, click here.
Long Island: August 15th. This is a points race best viewed via boat.
Portland/Pemaquid: August 16th. The Pemaquid race is a non-points race best viewed from the top of the tower at Pemaquid Colonial Park. The Portland race is a points race and best viewed from Fort Allen Park/the Eastern Promenade (including the walk-way below). There will be a speaker system there giving race commentary or one can use channel 10 on a VHF radio. Following the races all participants are treated to a huge barbeque at Portland Yacht Services’ waterfront were the day’s awards are handed out. The Portland lobster boat races form part of the Portland MS Harborfest Weekend, which also includes a regatta and a tug boat muster.
Lobster boat races are also usually part of the Eastport Pirate Festival, a three day event which takes place this year on the 11th, 12th and 13th of September. While the 2015 Eastport Pirate Festival is still being finalize, it usually includes live music, fireworks (which will be on 12th this year), lobster crate races, parades and a ‘friendly’ invasion of the neighboring town of Lubec in addition to the lobster boat races.
Feel free to add comments or insights to the above or to share your experience of any of the races you attend!
If you’d like to read about more events this summer along the coast of Maine, including Stonington Fishermen’s Day, the Winter Harbor Lobster Festival, Friendship Day, the Eastport Pirate Festival and more, click here.