By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,150)
“The MS Regatta is an important part of Portland’s culture. And the Lobster Boat Races are an important part of the MS Regatta. Thank you for being here today. I hope that you will continue to be a large part in the future,” said Phin Sprague, Jr. to a crowd enjoying the Fifth Annual Lobster Boat Races on the Portland waterfront. “It is my pleasure to see you all here enjoying yourselves.” Portland Yacht Services hosted the event and provided the barbecue banquet.
Sixty lobster boats participated in twenty-eight races in the Fifth Annual Lobster Boat Races according to Jon Johansen, publisher of the popular “Maine Coastal News” and President of the Lobster Boat Racing Association since 2007. One of the participants was Lee Schatvet, 26, captain of the 40 ft., Yesterday’s Storm, a lobster boat from Rye, N.H. For Schatvet this is the third year he has participated. “This is the only time of the year I look forward to a break in lobstering. I get to see old friends,” he said while docked at Portland Yacht Services following the races. He prefers to lobster by himself and spends about 10 to 12 hours as sea. “I’ll be back next year.”
Lobster Boat Races in Maine date back to 1901 in Jonesport said Johansen, an expert on the history of ships on the Maine coast. In an average year, there are twelve races up and down the Maine coast; this year there were nine races. About half of them are attached to charities and half are not. In Friendship, the revenue was donated to the local ambulance service. On Long Island, the revenue was to have gone to a scholarship for a college student. But he suddenly died. Rather, the revenue will go to SailMaine, a non-profit community sailing program on the Portland waterfront. In today’s Races there was a boat from as far up the coast as Blue Hill and there were two from New Hampshire. “Boat owners often travel along the coast entering other Races,” said Jonhansen.
Steve Minich, of Channel 8, served as MC and awarded numerous prizes to the participants. The 33rd annual MSRegatta earned $150.00 for the Foundation; a new record.