by Brenda Tredwell
The next time you hear “I got a motor you can run from here to France,” don’t believe it, but if you can jack the engine of the boat you haul in every day, off-load gear, and have it in your blood to defend tradition—finest kind.
Racers seemed to have plans to hold off applying any heavy firepower. until Moosabec. Weather impacted attendance at Boothbay.
Galen Alley didn’t race at Boothbay, but went to Rockland. Fans speculated that Alley wasn’t planning to take Foolish Pleasure over the top till he was on the home playing field, then he’d pull out the big guns. Lorna R. is now raced by Galen’s brother Rocky Alley. Carmen Look is his wing man, braving conditions astern where Archie Alley once held cockpit command.
Underdog was not in the water for either of the first two venues.
Alfred Osgood was unable to show at Boothbay, due to a graduation, but poured it on at Rockland. According to Tom Crane, who is involved in organizing events at Rockland, over the past five years since Rockland has hosted races, the number of racers has ranged from a high of 82 to a low of 47. Although Crane (US Coast Guard) has recently relocated to Washington, D.C. he helped set up the Rockland venue in 2006 while stationed in that port. From 2006 - 2009, Crane captained Thunder Bay and served as Patrol Commander for 4-5 small Coast Guard boats.
“This is our third year of good weather,” said Crane. “And weather dictates attendance.” Off the top of his head, Crane said Rockland race organizers reached their goal, and were able to offer $11,000 in raffle prizes (donated by local businesses) and $8,000 for cash prizes.
At Rockland, Dixon Smith charged heavily, pushing his new 750 HP Iveco engine as fast as she would go. Boats in M Class - 40' and over, were veering off course, edging each other out towards the Committee boat at the finish line where Smith lost sight of the finish line during Race 20. The battle ended with Smith (Size Matters) conceding to Gramp’s Bird, a solid Winter Harbor boat, owned by Patrick Faulkingham, piloted by his son, Billy Bob. Dixon Smith is liking his new engine, after defeating Colin Alley’s Amanda Joy & Logi Bear on the reach during Moosabec, as well as a classy showing at Boothbay and Rockland.
Judges aboard the Committee boat, Arthur Richardson of Boothbay, and Al Strout of Harpswell, dodged spray as MLBRA President, Jon Johansen signaled the fleet to divert course—now.
After the committee boat Man O’War rode out the diesel-generated tsunami, Capt. Bruce Leiter of Rockland cracked a smile. Leiter had high praise for the design of his boat, a Holland 38'.
The Jacob Pike, a sardine carrier formerly captained by Dana B. Rice of Birch Harbor now carries lobster from mid-coast islands to Rockland. Jamie Steeves who also runs Rockland Gulf is the new owner. Steeves acquired the Pike from the Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport. Due to the carrier being a wooden vessel, more prone to disintegration onshore, she was sold by PMM to Steeves, for a dollar. “She’s fishing again,” was Dana Rice’s comment from his Gouldsboro lobster wharf, as he muscled a crate of lobsters. An unmistakable smile curled around the stem of his pipe. The Pike stood her ground, at the Rockland raft-up, once again a working vessel.
Ryan Post’s Tall Tales is a Wayne Beal 40' just like Instigator. Post’s former boat which broke from her mooring April 17. Post’s new boat was delivered three weeks prior to the Rockland race from Beaufort, N.C. She reportedly packs an Iveco 800 HP, a trade-up over Instigator’s 700 HP Volvo. She officially raced under the southern flag – Rockland was not yet painted on her stern.
Bill Lowe’s Emily Grace of Ash Point, Owl’s Head won the wooden boat races at Boothbay and Rockland. Lowe himself, who built Emily Grace, had his son, Elliot handle the racing. The 30' lobster boat was his own design, powered by a Chevy Dura-Max truck engine. Lowe races in Diesel Class G.
Troy Alley of Jonesport said after running sea trials on June 29 that progress on Double Taker was “Coming along—she’s right where we wanted her to be.” Alley designed and built this one himself. The boat cruised effortlessly at 47 mph and was extremely stable at sea trials on Moosabec Reach, July 1, while engine tech, Kraig Church of Moosabec Marine stood by as Alley put the first 10 hours on the twin engines. Powered by two 250 HP Yamahas, Double Taker burned only 4.6 gallons of gas in two hours. At Moosabec, Double Taker won its first Class Race, Work Boats, Class D. Last race of the day, Galen Alley’s Foolish Pleasure got past them. “We did 53.5,” said Troy Alley. “Not bad for a 500 HP.” He threatened to add a third Yamaha 250 HP outboard for Stonington…maybe Searsport…
Ancient History: When the Pelletiers in Millinocket needed a magneto for a pull truck competition, years back, Arvin Young gave the nod to lend them one the from the Camel II. A magneto is the thing to have, in the quest for speed and power. An MSD (multiple spark distribution) ignition with a 7A-L Box are toys we can’t all have. Pull trucks and fast lobster boats use magnetos, ignitions which generate their own power, to the point where the battery cable could be disconnected, and the boat would still fly. A magneto makes direct contact to the rotor button. With advanced wizardry, you can run two magnetos for the purpose of more fire. (ie: an Arias hemi motor w/Chevy components) Simple set ups have an On/Off switch. After that,“‘you’re running an airplane with a wet ass,” according to the racer of a workboat which just unloads his barrels to hit local races. He admits, though, those CV-12 fueled boats produce a thrill.
When Ellery Alley’s Underdog lost her fire, Alley reported, “I’m a little antsy. Some guy pulled into (Main St. Auto) to get air in his tires…he said, “You need to believe in the Lord.” Then he blessed Alley’s boat before Moosabec. While Ellery appreciated the divine intervention, afterwards he shot from the hip. “I’ve already had my baptism. Galen gave it to me,” referring to an historic start-line dispute at Searsport when Ellery was thrown overboard while at the helm of Underdog.
Underdog hosts a 605 cubic inch Pro-Dat block, a Littlefield blower w/ magneto, and 1,700 horse. The Libby 29' is 10.5 across her stern, and has a deep keel for her size. Ernest Libby, Jr. designed the hull. Libby had also laid up a one-off mold from Lorna R. from which Galen Alley built Foolish Pleasure.
The shoot-out on Moosabec Reach, between Foolish Pleasure and Underdog never got off the ground on July 2. “We had a fuel leak problem, going from the wharf to the float,” recounted Ellery Alley. “About a quarter of the way down the course, the fuel lines sprung a leak. Alcohol all over the headers.” Alley’s son Bronson admitted, “We were bumming.” The parts were boxed up and overnighted back to California. Last year, the Underdog team had in its possession the the Young Bros. Camel II engine that reportedly blew up on the dyno at P.D. Watts in western MA.
Some history: The Camel II designed by Ernest Libby, Jr. was powered by an engine w/experimental heads, supplied free of charge, through the Chevrolet Co. research and development team in Michigan (1985). The Young Brothers’ team and their mechanic made emergency repairs, improvised with scraps of a rubber hose, and some cheap rubber clamps from NAPA. Stewart’s Voop of Boothbay was her top rival at that time. Thinking outside the box keeps things going.