NASCAR at sea

Lobster boats aren’t what they used to be.

By Charles P. Pierce
July 11, 2010

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

Dear Galen Alley: I congratulate you on your recent victory on the Maine lobster-boat racing circuit. You clocked in at a record 68.1 miles per hour in a race in Rockland, and that, I am told, is a record. I have to admit that I didn’t know lobster boats raced at all, much less that there was a circuit, and much, much less that they traveled at speeds that would get them hauled over on Route 9. According to one account of your victory, your boat, Foolish Pleasure, features a dragster-style engine on the deck. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but how is something carrying an engine borrowed from an Apollo-era Saturn V that goes as fast as the average beer truck on the turnpike in any way still a lobster boat? That’s like saying Jeff Gordon drives a sedan. Once I spent a day with some lobstermen, and all of them traveled on boats that putt-putted pleasantly along at a speed reasonable enough to, you know, catch lobsters. (Mine went so slowly that, when we almost lost the photographer overboard, he had time to toss me his camera.) It would seem to me that a lobster boat going that fast would serve only to make the lobsters duck. Do you need to go 68 miles per hour in order to catch lobsters these days? Have lobsters become unreasonably fast? Have there been strange new mutations of which I am unaware? What have we done to our oceans, anyway?

Charles P. Pierce /

  • July 11, 2010 cover
  • july 11 globe magazine cover
Read more from this issue.