by Brenda Tredwell
On Tuesday before the race, the word was that UNDERDOG will be making a little more powershes got a 540 crate engine, its the same engine block, only its bored to 540 . Calvin Beals LITTLE GIRL is the first wooden lobster boat he has built in a very long time. Even if she wasnt good to go, those who hadnt seen her couldnt wait to get a look.
There was also speculation surrounding a new boat from Stockton Springs, Wes Shutes DAYDREAMER, which has a blower. New to the circuit, people wondered what she could do.
Shutes reaction is cool and un-phased when its mentioned that, at this minute, there is probably more total (lobster boat racing) horse power moored in Stockton Harbor than any other place. He nods once, his firm gaze unbroken with a focus that could cut glass. For Now, he said.
In 2005, members of The Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association voted at their annual meeting (held during the Fishermens Forum at the Samoset Resort) to allow blowers to be used on engines. A blower is a force-induced power booster fastened on top of the engine and driven with the belt from the crankshaft. Unlike the situation with naturally aspirated engines, fuel is pushed with compressed air (rather than sucked) into the combustion chamber, where its then pumped up with an extra shot of gas. Some of the super charged European sports cars (the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera 530hp, and their Murcielago LP 640s, and Jaguar XJR Supercharged /400hp) use compressed air fuel delivery, which is similar to what you get on an engine with a blower.
According to one seasoned race mechanic, While no sanctioned Lobster Boat Racing Committee would even dream of allowing alcohol blowers, in reality, gas burns hotter. Alcoholwith a cooler burnis actually considered safer. Ariens pull truck engines use alcohol blowers in competitions. Another source said The old Detroits, 471s and 671s, all had them [blowers]. They were used on diesels first, and theyve had them on foreign performance cars for years.
Like Lamborghini Holding Company, Wes Shute admits high horsepower isnt green and, its expensive, costing $130.00 for less than an hours running time and burns five gallons of gas in 12 minutes or less. But then Daydreamers not a boat youd casually go out and haul traps in, either.
I was disappointed the cops didnt show when I fired her off, joked Shute, assuring me he didnt mean it as we looked over the blower restraint belts. All aluminum bolts, he added, fiddling with the lucky lobster pasted near the windshield.
Wayne Canning has also done some of the work and explains the engine in understandable terms; The fly wheel, belts and hoses may hook up to a Chevy or a Ford block, but by the time youre done, its all custom fabricated, and the finished engine has very few Chevy parts, so its not exactly a lock stock and barrel after-market Chevy engine.
Wes won the Worlds Fastest (1984) in a Holland 32, which, according to Wes, we may see back. There were a few other good races, too. Judging by the prize hardware sitting on top of a white enamel cabinet that reaches the rafters of his shop, that might be an understatement.
We swore wed never do this again, says Shute, yanking off his cap and running his hands through his hair as he casts a glance at Canning, whos laughing so hard, he barely recovers before launching into a story of his own. He leans in close, telling me about re-building an engine one winter in his kitchen, right next to the wood stove. Things dont have to be complicated.
Cannings good sense shows in his ability to explain an elaborate engine in simple terms. He can actually appear serene during utter frigging chaos.
Parts all over the table... His lady didnt mind. It lends the DAYDREAMER operation some class, hearing that. Wes Shutes other half, Automatic Sue, is the traffic stopper in one of the big Wardwell trucks doing the regrading on Rte. 1.
Shute continues, If it wasnt for Wayne .
Wayne Canning delivered the whole package. He has all these little secretsengine stuff . . ., confides Shute, hauling on a cigar, shaking his head. There was Stu Phelps and Ken Jenkins helping out, adds Wayne, who didnt seem to want to take all that credit. And Ray. Dylan Connor workedon a Sundayto get those windows in. Shawn Alleythats Wendells sondid all the electrical. The lettering was done in Searsport at Midcoast Sign, and Bill Kirby did the engine beds while his wife, Joan fed us crabmeat rolls, laughs Canning. An Everlast bag swings from a beam in Shutes shop. Thats Wes pressure valve.
Making adjustments and repairs in the racing circuit is no cake walk, and its not a job for lightweights. When youre busted up, time doesnt wait for you to climb back into the ring. You spend nights under fluorescent shop lights that get turned off when the sun turns the sky red, then you make more coffee.
It was no slam-dunk for these guys to make it to the line at Jonesport. DAYDREAMER, built in 1989, is a South Shore 30Thats a Calvin Beal, done up by Peter Rackliffe. He was doing those while I was working at Hollands on the 38s, says Wayne. Aside from his work at Hollands, Canning has worked for the Otis, and Jimmy Bealquite a trifecta. Ive been pounding fiberglass for 20 years, Canning said.
At the beginning, the fiberglass was all de-lammed. The boat has been in the shop for three winters. The stringers were cut right outta there, it was completely gutted inside. They were right down to bare fiberglass, nothing inside to hold the shape of the hull. It might have been cheaper to scrap this one and start from scratch but Wayne took the time to put in light weight stringers, which brought the boat up out of the water five inches. She sails straight now, too, after the lightweight stringers went in.
Hes the best fiberglass man on the East Coast, says Shute, gesturing at Wayne.
Tracy Porter helped move things along, Roger Brown did the welding, then BANGthings got done. About a week before the Fourth , we were aiming for Searsport, but they got her in before that. We were running, we got to the trailer.
The timing and the carburetor were off, but they went anyway. Shute figured The boys downeast were looking for some raw meat.