The 31st annual Harpswell Lobster Boat Races hold special meaning this year as residents honor Mason Warren, a local lobsterman who died in a car crash at age 21 last October, by featuring his buoy colors on apparel that will be sold for charity on July 30.

“Mason was like any young fisherman. He played hard but worked harder,” said Mary Coombs, a race volunteer.

This year’s boat race logo, designed by Ashley Lentz. Courtesy of Mary Coombs

Coombs said Warren was a devoted friend, brother, son and lobsterman who volunteered with his family at the races over the years. She said the 2023 T-shirt design is “an amazing tribute for him, his family and all his friends.”

Proceeds from T-shirt sales will be donated to the Harpswell Santa Fund, a charity created by lobstermen that assists local families in need during the holidays. Coombs said they raised $16,000 at the races last year and hope to do the same this year.

This year’s races are set against the backdrop of the ongoing search for another young lobsterman, Tylar Michaud, 18, of Steuben, has been missing at sea for seven days. Searchers found his lobster boat soon after he was reported missing, but it was empty.

The Maine Lobster Boat Races are hosted by 11 towns each summer; this year started in Boothbay Harbor on June 17 and will end in Portland on Aug. 20.

Harpswell has scheduled over 30 races for Sunday, broken down into heats, including non-working boats and Novi boats, to name a few.

Guests can view the races and purchase apparel at George J. Mitchell Field, 1410 Harpswell Neck Road, at 10 a.m. Sunday. The rainout date is scheduled for Aug. 6.

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