Arvin Young liked to go fast.
Together with his twin brother, Arvid, and older brother Colby, he established a reputation at Young Brothers Co. for building tough, fast lobster boats, a reputation for racing them, and for winning.
Arvin Young died Wednesday at his home in Corea at age 68.
He was born in 1940 in Corea and graduated in 1958 from Sumner Memorial High School. After a stint in the U.S. Coast Guard where he attained the rank of boatswain’ s mate first class, he began lobster fishing out of his hometown. It was lobstering that led Arvin and his brothers to boat building.
Young once told a reporter that he and his brothers turned to building fiberglass boats as a means of getting out of the lobstering business during the winter.
That was in the 1970s, the early days of fiberglass lobster boats. The brothers turned to Ernest Libby Jr. of Beals Island to design the boats they would build.
“I had built a boat a few years before that had won some races and they were interested in it,” Libby said Thursday. “They wanted me to work with them on some boats.” Libby said he enjoyed working with the Young brothers, whose family came from the Beals area and whom he had known since they’ d been boys.
“He was a fine fellow,” Libby said of Arvin Young. “He was always in a good mood. We had a lot of good times talking.”
Libby designed seven hulls for the Youngs and that partnership helped forge the transition from wooden boats to fiberglass that changed the face of boat building in Maine.
“That hull made for a fast, efficient boat,” said Mike Crowe, editor of Fishermen’ s Voice, published in nearby Gouldsboro. “They got in on the ground floor of glass building. They built fast, strong boats that are highly respected.”
Together the brothers reportedly built more than 550 hulls ranging from 30 to 45 feet, over the 31 years the yard was in business. The shop closed last year. It was the fast, strong boats that got the Youngs, particularly Arvin, interested in racing. He claimed that the fastest lobster boats were made between Jonesport and Stonington, and made a point of proving it, pushing those boats to more than 60 mph over the mile-long course of the Maine Lobster Boat Races, and claiming the title of the world’ s fastest lobster boat.
Clive Farrin, a former president of the Maine Lobster Boat Race Association, got to know the brothers when they were racing in the late 1980s and early ‘ 90s.
“The one thing you knew if you saw Arvin was that ‘ Vid’ was not far behind. They were always together,” Farrin said. “They had some pretty fast boats and they always did well.”
Arvin just liked to race.
“I’ d race elephants if we had them — it don’ t matter,” he told a reporter in 1987. “Have to be real cautious, of course, but we work as hard as we can to get our boats to run the fastest and we’ re usually competitive.”
The brothers were proud to be viewed by fishermen as one of the premier boat-building families in the state, a Bangor Daily News reporter once wrote. “But the Youngs take even greater pleasure in beating the tar out of their competitors at what amounts to the triple crown of lobster boat races at Jonesport, Stonington and Winter Harbor.”
They had early success with the family boats Ulrika and Elvira, but their Camel and Camel 2 outstripped all comers at the races and did so well that, for a while, no one would race them.
“Get the flag, put the throttle down and hope she holds together — that’ s about it,” he said of his racing strategy. “Sometimes you’ re risking your life and a $50,000 boat for a $75 trophy — but I never did race for the money, that’ s for sure.”
A graveside ceremony with military honors is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Corea Cemetery. Gifts in his memory may be sent to Hancock County Home Care and Hospice, 93 Cottage St., Ellsworth 04605.