NEW BEDFORD —The Azorean Maritime Heritage Society announced its 7th International Whaleboat Regatta is slated for September 4-8, and will include a history-making contest never before attempted in American waters. For the first time, Azorean whaleboats will race American whaleboats. The contest is expected to reveal the performance capabilities of the two designs as they evolved over 200 years on both sides of the Atlantic.
First held in 2004, the Regatta alternates each year between New Bedford and the Azores. This year’s event is held in partnership with the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.
The Regatta attracts American and international tourists and wooden-boat enthusiasts as well as civic leaders and dignitaries from the United States, the Azores, and mainland Portugal. Two teams from the Azores will travel to the Whaling City this year to compete against local American teams in both sailing and rowing competitions.
On Friday, there will be both men’s and women’s rowing races followed by men’s and women’s sailing races on Saturday. Each competition is actually made up of three races, with the overall winner being the team that has the most wins.
Adding a new level of excitement in 2013 is the inclusion of three American Beetle wooden whaleboats. These three boats were built to be on board the Charles W Morgan during its ceremonial 38th Voyage in 2014. One of the boats was built for the the New Bedford Whaling Museum by the Beetle Cat Boat Shop of Wareham, MA. The other two boats were built by the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway of Vineyard Haven, MA and Rocking the Boat of New York City. Mystic Seaport will be sending a crew to race.
The three Beetle whaleboats will compete against the three Azorean whaleboats in rowing and sailing events on Sunday, September 8.
All races will be held in Clark’s Cove, located in south end of New Bedford on the west side of the peninsula. The best viewing areas are near the boat-ramp on West Rodney French Boulevard.
For schedule updates and additional information, visit www.azoreanmaritime.org.
For information on the free public lectures being offered as part of regatta week, visit www.whalingmuseum.org.