Portuguese American Journal

Community: The International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta – New Bedford, MA

From September 8-10, New Bedford will be hosting teams from Faial and Pico for the XII International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta.

Local teams will represent the United States in rowing and sailing competitions against teams from the islands of Pico and Faial, Azores. This exciting showdown will unfold during the International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta, hosted by the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society (AMHS), which is set to make its grand return to New Bedford this weekend.

Over the course of three exciting days, both men’s and women’s crews from AHMS, Faial, and Pico will engage in rowing and sailing competitions in the picturesque waters of New Bedford’s Clark’s Cove.

Originating in 2004 in New Bedford, this regatta serves as a tribute to the shared, whaling history between the United States and the Azores.

Traditionally, the regatta occurs biennially, alternating between New Bedford and the Azores. The tradition was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a five-year hiatus. This extended break has imposed some additional financial strain, as it typically costs an average of $40,000 to $50,000 to organize de event. 2017 marks the last regatta held in New Bedford. In 2019 and 2022 the regattas were held in the Azores.

Only 63 authentic Azorean whaleboats exist worldwide, and AMHS is responsible for the maintenance of three of these historic vessels: Pico, Faial, and Bela Vista.  

AMHS, established in 1997, operates with the mission of preserving and educating the public about the cherished Azorean whaling tradition. To fulfill this mission, AMHS must provide an annual average of $25,000 to $30,000 to maintain these remarkable boats. The historic vessels underwent thorough repairs last year, thanks to generous grants and personal contributions instrumental in supporting the event.

The public can contribute with donations by purchasing tickets to witness the event firsthand. Still, those eager to partake in the unique experience of rowing or sailing on the AMHS Azorean whaleboats may participate free of charge. All rowing and sailing races will be visible from the boat ramp area on West Rodney

For further details and updates on the event, please visit the society’s website at https://azoreanmaritimeheritagesociety.wildapricot.org/




The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.

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