There are only 63 authentic Azorean whaleboats in the world, and three of them — Pico, Faial, and Bela Vista — are located in the United States under the care and maintenance of the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society (AMHS).
AMHS members row and sail these three whaleboats each summer in New Bedford’s Clark's Cove, bringing to life the maritime traditions of days gone by. Part of our mission is to ensure the boats are maintained and used for cultural, historical, and recreational events, including parades and festivals. These colorful wooden boats promote awareness, connection, and conversation about the shared maritime heritage between the Azores and United States.
New Bedford’s three Azorean whaleboats take center stage every four years at the International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta, which AMHS organizes. The Ninth International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta took place in New Bedford in September 2017. In July 2019, the Tenth International Regatta took place in the Azores, Portugal.
AMHS’s two whaleboats, Faial and Pico, were constructed in New Bedford from 1999–2000 under the leadership of the late Dr. Mary T. Vermette and the support of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Construction began by Bruce Halabisky of The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine, and was completed by Sr. João Silveira Tavares. The boats were first launched in New Bedford on June 10, 2000.
We share a third boat, the Bela Vista, with the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Bela Vista was completed in 1997 in the Azores by master boatbuilder Joao Silveira Tavares of Pico. She was contracted for construction by Lance Lee of The Apprenticeshop, with apprentices Bruce Halabisky (who later began construction on Faial and Pico) and Adam Stone. Bela Vista was first launched in Horta, Faial, and was later transported to New Bedford and donated to the Whaling Museum for shared use with AMHS. She is the first Azorean whaleboat in the United States and was launched in New Bedford on September 7, 1997.
These boats were built with the support of individuals like you.
We rely on your continued generosity to keep them in working order. AMHS maintains these wooden boats
throughout the year and makes them available for the community to experience.
Please become a member or attend one of our fundraising events to help keep our maritime heritage alive!