The Azorean Maritime Heritage Society’s premier event is the International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta, held every four years in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The regatta pays homage to the rich whaling history shared between the United States and the Azores during a full week of cultural events and three days of racing authentic Azorean whaleboats.

There are only 63 authentic Azorean whaleboats in the world, the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society said in a press release. Three of them ‒ Pico, Faial, and Bela Vista ‒ are located in the United States in New Bedford under the maintenance of AMHS. Members row and sail these colorful 40-foot wooden boats each summer in New Bedford, bringing to life the maritime traditions of days gone by and promoting awareness, connection and conversation about the shared maritime heritage between the Azores and United States.

The International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta was first held in New Bedford in 2004. Since then, it has been held every other year, alternating between New Bedford and the Azores. During three days of racing, men’s and women’s crews from the U.S. and the Azorean islands of Faial and Pico compete in both rowing and sailing.

The regatta attracts U.S. and international tourists and wooden boat enthusiasts as well as civic leaders and dignitaries from the U.S., Azores, and mainland Portugal.

Wrapped around the on-the-water events is a week full of land-based activities, social events, lectures, cultural performances, and exhibitions.

Visiting team members stay with host families during this week, which adds to the overall cultural exchange.

Participants travel to this international event from both sides of the Atlantic, a release from the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society stated. “For many, it’s the first time they’ve experienced the other culture, while for others it’s a reunion of old friends and family.”

During the seventh International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta in 2013, AMHS held the first-ever Dabney Cup on the final day of racing. Six whaleboats ‒ three Azorean-style and three Yankee-style “beetle boats” ‒ competed against each other to determine which would perform best under row and sail. The Yankee-style boats are the original design used by the world-famous New Bedford whale ships, whereas the Azorean-design boats were modified by whalemen in the Azores to accommodate their shore-style method of whaling.

The Dabney Cup competition will be Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The races kick off on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the men’s and women’s rowing teams from the U.S. and the Azores competing in Clarks Cove.

Spectators are welcome. Suggested viewpoints are West Beach (along West Rodney French Boulevard) and the Cove Walk (atop hurricane barrier).

The sailing races are Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the same viewing spots suggested.

There are also a host of land-based festivities.

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the regatta week will kick off at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford) with a free public reception and Azorean whaleboat photography exhibit. This collection of photographs by National Geographic photographers Louis Mazzantenta and Gemina Garland-Lewis features never-before-seen images by Mazzantenta from a whale hunt in Pico in 1976. Garland-Lewis returned in 2012 after the end of the Azores’ whaling industry to capture images of the same whalers, their boats and coastal villages in present day.

On Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Whaling Museum, international boat builder Lance Lee will give a free public lecture on the resurgence of the Azorean whaleboat in the post-whaling era. Mr. Lee, who founded The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine and has worked for 50 years in the maritime world of experiential education, will speak about the construction and launch of the Bela Vista in America, which he oversaw on this date in 1997.

On Friday, Sept. 8, celebrate the regatta at a barbeque dinner at Irmandade do Divino Espirito Santo do Pico (2056 Acushnet Ave., New Bedford) at 6:00 p.m. Dinner will be followed by dancing with a DJ. This event is open to the public; tickets are $20 per person.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, Portuguese folkloric dancers in traditional costumes will take the stage at a pig roast at Club Madeirense SS Sacramento (50 Madeira Ave., New Bedford) at 6:00 p.m. Dinner will be followed by dancing with DJ Tiago. This event is open to the public; tickets are $25 per person.

On Sunday, Sept. 10, join AMHS, crews from the U.S. and the Azores, spectators and supporters at an awards ceremony and closing banquet at the Whaling Museum at 5:00 p.m. Pasta dinner will be served. This event is open to the public; tickets are $25 per person or $60 per person for all three evening ticketed events. Funds raised help support the International Regatta and AMHS.

For schedules, event details and ticket information, visit www.azoreanmaritime.org or www.whalingmuseum.org.