Independence Day Whaleboat Race

 July 5, 2014

First Start 1:30 pm

(Skippers meeting at HDC dock on Fisherman's Pier at 1:00 pm)

IMPORTANT! ALL BOATSTEERERS MUST BE CERTIFIED BY MYSTIC SEAPORT.                   If you are a boatsteerer and would like to get certified, please contact Mary K Berkaw Edwards at  maryk.berkawedwards@mysticseaport.org.

There are two races.   The featured (“Pro”) race follows the course of the first recorded whaleboat race in New Bedford Harbor in 1857.   It is for well-conditioned rowers.   A second (“Amateur”) race is for less experienced crews.

1. Invitation: The races are open to all teams, including teams formed just for the Homecoming.

2. Format: Featured race: An individual time trial row of approximately 2½ miles.   Boats are started two minutes apart at the direction of the Starter.   Boats have running starts and are individually timed.

Amateur race: A “round the buoy” race for heats of up to five boats, approximately 1¼ miles in length.   Boats have standing starts.   There will not be a runoff race; best time wins.

3. Racecourse: The start and finish line is located east of the north end of State Pier.   Pro racers will proceed southerly, round Palmer’s Island and return; this is follows the course of the first recorded New Bedford whaleboat race.   Boats must pass east of the lighthouse at Palmer's Island and round the island to starboard.   Amateur racers proceed southerly, between a pair of buoys (a “gate”), around one of the buoys and return.   Captains are free to choose which of the two buoys to round, except when there is an overlap between boats as the first one reaches the buoys.   In that case, the leading boat may not cross the path of the following boat, and the two boats must split to round the buoys.   Click to see a course diagram.

4. Awards: The boat with the best time in the featured race wins a replica silver pitcher given to the whaleboat which won the 1857 race.  Best times in each race are recognized for male, female and coed crews.  Boatsteerers may be of either gender.  Coed crews must have at least three female rowers.

5. Penalties: In a collision where a boat's hull is struck by another boat's oars or hull, both boats are disqualified.   A boat that causes a collision which involves striking of oars will have 60 seconds added to its race time.   An overtaking boat will be considered at fault in such a collision.   A boat that strikes a turning mark with its oars or its hull will have 30 seconds added to its race time.

6. Entries: Each participant must complete a Registration Form and a Release of Liability form.  Entries should be mailed or attached to an email and must be received by June 27.  The team captain should pay the entry fee and identify team members.  Rowers may enter only one race; boatsteerers may enter both races.

7. Entry Fee: $50 per team.

8. Crew Transfers: At the Harbor Development Commission docks at Fisherman’s Pier.