Sailors’ Series speaker to explore rich heritage of Azorean Whaleboat

Bruce Halabisky – October 17, 2019 at New Bedford Whaling Museum

NEW BEDFORD, Mass – Boatbuilder, author, seafarer Bruce Halabisky will explore the rich heritage of the Azorean whaleboat during a Sailors’ Series talk at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on October 17. Halabisky’s talk, “Azorean Whaleboat Design and Regatta,” will range from design through restoration, to the vessel’s emergence as a modern international racing class. The Sailors’ Series lectures present a wide variety of experiences and adventures by individuals with lifelong commitments to sailing, boats, and the sea. A reception begins at 6:00 pm, and the presentation starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased for $10 for Whaling Museum members and $15 for non-members at or by calling 508-997-0046. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. The Whaling Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

In the remote North Atlantic, the whaleboats of the Azores evolved over a hundred years to become some of the most beautiful and efficient working vessels in the world. With a shocking amount of sail area and a needle-like bow, they are the product of intense competition and a demanding environment, realized through the skill of a few Portuguese boatbuilders.

As an apprentice boatbuilder in Maine, Halabisky helped to restore the Azorean whaleboat Señora Santana in the early 1990s. Later, he worked under master builder João Tavares on the construction of the first Azorean whaleboat to be built in 50 years, Bela Vista, which was launched in Horta Harbor on the island of Faial in 1997 and later donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum. He has been a frequent contributor to Wooden Boat Magazine and in 1999 he co-authored the book Twice Round the Loggerhead – the Culture of Whaling in the Azores with Lance R. Lee. In 2018 Halabisky was awarded the Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America in recognition of his eleven-year voyage around the world with his family in a traditional 34 foot sailboat. He currently lives on Orcas Island in Washington State with his wife, Tiffany Loney, and their two daughters.

There are only 63 authentic Azorean whaleboats in the world, and three of them are located in New Bedford under the maintenance of the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society, which presents the International Whaleboat Regatta every two years. 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.

The Sailors’ Series is supported by Ruth and Hope Atkinson, and supported in part by The Samuel D. Rusitzky Lecture Fund. Additional support comes from Babbitt Steam Specialty, Burr Brothers Boats, and Luzo Auto Center.

Gayle Hargreaves
Marketing Manager
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-997-0046 Ext. 139


About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of human interaction with whales through time, and the history and culture of the South Coast region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Museum hours: January through March, Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; April through December, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Admission is: Free for Museum members and children aged three and under; adults $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information, visit


For High Resolution Images Contact:
Gayle Hargreaves
508-997-0046 Ext. 139

Photos courtesy Bruce Halabisky.

Azorean whaleboats in full sail

azorean whaleboats lined up on shore