The Whaler’s Race, hosted by New Bedford Yacht Club in South Dartmouth, MA, is scheduled to begin on Saturday June 4, 2022 and will add another event to a busy early summer distance race calendar in New England. Tucked between the Figawi Regatta and the Newport Bermuda Race, the New Bedford Yacht Club’s Whaler’s Race is an open distance race event with courses set in the waters of Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and the open ocean waters surrounding Block Island.

The race is steeped in tradition and has been challenging racers since the early 1930s, with the only gap occurring during the years surrounding the Second World War. Racing starts and finishes outside the breakwater of Padanaram Harbor and traverses the bay towards Noman’s Island then heads west to sail around Block Island before returning to Buzzards Bay and the finish. Racers have the choice of short or long courses of either 73 or 105 nautical miles to suit the conditions or crew experience level.

Depending upon weather and sea state, the race often continues well into evening and early morning hours giving crews a first taste of nighttime seamanship skills. As such, many entries will use the Whaler’s Race as a tune up for longer offshore events later in the sailing season. Following current trends in yacht racing, a Double Handed Class is offered with both Spinnaker and Cruising Class options available. If you’re looking to get experience for your youth or college keelboat program, the Whaler’s Race has a unique 25 and Under Class for fully crewed vessels in the Spinnaker Class, allowing only one “over age 25” watch captain on the boat. Racing is scored using PHRF Handicap ratings for both Racing and non-spinnaker Cruising Classes.

While in more recent years, the Whaler’s Race has been held in the early fall, the event has moved to an early June date, fueling excitement for the start of the season and providing extra hours of sunlight for participants. Pre-and post-race mooring accommodations are complimentary with each entry, giving visiting crews the chance to relax and enjoy the New Bedford Yacht Club and its scenic surroundings. For more information, go to or email ■

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