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Whaleboat Basics

In the spirit of teaching people what we know about the fine sport of Whaleboat Racing, this page is an extension of that. People visiting our page would want to know more, and that interested people could become members. Here are examples of what people could learn.

The Monomoy Whaleboat

Whaleboats were small vessels originally designed for hunting whales. Our boats, called “Monomoys,” are based on a Coast Guard design used in life-saving for most of the 20th century. They are 26' long and weigh 2,000 pounds. They carry a team of 10, including a coxswain who steers with a 16' oar, a bowhook, and 8 rowers who provide the power using 12' oars. The boat has 4 stationary benches that hold 2 rowers each.

What is Whaleboat Racing?

Whaleboat racing as a team sport has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area waterfront life since the early 1800s reaching a zenith of popularity in 1873. Whaleboat racing competition took its current form in the Bay Area in 1965 under the sponsorship of maritime companies, using U.S. Coast Guard “Monomoy Surf Boats” built in the 1930s and 40s. By 1982, the Bay Area Whaleboat Rowing Association (BAWRA) was formed to provide standards for safety and competition. Membership was now also made up of private teams. In the early 80s, new whaleboats were being built for the specific purpose of racing.

Our Boat

SRC has access to the whaleboat Espiritu de Jonas, aka “Joey”. Joey was named after the brother of one of our founding members, a man whose athleticism and enduring courage continue to inspire us.

Parts of the Boat

Port? Starboard? Boat positions and their names.

What I wear on a row?

Bring drinking water and wear:

 • Clothes that will not rub such as biker shorts/ seamless exercise wear (no jeans!)

 • Rubber-soled athletic shoe

 • Fingerless glove

 • Sunscreen, hats and/or sunglasse

 • Layer, layer, layer. The weather in the Bay Area is unpredictable so it’s best to layer your clothes!