The Future of The Great Fogo Island Punt Race

In 2017, we celebrated ten wonderful years of the Great Fogo Island Punt Race to There and Back. We are thankful to the fantastic team of people who made this race happen every single year: Colleen Higgins, Pete Decker, Tony Cobb, Aidan Penton, Marshall Oake, Janice Thomson, Paddy Barry, the on-water and on-land support teams, and all the boat builders who crafted the mighty punts.

In fact, the yearly punt race has been so effective in animating our energy around the punts that we are now busy creating a Fogo Island Punt Centre. Based around a traditional fishing premises in Joe Batt’s Arm, the Centre will allow us to move beyond a one-day race and foster a daily and more immediate relationship with the punts.

The Punt Centre remains under construction, but once the premises are commissioned in the spring of 2019, we will be rolling out broad and diverse programming that will be inclusive of punt races as well as other interactions with these singular wooden boats. In addition, the Punt Centre will carry forward the history of Fogo Island’s inshore fishery, allowing visitors and locals alike to interact with the methods and tools of our cod fishing heritage.

In sum, we are taking a breather in 2018 so that we can come back in 2019 with a deeper set of initiatives around the punts. Thanks to all who organized and rowed in the Great Fogo Island Punt Race to There and Back. The Punt Centre will honour all those who got us this far; we look forward to taking their good work and building it into something new.

We will share more updates as they become available; we are thankful to all for their continued support and enthusiasm for the punts.

Our 10th Anniversary Race was a year to remember

Hundreds of community members and Fogo Island visitors came to cheer on the rowers at the 10th Anniversary of our Great Fogo Island Punt Race.

It was a gorgeous day, though a stiff wind in the morning threatened to significantly delay the start time. It died down just enough to allow the rowers out by 11:00am, and they worked hard to complete the race!

We were delighted to have the participants of the Canada C3 Expedition join us for the day, and even enter a rower of their own — Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden, who rowed with longtime Punt Race champion Donna Connors.

Members of popular band Middle Tickle played on the wharf, and Nicole’s Cafe served their delicious food and Growler’s Ice Cream. Thank you to all who made the day as wonderful as it was, especially our tireless volunteers!

For the race results, click here.

Our 10th Anniversary


This year we’re celebrating 10 fantastic years of The Great Fogo Island Punt Race, the 50th anniversary of the Fogo Island Cooperative, and the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We hope you’ll join the festivities and race with us this year!

There have been many highlights of our 10-year history. At first, everyone wondered if it could be done – a 10-mile race from Fogo Island to Change Islands and back, on the open ocean, in a traditional wooden punt. When our first rowers succeeded, the next year it was a question of how fast it could be done, and as the years went on our number of competing rowers grew. From 2007-2009 we got involved with our local school, Fogo Island Central Academy, with the Shorefast Foundation sponsoring a punt building course for youth with master boat builders Melvin Combden and Aidan Penton. In 2010, we received the Manning Award for Excellence in the Public Presentation of Historic Places in recognition of our work.

But our greatest accomplishment by far has been the creation of many new punts resulting from our race, built or commissioned by competing rowers, which has helped to preserve our heritage. By creating a fun community event using the punt, an integral piece of our culture and history, we have been able to see the value of old ways and bring them into contemporary times. This is important as we consider our future on Fogo Island, and our future as a country.


In celebration of Canada 150, this year we’ve changed our race colours to red and white, and we’re encouraging rowers to wear red and white on race day. This July 15th will be a celebration of Canada, of the punt, and of 10 years of the Great Fogo Island Punt Race. Whether as a competitor or a visitor, we hope you’ll join us for the party.

Race registration is due on June 15th. Visit our Registration Page for more information.