Every other year Atlantic Challenge International sponsors a friendly contest of seamanship in Bantry Bay gigs, held in a different host country. We seek to build trust among nations and form a community of youth and adults from many countries, while encouraging the practice of traditional maritime skills.
Lance Lee(USA) and Bernard Cadoret(France) initiated Atlantic Challenge in 1986, when gigs from these two countries competed under the statue of liberty. Since, we have grown to over 12 nations, and over 55 Bantry Bay gigs have been built worldwide.
The Bantry Bay gigs are elegant wooden replicas of late 18th century longboats, and are modelled after an existing original gig left behind in Bantry Bay Ireland by the invading French fleet of 1796. These boats are well suited to their purpose, because of their beauty, exhilarating performance, and complexity of operation. Many have been built as community projects with youth and adults working side by side.
During the contests teams are housed and fed together in a local school or campground. Besides their daily efforts on the water, team members from different countries have ample time to spend together, and many form lifetime friendships with their international peers.