AMITIE and VOLUNTE an American and French love story

It all began in 1988. That year, during the big and very successful maritime festival “Douarnenez 88”, the Americans of Rockport gave “the youth of France” a beautiful new gig well-named AMITIE (which means friendship in French).

The initiators of this friendly action were Lance Lee, director the Apprenticeshop, and Bernard Cadoret, director of the Chasse Maree, the festival’s organizer. Both had founded the Atlantic Challenge in 1984.

The new boat was immediately crewed by a group from Treizour, the local association involved in the preservation of maritime heritage which created the Boat Museum of Douarnenez. Since that time there has been no rest for AMITIE. She can be seen every week, all year long, on the Douarnenez Bay with her crew: adults and youths, boys and girls all mixed together. They took part in the successive Atlantic Challenges of Roskilde, Brest, Penetang, and Bantry. In 1997 the Breton crew decided to give AMITIE a sister ship. There was no hesitation; the boat was built by Les Ateliers de L’Enfer, a local formation center for boat carpenters. She was named VOLONTE (will or determination, in French), and launched in 1998. She is the first boat in the series Defi Jeunes Marins, which was organized by Bernard Cadoret and which succeeded in putting on the French water 30 Bantry gigs, including two from abroad, one from Switzerland and one from Belgium.

The Douarnenez crew, with Paul Le Joncour at its head from the start, are very proud of what they have accomplished and of what they continue to do. They have been an example for a lot of the young in Brittany, they inspired Bernard Cadoret to set up the Defi Jeunes Marins for France, they gave instruction, in Douarnenez, to all the crews of the operation, some 140 persons. They continue to be active in the promotion of the “sails and oars boats” in a new federation in France.

The American present of the gig AMITIE to the French has been a very good affair! The boat really reached her aim: giving the young opportunity for discovering the pleasure of navigation on this kind of historical boat, letting them meet on national and international level in friendly gatherings and competitions. The Douarnenez crew never forgets this generous gift when sailing on AMITIE.

VOLONTE will compete in Genova. On her return she will again meet with AMITIE, taking part in the latest maritime festival, “Douarnenez 2006”, with a dozen French Bantry gigs.