What is Atlantic Challenge?

How it all started

At sea , what to do when you don't know what to do was the thought behind the founding of Atlantic Challenge International .

In the early eighties, French and American interests in providing training in maritime skills for young people concluded that running a sail training vessel like Asgard could cost up to €3000 per day. The idea was to provide the same intensity of learning and experience but in a traditional craft which small local organizations could afford.

Bernard Cadoret of France and lance Lee of America settled on a French boat, left behind in Bantry in 1796, by the French invasion fleet as the ideal craft. This design was chosen because of its versatility under both oars and sail. This boat, now in the Irish National Museum at Collins barracks, Dublin was to be the model for future Atlantic Challenge boats and are usually called Bantry Bay Gigs.
The first boats were built in the USA and France in 1985. The next step was international competition and the actual Challenge came into being.

In 1986 only the US and France had teams for the inaugural Atlantic Challenge that took place in New York. In 1988 Ireland and Denmark entered the competition and since then more countries have joined every year building Bantry Bay longboats all over the world.
The Gigs

The boats are traditionally built of timber to a very specific plan. Where possible modern synthetic materials are not used. They carry 3 masts and 10 oars and are all within a very exact tolerance of measurement. The international committee have drawn up a well defined set of rules to ensure that all gigs taking part in Atlantic Challenge Contests are built to the plans that were taken from the original gig to make the truest replica possible.

The Contest

The biennial Atlantic challenge is a contest of seamanship that tests crews abilities to sail and row these versatile longboats in different events and different conditions.  These magnificent boats come together with their crews every 2 years for the International Contest of Seamanship.  
Previous host countries

1986 New York, New York (USA)
1988 Douarnenez (France)
1990 Roskilde (Denmark)
1992 Brest (France)
1994 Penetanguishene, Ontario (Canada)
1996 Bantry, County Cork (Ireland)
1998 Roskilde (Denmark)
2000 Douarnenez (France)
2002 Rockland, Maine (USA Maine)
2004 Fishguard, Wales (GB)
2006 Genoa (Italy)
2008 Jakobstad (Finland)
2010 Midland, Ontario (Canada)
2012 Bantry, County Cork (Ireland)
2014 Golf De Morhiban (France)
2016 Roskilde (Denmark)

Next Competition

2018 Antrim (Northern Ireland)

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