The biennial contest of seamanship that is the Atlantic Challenge World Championship returns to Bantry for the first time since 1996, from July 21st to 29th.
It’s a spectacular event, in which replicas of the famous Bantry Bay Longboat, the French naval vessel washed ashore during the failed French invasion of Ireland in 1796, are raced under sail and oar.
Sixteen international crews, encompassing over 300 participants, will take part in the competition, with the crews of the gigs going head to head in 10 events, on and off the water.
The Irish crew, Atlantic Challenge Ireland, is based in Bantry and has been a competitor since 1988, having won the event four times since 1990. All the countries have been ‘adopted’ by local sports clubs and will march with them in a parade of nations through the town on Saturday July 21st, and support them during the championships.
There will be a festive flavour to Bantry for the occasion, with a fringe festival running throughout, and local businesses dressing their windows in a show of support for the various nations participating.
Visit www.bantry2012.com for information.