Pembrokeshire's Atlantic Challenge Gig

MITEC: Pembrokeshire's Atlantic Challenge Gig

This is a replica of an 18th Century admirals barge (otherwise known as longboat or gig) that would have been used by fleets at harbour for transport between ship and shore. The original vessel is in Dublins Maritime Museum and was captured from a French man-o-war after their invasion fleet was damaged off the west coast of Ireland in 1796. These gigs have a crew of thirteen, who either row the boat upwind or if the wind is favourable hoist sails on each of the three masts. The teamwork required, either to row in unison or to lower and raise the two largest sails that are dipping lugsails whenever the boat tacks means that they are ideal as sail training vessels. The first two replicas Libert and Egalit were built at the traditional wooden boat apprentice shop at Rockport, Maine, USA. Egalit was presented to France in 1986 and used in a contest of seamanship that has become known as the Atlantic Challenge. Nowadays ten nations, including the UK, compete in what has become a biennial event. The United Kingdom entrant Integrit was constructed by John Kerr at Llandysul following a period that he spent in America studying on a Churchill scholarship. John was instrumental in bringing the Atlantic Challenge concept to Britain and initiated the construction of this boat that is being built at Pembrokeshire Colleges MITEC Centre in Milford Haven for a Pembrokeshire branch of the UK Atlantic Challenge Association. In his memory this vessel will be named Cwch John Kerr when she is launched.

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MITEC, Jul 9, 2002
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