Atlantic Challenge


Every two years, a dozen nations convene for a friendly competition and cross cultural gathering were crews showcase their seamanship skills in a series of rowing, sailing, docking, knot tying and navigation events, and build friendly ties with the international crews.

Beyond on-the-water skills, the Contest will further global understanding and build friendly ties internationally. is one small way we can help move quarreling humanity toward a path of cooperation and peace. We believe getting young people together in boats, learning difficult manual skills, competing for shared success and living and eating together for 12 days has the power to transcend cultural, political and linguistic barriers. Indeed, this is the basis for the development of trust, connection and friendship.

Contestants are young adults: all crew members must be over 15; at least half will be under 22. 

The Contest events take place in the Bantry Bay gigs, which are copies of 18th-century French Navy Captain's gigs. These vessels are 38ft long and are powered by three sails and ten oars. Each nation has their own vessel for the contest.

Lance Lee, of Rockland, Maine, co-founded the Atlantic Challenge International Contest of Seamanship with Bernard & Michelle Cadoret, of France in 1984 as a way to bring young adults of different cultures together while also preserving traditional seamanship. The first two gigs Liberté and Egalité were built at the Rockport Apprenticeshop, in Rockport, Maine and the first Contest was held in New York City in July 1986.

More than 80 gigs have been built by 16 nations for participation in Atlantic Challenge. Typically 12 nations gather for the biennial Contest of Seamanship.

There has been a Contest every two years from 1986-2018. Atlantic Challenge USA is hosting the 2024 Contest.

Hosted by Atlantic Challenge USA in Belfast, Maine, USA



Phone: (207) 610-9554

Mailing Address:
Atlantic Challenge USA
PO Box 481 
Belfast, Maine 04915

From the Community



Sakonnet 23 for sale

Well maintained (Ballantine Boat Shop) early 2000s Joel White design sailboat. New sails.