Lyme Regis is to be the home of the 38ft Bantry Bay gig that represents Great Britain in the two-yearly Atlantic Challenge.
In addition to the Atlantic Challenge, Intégrité will also take part in a new venture, Atlantic Challenge England.
The sail and oar-powered boat was built by the late John Kerr, boat builder and founder of Atlantic Challenge GB, in his workshop in Llandysul, West Wales in 1992.
Real greyhounds of the sea, the Bantry Bay gigs are wooden replicas of late 18th century longboats, and are modelled on an existing original gig left behind in Bantry Bay, Ireland by the invading French fleet of 1796 – if, like me, you don’t remember the story of the French attempt to invade Ireland in that era, there’s a page of information at the Wikipedia.
Some 55 of the boats have been built, often by communities.
Taking care of Intégrité and racing her is to be sister project of the town’s Gig Club, an will have its own committee who will undertake fundraising and oversee the storage, maintenance and management of the gig in partnership with Lyme Regis Development Trust. I understand local boat builder Gail McGarva is very much involved, and that the project is also supported by the Lyme Regis harbour master.