The youth of 14 nations will participate in the Atlantic Challenge Contests of Seamanship in Midland, Ontario, July 20-27. Young people from Russia, the Basque Country, France and the United States are currently training on Penobscot Bay for the late July event in elegant 38-foot open boats, copies of French Navy longboats of the Napoleonic Wars.

Team USA comprises 20 youth. They hail from all over this country; they are of four races, and one is visiting from Vietnam. They spend 14 days on a remote island in Penobscot Bay, living and working together as a community and training as a team. The purposes of the contests are to form ties of understanding and friendship between nations — community-building through learning boat handling and seamanship skills, training as leaders, coxswains and captains through sailing, rowing, navigation and seamanship practices. The boats, Bantry Bay gigs, are 10-oared, three-masted schooners rigged as the traditional fishing boats of the North Sea and Bay of Biscay.

Also training on Penobscot Bay in Rockland is a second mixed international team comprising 21 young people from France, the Basque Country and the United States. This is the first time an international team will compete in the competition. The training regimen is much the same as the Team USA crew on the island: living together as a community during the training, rowing for strength and stamina, learning seamanship techniques, rigging and sailing the Bantry, and learning a vast array of knots.

The Atlantic Challenge Contests of Seamanship on Georgian Bay in Midland, Ontario, will involve teams of French, Indonesian, Belgian, Irish, Russian, British, Finnish, Italian, Dutch, Canadian, Danish, Basque and American youth. They are “ambassadors in seaboots.”

About the hosts

Atlantic Challenge International programs practice, share and encourage the rise of the skills of the sea including boat building, sailing, rowing and seamanship. Its activities bring youth together with the intent of fostering cultural and global understanding. For more information visit atlanticchallenge.org.

Station Maine provides boating opportunities free of charge to youth of all ages in the Midcoast. It offers youth and community members rowing and sailing experiences in a growing fleet of boats including juniors, high school and adult rowing teams. Station Maine has taken those teams to Italy, France, Vinalhaven, Boston, Lake Champlain, Cornwall, and down 100 miles of the coast of Maine to row and sail and grow as the ambassadors who will inherit this world. For more information visit stationmaine.org.

The goals of the Tremolino! Project are to join the physical and metaphysical realms, wood and words, building two traditional watercraft while plumbing the life and literature of Joseph Conrad; to join East — an island in the Java Sea and West — another in the Gulf of Maine; to illustrate how projects, craftsmanship and the three adaptations of Hahnian experiential education work. For more information visit tremolinoproject.org.