On Tuesday, July 16 at 6:30 pm, Mick Delap, and Apprenticeshop founder Lance Lee will host a theatrically presented history of the Bantry Bay Gigs of International Atlantic Challenge fame.
Mick Delap is an English poet, writer, and historian in his retirement (after a career in journalism at the BBC). He is also an avid sailor. His family vacations on the West Coast of Ireland on Valencia Island and so he is especially knowledgeable about boating events there. He became intrigued with the “Bantry Bay Longboat” (this style boat is also referred to as a “gig”) which was rediscovered on a small island in Bantry Bay on West Coast of Ireland. It was restored and placed in a museum. An American named Lance Lee was also enthralled with the Bantry Bay Longboat, and made reproductions over in Rockland, ME. Through Lance’s efforts, there are now many countries where reproductions of the gig have been made and they get together with crews every summer for competitions, called the International Atlantic Challenge.
Once he started researching the Bantry Bay gig, Mick learned that in the late 18th century, the French navy came to Ireland to help Irish rebels defeat the English rulers there. A warship came to Bantry Bay and sent in the smaller gigs with soldiers to shore. There was a terrible winter storm and the gigs were lost and only one Frenchman survived.
Mick’s dramatic history begins with this episode, which is presented by four people including Mick, the Narrator, a French Sea Captain who was the only one to survive the storm, the daughter of the English owners of Bantry House and the Gardner at Bantry House. These parts will be read by local actors who have a great interest in the story and theater. The actors are Joanne, John and Alvion Kimball.
The second episode of Mick’s dramatic history is from the mid-19th century when an oceanographer was sent from London to chart Bantry Bay and stayed at Bantry House. The White’s daughter has grown up and still lives at the house. These episodes will be accompanied by appropriate music. A duo from Belfast Maine, Emma Swartz, and Baron Collins-Hill will be providing Irish music on authentic instruments.
Following Mick’s history, Lance Lee will describe the modern history of the gig after it was rediscovered in 1944. The story of the creation and growth of the Atlantic Challenge will be put in the context of his very strong belief in the importance of international camaraderie among sailors. Following his presentation, he will invite anyone interested in the audience to come around the model of the gig, and have a question and answer session.