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Wooden Boat features Champlain Longboats program

Wooden Boat Magazine features Champlain Longboats program

Wooden Boat Magazine's September/October 2010 issue features the Champlain Longboats rowing program offered at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

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Otter Creek Challenge 2010
Otter Creek Challenge November 2010. Photo by Buzz Kuhns.

Regional Students Race on Otter Creek

On Saturday November 6, seventy students from Addison and Chittenden Counties rowed in the second annual Otter Creek Challenge, a two and a half mile rowing race sponsored by Lake Champlain Maritime Museumís Champlain Longboats Program. Eleven crews rowed in two heats, starting at the Vergennes Basin, rowing one and a half miles downstream, turning around a race marker and pulling hard upstream against a rain-swollen current, finishing with a dramatic 180 degree turn in front of the raging Vergennes Falls.

Participating schools included Middlebury High School, Vergennes Middle and High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, Mt. Abraham Union High School, South Burlington High School and Burlington High School. Vergennes Middle and High School finished first overall and first in the experienced six-oar division with a time of 24:26. South Burlington High School finished first in the novice six-oar division with a time of 26:29 and Middlebury High School finished first in the novice four-oar division with a time of 29:25.

Students race in November's Otter Creek Challenge
Students race in November's Otter Creek Challenge.
Photo by Buzz Kuhns.

The event challenged all who participated. The temperature outdoors was in the mid-30s at race time and all the crews had to battle a very stiff current on the upstream leg of the race. To complicate matters there were two 180-degree turns in the race, which is a difficult maneuver in a 32í rowing boat. Every crew exhibited stellar seamanship and rowed with heart. All the rowers should be commended for a great effort!

The sleek, colorful boats used in this race are all student-built boats constructed in the Champlain Longboats program at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. A new team of students will begin work on the next Champlain Longboat in January 2011.


Community High School students launch their newly constructed dories at LCMM
Community High School students
launch their newly constructed dories at LCMM
LCMM Champlain Longboats Program teams up with the Community High School of Vermont and the Lake Champlain Sailing Center

Students from the Community High School of Vermont spent four weeks this fall with Champlain Longboats staff building two gorgeous Chesapeake Light Craft Northeaster Dories. The boats, named Morning Star and Windstorm by the students, were ceremoniously launched on October 14th, 2010. They have been donated to the Lake Champlain Sailing Center, which provides programs on the Burlington waterfront.

The student boat builders involved in this collaborative project put their hearts and souls into the job and deserve recognition and credit for a job extremely well done.

Vergennes Middle School girls row on Lake Champlain
Vergennes Middle School students
rowing on Lake Champlain.

Girls Only! Champlain Longboats Initiates Summer Rowing adventure with Vergennes Middle School Girls

This summer, six Vergennes Middle School Girls teamed up with Vermont Teacher of the Year Jen Lawson and LCMM trip leader Jessica Frank on a four-day outdoor rowing adventure on Lake Champlain. They started below the site of the Crown Point Bridge, camped at DAR State Park, Barn Rock Harbor, Kingsland Bay State Park and finished this challenging adventure at LCMM’s North Harbor.  We congratulate all six participants for their hard work and perseverance. But don't just take our word for it...

Keyanah Smith,  Grade 9, Vergennes Resident:
It really wasn’t that bad, it was kind of fun, but the food has gotta go. I never would think I could row that much or go to the bathroom outside.

Brook Kilburn, Grade 9, Vergennes Resident
Um, it was disgusting to drink lake water with the tablets in it. Jumping off the side boat was fun. We all didn’t like each other in the beginning but by the end we had bonded. And we even saw a shooting star.

Vergennes Middle School girls practice their boating skills with LCMM staff
Vergennes Middle School girls practice
their boating skills with LCMM staff

Emily Weber, Grade 8, Ferrisburgh, VT:
I really enjoyed the trip. It was really fun and I got to know people that I didn’t know from my school. It also encouraged me to try another sport and this year I am on the school’s rowing team. I didn’t think I could last for the whole trip because I thought my arms were too weak but they are okay and I still have my arms today.

Tea’  Kiefer, 8th Grade, Addison, VT:
I really enjoyed meeting all the other girls that went because even though they went to the same school as me I did not know them. I never really thought I could row that much and I learned how to row because I had never rowed a boat like the long boats before. It was a good first experience because I had never slept in a tent before much less go to the bathroom outside.

Harvest Moon Launch May 2010
Harvest Moon Launch May 2010
Photo by Buzz Kuhns

Champlain Longboats Launches Harvest Moon

On May 20th, LCMM launched 32’ pilot gig Harvest Moon, the twelfth built at LCMM. Students from the Diversified Occupations Program at the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury came to LCMM for five months over the winter, joined by D.O. staff Polly Wilson, Jim Doolan and Betsy Stein, LCMM staff Lianna Tennel, Kerry Batdorf and Nick Patch, and volunteers Jon Woodbury, Ed McGuire, Al Stiles and Geoff Kerr. The amazing young builders stuck with this project through thick and thin. Harvest Moon will delight rowers for years to come. Thanks to the Bay and Paul Foundation, Leo Cox Beach Philanthropic Foundation, Walter Cerf Community Fund, People’s United Community Foundation, Turrell Fund, and John Frymoyer, MD for their generous support.

Volunteer Spotlight

Chuck Soule
Chuck Soule

Chuck Soule- Champlain Longboats Rowing Coach

Chuck has been involved as a rowing coach in the Champlain Longboats program almost from the very beginning. In 2000 he spearheaded the building of the four-oared rowing gig American Shad at Bellows Free Academy in St Albans Vermont where he taught in an alternative education program.  He went on to start a successful rowing program at BFA. After working at BFA for 18 years Chuck moved on to a guidance position at Champlain Valley Union High School where he started another successful rowing program. After three years at CVU he took a guidance position at South Burlington High School where he works today. He has started yet another Champlain Longboats Rowing program at SBHS which today has over fifty student members that row in LCMM pilot gigs after school twice a week all Fall and Spring. Chuck is an incredible mentor for students and staff alike.  He sets the inclusive, positive tone that is so much a part of the Champlain Longboats mission. And this is just some of what Chuck does in his free time. He is also very active in Habitat for Humanity and many other community endeavors. We are very lucky to have him as a friend and part of the LCMM Community. Without the energy of people like him our programs would not be able to thrive.

Ed McGuire
Ed McGuire

Ed McGuire - Rowing Coach / Boatshop volunteer

Ed brings a vast array of skills to the Maritime Museum as a volunteer. He served in the US Coast Guard for twenty years and retired as a commander. Ed went on to start a new career in education. After teaching abroad for many years, he landed at Mt Abraham Union High School as a math teacher and guidance department director.  Ed retired from teaching recently and we have been extremely lucky to have his services as a volunteer. He has worked on the last three pilot gigs constructed at the LCMM boat shop working side by side with High School students from the Diversified Occupations program two days a week for five months. Ed has started a Mount Abraham High School rowing team and volunteers as a rowing coach for that team as well as Community Rowing and myriad of other rowing programs at LCMM. Ed also volunteers regularly on the Schooner Lois McClure. He is always ready to take on a new and challenging task, he is easy going, rolls with the punches and is continuously positive.  We are incredibly lucky to have him as part of our community