Champlain Longboats: Notes from the Boatshop
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Boatshop Vocab

Plank: A longitudinal board that makes up the outer skin of the hull.
Sheer: The line that represents the upper, outer edge of the hull, or where the hull meets the deck. 
Strongback: Temporary support system for the keel of a boat when under construction.
Thanks to our Sponsors...
We truly couldn't do it without your support!
Chittenden Bank
French Foundation
Turrell Fund
February 15, 2008
John Carter predrills the holes for clench nails
After one month of hard work, sweat and a few tears the boat is almost planked. We are installing plank number ten out of ten planks per side. The crew is gelling as a team and has become an incredibly productive machine. It is amazing how fast they learn.

Students Stephanie Miller, Rosemary Gerome and Shawn Bedard, intern Ari Silverman and teacher Polly Wilson line out a plank for the new gig

Students are still rowing 1,000 meters per day on the rowing machines as we make our way around a virtual Lake Champlain.  They also make journal entries every day at the boat shop.

Stephanie Miller tapes the gain in preparation for the next plank.

We also have made impressive progress on the repair and maintenance of our fleet of eight rowing gigs. A group of up to ten additional students from the Diversified Occupations program at the Hannaford Career center in Middlebury, Vermont come once a week as well as students from the Champlain Valley Academy to work on the boats. Jon Woodbury one of our outstanding volunteers has been heading up any boat carpentry projects that need doing on the fleet.
It is simply amazing some days to see and feel so much positive productive energy coming from the boat shop. It might look chaotic with fifteen to twenty people working in the shop on the days when all groups are there, but the energy is productive, and well it's just plain good.

Students and staff roll the 32-foot pilot gig Spirit of Otter Creek

Here are some excerpts from student's daily journals that tell the boat story from the student's perspective:
Me and my boat family are building a rowing gig. It takes five months to build it. It is a hard job, but we are learning.  I am learning the vocabulary and the tools.  I feel really good.
---Samantha MacDougal

Today Justin and I are fitting planks.  We are also making scarf and gains.  We have done this many times. ---Sheila Larrow

Students and staff painting Spirit of Otter Creek in the maintenance shop

In the boat shop I restore old boats by sanding them or replacing planks by making new planks.  I paint old boats to give them character.  ---Jon Carter
I really like to row but I hate the rowing machines.  It is so hard.  We have to row around the lake in meters.  I really like writing in my journal. ---Rosie Jerome
I think I can draw out planks in my sleep.  ---Justin Viau
There are many steps to building a boat, but when we are done we will have a 4 oared rowing gig. ---Shawn Beard
We are in the process of gathering possible names for the new boat. In April we will vote on the selection and choose one. If you have any great ides for names please submit them to Nick at   . The criteria is that you be able to make a meaningful connection of the name to the Lake Champlain region.
Come on down and check us out. It is a great sight to see.
The boat name collection station