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Small Boat Festival

July 21-22, 2012

The Small Boat Festival is a summer favorite at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. With boat restoration experts, on-water opportunities, an exhibit unveiling and live music by Rick Norcross, it’s fun for all ages.

Snake Mountain Boatworks

Snake Mountain Boatworks joins us this year! “We will be demonstrating restoration techniques, using our extensive video collection, together with hands-on exhibits,” said Michael Claudon, founder of Snake Mountain Boatworks, “and we hope people will come with photos, questions and lots of interest.” Come and see how they restored three Vermont boats from “as-found” condition to finished, fully-restored, magnificent antiques, ready for romping in the water. These boats span the transition from canvas to wood plank and then wood plank to fiberglass. They include:

Champlain II Aground
Steamboat Champlain II aground.

Massive Rudder What’s ten feet tall, eight feet wide, 144 years old, and just traveled across Lake Champlain to the Maritime Museum? It’s the rudder from steamboat Champlain II, which for many years was installed at the Rudder Club in Essex, NY. The massive wood and iron rudder, recently donated to the Maritime Museum by Bob and Pat Burley, will be “unveiled” in its new home on Saturday afternoon at 1pm. “We are delighted that our visitors will be able to see this relic of the steamboat Champlain II,” commented Erick Tichonuk, Co-Director of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. “Our on-water tours bring people to view the shipwreck underwater, and now by standing next to the rudder they can experience the size and workmanship of these historic vessels.”

Rick Norcross Performs
Rick Norcross performs!

Rick Norcross, an acclaimed veteran of Vermont’s music scene with special ties to Lake Champlain, will be performing at 12:15 and 3:15 each day. Norcross will also be there in another capacity – with the newly restored 24-foot launch Merritt E. Carpenter, Jr. and Harry Atkinson, Lisa Marchetti, Don Dewees, and Ivor Hughes. This stalwart crew of friends has met weekly in Burlington since 1986, when retired LCT Ferry Captain Merritt Carpenter, Jr. and Harry Atkinson purchased the original steam engine and boiler from the 1893 steam launch Comet.  The restored engine was installed in a new hull and launched in 1994 as Merritt E. Carpenter, Jr. Some years later, however, the vintage steam engine was taken out of operation and donated to the Maritime Museum, and with true Yankee ingenuity, the boat was re-powered – with the electric engine from a Basin Harbor Club golf cart! Meet the crew, see the boat and hear the story at the Small Boat Festival. More about Rick Norcross:

Challenge Race Like a good workout? Bring your own canoe, kayak, or non-motorized boat to row or paddle in this three-mile Lake Champlain Challenge Race on Saturday morning. Registration begins at 9:30am, and the race begins at 11. Registration fee admits two to the Small Boat Festival. Find more information  at  or contact Nick Patch or call 802 475-2022 ext. 113.

Duct Tape Regatta

Duct Tape Regatta is open to younger boat lovers – and aspiring boat designers on Sunday. Using only cardboard and a roll of duct tape, kids and their families design, build and launch their own boat, big enough to ride in. Or, build your cardboard and duct tape boat at home and bring it to the museum. Spectators welcome!

Also Featuring Outboard Motors: The First Hundred Years This exhibit was inspired by the recent gift to LCMM of more than 50 vintage outboard motors, donated by the late Raymond R. Unsworth. Many of these motors were used by the Unsworth family at their camp in Shelburne. Outboard motor expert Rod Scott will be in the gallery to comment on highlights of the collection and examine vintage outboards brought to the event. Saturday July 21 - Take a class in Outboard Motor Maintenance from expert Rod Scott. This course is designed for outboard motor owners (2 - cycle, up to 25 horsepower), and covers general maintenance methods. Cost: $25. Call (802) 475-2022 to sign up.

Sign up now to build your own 12 ft. Bevins Rowing Skiff in three days at the Family Boat Building Weekend Workshop.