August 26, 2005 Lois McClure
Ship's Log


Erick Tichonuk
Erick Tichonuk has worked for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum since 1986 as an educator and nautical archaeologist. He graduated from UVM with a B.A. in History, and also teaches SCUBA diving. He serves aboard Lois McClure as First Mate and project coordinator.

was fantastic! The schooner Lois McClure toured down to the World Financial Center in New York City, and on August 16 and 17, her sponsors, including Cabot Creamery and the State of Vermont, set up two days of fun and activities, showcasing all that Vermont has to offer.

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Many Thanks to our Sponsors, without whom this trip would not have been possible:


Off Roundout Creek, Kingston, NY – Heading up river
Erick Tichonuk

Although we’re going north, we’re far from heading home. New York City marked the mid-way point of the Grand Journey time-wise, but not in distance. We are currently in transit the full length of the originally navigable portion of the Hudson to the Albany region. This is the first of three such transits to occur over the next two months. We’re undergoing these long treks to catch venues like the Troy Farmers Market on Saturday September 3, Heritage Day in Albany on Monday September 5, and the famous Tugboat Roundup at Waterford on September 10 – 11.

So many times we’re heard the phrase, “You live here?!” uttered with surprise and amazement. Our visitors find it difficult to comprehend how 12 – 14 crew can exist in what appears to be a vessel straight out of a history book. One of our greater challenges is sharing our living space with the thousands of visitors who tour Lois. Each day our home undergoes an incredible transformation from living space into exhibit. Food stuff is concealed way in cleverly designed spaces. Personal belongings, cots, and bedding get tucked away in improbable locations. A final inspection helps ensure only period correct or interpretive props remain in public view. The current four-day transit allows us time to relax from this daily ritual.

Today’s transit day began with a muster on deck to go over the day’s plans. Topics included how we’d get off the dock, crew assignments, safety briefing, and length of travel. All hands don life jackets, shore power is disconnected, and departure checklists are completed. Once underway Roger and I have been “watch-on-watch” at the helm of Lois, one hour on, one hour off. The same maritime ritual is being played out at the helm of our beloved tug, C.L. Churchill between Scudder and Sandy.

The laptop with cell phone Internet connection is in almost constant use while underway. Some visitors find this aspect “disenchanting”, but we call it “essential” to smooth operations. Kathleen and Sarah easily place food and retail merchandise orders for shipment by Elisa on the next van from Vermont. Scudder can check on the status of supplies for our upcoming dry dock session; I can finalize logistics of upcoming ports. And hey, if you enjoy the Ship’s Log, thank Sarah who compiles our entries and photos and gets them to you direct from the boat!

Our crew is busy with cleaning and organizing chores under the direction of our Bosun Len. Our Ship’s Carpenter Kerry has been weaving new rope fenders to do our tug Churchill proud at the upcoming Roundup in Waterford. The fenders are works of art, many thanks to volunteer rigger Bob Dollar who got us started on the project. Many a volunteer crew has laid hands on this major project.

One thing that has struck me since our arrival on the Hudson is it’s active use as a commercial highway. Lake Champlain’s days of big barges are over for now. This makes Lois one of the bigger boats around on her home turf. Not anymore. Here on the Hudson we’re far from the big fish in the pond. Our nearly two months here have given us a chance to feel the rhythm of this waterway, and become a part of it. Just in the time it has taken me to write this log, two freighters have passed us. One of my favorite tugs, Crow, has gone by once again pushing a barge heavily laden with stone. A broad wave of the hand as they pass, complete with a grill billowing smoke on the deckhouse top.

Although we love showing off Lois and sharing the incredible history with visitors, we also cherish and appreciate our days cruising up and down the Hudson. Now if you’ll excuse me it’s my watch on the helm.

Phone: 802-475-2022