Saturday, November 3rd was a bone-chilling, yet heart-warming day for 142 youth rowers from Chittenden and Addison who participated in the “Otter Creek Challenge”, a three mile rowing race on Otter Creek. It was 40 degrees and pouring rain at race time but rowers were fired up to go. The course starts at the Vergennes Basin on Otter Creek just below the waterfall in downtown Vergennes and wanders 1.5 miles downstream and then back to a 180 degree turn in the Vergennes Basin at the finish line. The novice division rowers rowed a slightly shorter two-mile course. Crews competed from Vergennes Middle and High School, Mt. Abraham Union Middle and High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, Burlington High School, South Burlington High School and Rice Memorial High School.
In the four-oared novice division two-mile race, South Burlington High School prevailed with a time of 30:10, in the four-oared intermediate division 3-mile race Burlington High School was first with a time of 41:51, In the six-oar novice division two-mile race South Burlington High School won first place honors with a time of 28:53, in the six oar intermediate 3-mile race South Burlington High School again took first place with a time of 38:38 and in the experienced six-oar division Vergennes High School was first with a time of 33:10.
It is fair to say that on this day all rowers persevered through extremely adverse conditions and should be extremely proud of their accomplishment.
The Otter Creek Challenge is run by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s (LCMM’s) Champlain Longboats program. All boats used in this race were built at LCMM by area high school students and are part of museum’s active fleet of nineteen rowing boats.