Student row a pilot gig

A Week on the Water: Fall Rowing Has Begun!

By Nick Patch, Champlain Longboats Director

The week of September 9 was a week to remember for Lake Champlain Maritime Museum rowing programs. 

On Wednesday we hosted 95 Otter Valley Union Middle School students at the museum’s North Harbor for a team-building day and on Friday we hosted Colchester Middle School in Burlington with another 90+ rowers. All of these students spent two hours on the water, learning to work as a team and master our pilot gigs built by previous boat building students. After learning the basics of rowing, these groups went on to explore Lake Champlain and its overwhelming beauty.

Otter Valley Union Middle School students

In addition to these two rowing programs, this week also marked the start of our fall season of after-school youth rowing for students and teams from Vergennes Middle and High School, Mt. Abraham Middle School and High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, South Burlington High School, Burlington High School, and Rice Memorial High School.

Colchester Middle School students in Burlington

The fall youth rowing season runs now through November 23, culminating in the Icebreaker, a regional youth open-water championship race in Boston Harbor. Our middle and high school student teams meet to practice two to three times a week all fall and participate in four youth rowing races, two of which are sponsored by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Otter Valley student groups in pilot gigs on Lake Champlain

Tallying it all up, we can confirm (and are very proud to say) that Lake Champlain Maritime Museum got 546 kids out on Lake Champlain in our 32′ rowing gigs last week. A few of our young rowers had blisters on their hands to brag about, but all of them had big smiles on their faces that reflected their shared sense of new experience and accomplishment.