by Isaac Parker
The sounds of church bells from the nearby St. Patrick’s Church announced the arrival of the Lois McClure to Rouses Point. After a long day battling the waves and wind of northern Lake Champlain, the Lois had finally arrived outside Gaines Marina. At first, we tried to thread the Lois along with the Churchill through the immense amount of slips outside the marina, which with the wind quickly proved to be impossible. However, up rolled Joe Treadwell, the owner of Gaines Marina, with his faithful lobster boat Prince of Peace II, to provide us with some talented towing assistance. As we maneuvered the boat for docking, one of the towing attachments was ripped off the Oocher, which acts as a bow-thruster. However, we were able to make do and Joe quickly offered to repair the Oocher in his shop. Then after securing the boat to the dock, we able bodied crew members began the usual post docking procedures; setting up the gangway, getting a resupply of the ever precious block ice, hooking up electricity, and most importantly ascertaining the location of shore heads (bathrooms for you landlubbers) and showers.
The following day we were treated with a nice bunch of visitors, with almost all of them knowing the purpose of those big rocks, without an explanation that they currently are used as ballast, though in the 1860’s granite and marble were carried as cargo. By the end of the afternoon, the day had begun to heat up in preparation for the coming weather. Luckily for the crew, that night the local historical society, which had been instrumental in the planning and arrangements of our stay before we had arrived, had organized a dinner at Legion Post 912. The air-conditioned great room at the Legion Post was a relief from the stifling humidity that had come to us in the afternoon. After piling our plates with delicious food and Michigans, a combination of hotdogs and a hamburger-red sauce concoction, we talked away with our new friends. The party drew to a close and luckily for us many of the leftovers were sent back to the boat to add to our plethora of food. The historical society made us feel very welcome while we were docked in Rouses Point.
Even though we were not open to the public the next day we did not pack up quite yet. We still had to lower the rig to prepare for our journey on the Chambly Canal. The boom, sail, and gaff packages leave the boat first, beginning with the main. With the boom truck taking up much of the available space on shore, the packages were delicately plucked from the mast and placed on deck. With this finished we still had many hours to come, and the heat was rising. Into the afternoon we worked; the masts came down and were tucked gently in between the crane and the boat. Then the new and improved collapsible t-braces, courtesy of the mechanical genius of Don DeWees, were lowered into place. The crane then began to reload the rig back on to the Lois, but half way through a hydraulic hose burst, and progress quickly came to a halt. Luckily Gaines Marina is full of all kinds of wonderful Tonka Toys for adults, and we were able to use a big forklift to get the rest of the rig loaded on to the boat.
Everyone was glad when the last knot was tied and the time for rest came. After a long, gruelingly hot day Lois McClure the sailing canal schooner had become Lois McClure the canal boat. Thank you Rouses Point for a great visit, and thank you Gaines Marina for all your help with the rigging process!
Special Thanks to:
Serving for his third year aboard the Lois, Isaac is a rising Junior at Mount Abraham Union High School. With a career in naval architecture in mind, Isaac joins us for two months this summer.