Lake Champlain Maritime Museum travels to Hull, MA for the Head of the Weir

By Nick Patch, Champlain Longboats Director

This past weekend, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Champlain Longboats program travelled to Hull, Massachusetts to row in The Head of the Weir, a 5.5 mile rowing race sponsored by the Hull Lifesaving Museum.

Overhead view of Hull, the Weir River, and The Head of the Weir race, courtesy of Richard Green

Eight of our crews and boats made the trek south on Friday afternoon. Vergennes High School came with three six-oar crews, Rice Memorial High School with two six-oar and one four-oar crew and our Adult Community Rowing Club had one six-oar boat and one four-oar boat.

Some of our Lake Champlain Maritime Museum fleet unloaded in Hull, courtesy of Holly Weber
Early morning unloading in Hull, courtesy of Holly Weber

Saturday morning held true to another amazingly gorgeous forecast with temps in the 50s and light wind. We met at the launch ramp at 7 a.m. to unload the boats. This is truly an all-hands-on-deck experience as it takes as many as thirty people to unload one of the thirty-two foot rowing gigs and we were grateful for every hand. By 9:30 all the boats were launched and rigged and crews were on their way to row the one-mile to the starting line.

Boats jockeying to the start line, courtesy of Meg Salocks
Rice and Vergennes teams head to the start line, courtesy of Holly Weber

The Head of the Weir is a timed start race with one start every thirty seconds. With over sixty boats in the event, there is a lot of jockeying for position. All eight Vermont boats got clean starts. The course is a beautiful meandering route through the tidal estuary out into the open waters of Hingham Bay and finishing at the beach at Windmill Point.

Early winding portion of The Head of the Weir race, courtesy of Richard Green
Rice and Vergennes teams cross the finish line, courtesy of Holly Weber

The Vergennes team triumphed in the youth six-oar division rowing Northern Sun with a time of 51:12, followed by Rice High School in Redwing in fourth with a time of 1:07:01 and Annie O. with a time of 1:08:28. Vergennes also came in sixth in Endeavour with a time of 1:10:16 and seventh rowing Golden Oak with a time of 1:15:36.

The Vergennes team, courtesy of Holly Weber
Boats lined up on the beach after the race, courtesy of Holly Weber

In the four-oared youth division, Rice High School came in third rowing ROPA with a time of 1:11:22. In the four-oar adult division rowing American Shad The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Adult Community rowers came in fourth with a time of 58:37 and rowing Frank Beckett they came in seventh with a time of 55:10. In sum, this year’s Head of the Weir was an amazing event in which everyone deserves accolades for staying the course and gutting out 5.5 miles. We also have to thank the drivers, parent volunteers, and Museum staff that make this race possible for us. The weather and scenery were astounding, spirits were high, and all involved deserve congratulations.

Enjoy more photos from this beautiful day below, courtesy of Holly Weber.