Students sit in and around a boat in the boat shop

What is a Whiskey Plank? Updates from the Boat Shop

By Nick Patch, Champlain Longboats Director

Big news from the boat shop: this week students from Vergennes Middle and High School along with teachers and museum staff celebrated the installation of the final plank on our new 32’ pilot gig that they have been working on since January.

A major milestone in any boat building project, this plank is traditionally called the “whiskey plank” as it was historically celebrated with a round of whiskey. At Lake Champlain Maritime Museum though, we celebrate this exciting event with chocolate chip cookies and pizza!

With the final plank done, our boat builders have moved on to steam bending the ribs for the boat, making knees out of laminated white oak, and riveting.

This new gig is being built by students from Middlebury High School and Vergennes Middle and High School as part of our Champlain Longboats program and will be added to the Museum’s active fleet of twenty one rowing gigs.