Youth rowing crews shine at regional championships in Boston

By Rebecca Burns, Expeditionary Programs Manager

Last Saturday, November 19, nearly 70 youth rowers from Chittenden and Addison County middle and high schools competed in the Icebreaker Northeast Regional Youth Open-Water Rowing Championship in Fort Point Channel in Boston. This race marked the end of a successful rowing season for Burlington (BHS) and South Burlington (SBHS) High Schools, Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU), and Mount Abraham Union High School (Mt. Abe) as part of the youth rowing program with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Our local teams competed alongside some of the best teams from the northeast including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.  

The Vermont teams shined brightly throughout the day’s competition, a testament to their practice and teamwork over the course of the fall rowing season.

Each crew competed in a series of three sprint races with several sharp turns. The times from all three sprints were then combined into a cumulative time score to determine the winner for each event. SBHS had a strong showing in the Novice High School Six-Oar event where they out-paced two crews from New York and won the event. Mt. Abe and BHS competed in the Intermediate Four-Oar event. Mt. Abe challenged the Village Community Boathouse from New York for second place while BHS fought hard for a fifth-place finish.

Vermont teams dominated the Intermediate Six-Oar event with one of the two crews from BHS taking home the victory with a decisive margin. The other BHS crew placed third in the event. CVU also had two boats entered in the Intermediate Six-Oar event, placing second and fourth in the event. In the Experienced Four-Oar event, Vermont was also well represented. Mt. Abe placed second in the event, followed by BHS in third, and SBHS in fifth. CVU commanded the competition in the Experienced Six-Oar event and won the overall race.

Champlain Valley Union High School (left) and Mount Abraham Union High School (right) charge towards the finish line of the nautical mile race to win both of their events. Photo by Nick Patch

The day ended with a nautical mile race where 16 boats lined up for one massive start. Mt. Abe won the Intermediate Four-Oar event by over 30 seconds. Vermont teams eclipsed the Intermediate Six-Oar event once again with two entries from CVU and three entries from BHS. One of the crews from CVU won the race, followed by all three of the BHS crews in second through fourth place. The final CVU crew rounded out the Intermediate Six-Oar event in fifth place. SBHS placed third in the Experienced Four-Oar event, followed by Mt. Abe in fourth. CVU held the top position in the First Six-Oar event with a decisive victory.

The boats used by Vermont teams, as well as some used by other competitors, were all built in the boat shop here at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum by other local middle and high school students. Now that the rowing season in Vermont is over, our team will be hard at work over the winter repairing the fleet and building a new four-oared boat with this year’s boat building students.

This successful rowing season and races are truly a team effort and would not be possible without an amazing community of rowers, parents, coaches, donors, and dedicated staff. Middle and high school rowing will pick up again in the spring. If you’re interested in joining a youth rowing team or supporting this program, learn more at www.lcmm.org/champlain-longboats.

Burlington High School team charges to the finish line for victory in the Intermedia Six-Oar Event. Photo by Rebecca Burns
Seven gigs line up for the novice event. Photo by Nick Patch
Four gigs race down Boston’s Fort Point Channel in a close six-oar event
The scene at the Boston Rowing Center as boats prepare and leave the docks for the nautical mile race. Photo by Rebecca Burns
Built by student boat builders at the Museum in 2018, Frank Beckett, a six-oared rowing gig, is lowered into the water with the Boston Skyline shining in the background. Photo by Nick Patch)