“Messing About in Boats” the annual Small Watercraft Festival at
On Saturday morning at 11 a.m., explorers Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson will meet for the first time at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – 400 years after their first exploration of the region! The life-sized puppet of Hudson is traveling from Albany, NY in the company of Carol Margolis of the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center (www.albany1609.com), while Champlain will arrive in the company of Rebecca Goldberg of Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library. The great explorers will greet the public and are happy to share stories of their historic travels and recent adventures. Young visitors will also enjoy hands-on activities with smaller puppets of Henry Hudson and friends.
The festival has also been chosen by Black Dome Press as the official gala launch for the new book, “A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake Champlain.” Authors Cathy Frank and Margy Holden will be at the museum at noon on Saturday, August 8, to describe their adventures paddling the entire perimeter of Lake Champlain. This journey of many summers has been transformed into a book filled with illustrations of “fifty different watery paths of adventure.” Cathy and Margy will share photographs and memories of some of the best kayaking spots and unique water’s-edge views that the lake has to offer.
Throughout the weekend, the historic 1901 tugboat Urger, the flagship of the New York State Barge Canal fleet, will be in port at the Basin Harbor Club, next door to the Museum and a dozen boat makers will exhibit both classic and innovative small watercraft on the Museum grounds and offer try-outs at the museum’s waterfront. Middle Path Boats of Edinburg, PA, will bring for display and trial a 16’ fiberglass Skua rowing cruiser, which has the distinction of being the first sub-100 lbs., fixed-seat boat to win a major open-water rowing race in modern times. Edey and Duff of Mattapoisett, MA will privied an 11’ catboat for tryouts. The Little Boat Shop from Lincolnville Center, Maine, will be introducing an unique little electric boat and boat building program- Tim McShane of Vermont Electric Boat Works, Allburgh VT, is also bringing an electric boat for demonstrations. Concept II, Inc, will bring a four-person sectional, rowing tour boat. Little Creek Strip Canoes and Kayaks from Greensboro Bend, VT builders of canoes, kayaks, and wooden boats, and Skywoods Canoe, Scott Barkdoll of Shoreham, VT builders of wood and canvas canoes will also be exhibiting. Al Stiles will exhibit an ultralight canoe- and Classic Boatworks of Lake Placid will exhibit Adirondack Guideboats. Hillary Russell and his wife Jenny, of the Berkshire Boat Building School, will be putting together a skin-on-frame, double paddle canoe. Bob Dollar will demonstrate rope work.
Umiak/Canoe Imports will offer on-water demonstrations, and on Saturday they offer classes in elementary and intermediate kayaking skills. You can learn to make a paddle or a set of oars in the great workshops taking place throughout the weekend. A workshop in forging sculpture with Lynn Newcomb is offered in the Blacksmithing Arts Center. Sign up early to reserve your spot. Stop by to watch participants in the Family Boatbuilding Workshop craft a Bevan’s Skiff in three days – completed boats will be launched on Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday, kids and their families can design, build and launch a cardboard boat big enough to ride in, during the popular annual “Duct Tape Regatta.” Start construction at 1:00 and be ready to launch at 3.
See a shipwreck without getting wet – archaeologists on board the tour boat Escape will take you to a shipwreck site and “dive” with a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) on Saturday at 1:00. Tour costs $22 for adults and $18 for children- seating is limited so advance registration is recommended. Call 802 475-2022 for information and to reserve your place.
Also on Saturday, a water taxi making morning and afternoon runs will link LCMM with the Westport Heritage Festival in New York.
Sunday includes the Lake Champlain Challenge Race – participants bring their own non-motorized boat, kayak, or canoe to compete in this three-mile race from the museum’s North Harbor. Registration begins at 10, the race begins at 11, and awards ceremony is held in mid-afternoon.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, located on the shore of Lake Champlain seven miles west of Vergennes, VT, is open daily from 10-5 through October 18, 2009. For more information, log on to