The Lake Champlain Schooner replica, the Lois McClure, accompanied by the tug Churchill, will begin its annual summer cruise on July 1 and 2, 2017, by visiting the docks at Westport Marina. Built and operated by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor, directly across from Westport, the Lois McClure will be traveling down the Champlain Canal to the Erie Canal. The final destination is Syracuse, NY, for the Annual Canal Conference and a celebration for 200 years of existence of the Erie Canal. Open to Adirondack-Champlain residents from 10 AM to 4 PM, both days, the schooner provides a glimpse into how goods were transported from Lake Champlain to New York City in the late 1800s and shows the cozy living space of the family who operated the vessel.
“A Tale of Three Gunboats, Lake Champlain’s Revolutionary War Heritage” author and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Director Emeritus, Art Cohn, will informally talk about the boats as he signs books for people from 11 AM to 1 PM on July 1 and 2, on the deck at the entrance of Westport Marina’s Ship’s Store and Boutique. The book is well illustrated by photographs, drawings, and paintings by Ernie Hass, Vermont’s maritime artist, and reproductions of ship ledgers from the 1700s. The book especially focuses on the preservation of Benedict Arnold’s Spitfire, discovered in 1979, lying on the bottom with its mast upright. Her sister ship, the Philadelphia, is preserved and on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Art Cohn envisions a similar fate for the Spitfire.