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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Burlington Boat House, VT

We are docked at the well know Burlington Boat House docks.  We sailed here from Kingsland Bay on the east side of Lake Champlain.  Alas, the weather remains overcast with rain, but the Turtle has an inside helm and we vacated the flybridge.  The cruise to Burlington was smooth except for the following wind and sea(lake) waves.  The waves against the stern tends to push the stern port and starboard requiring more helm work to keep her on a steady course.  But the mighty Turtle handled well and we made Burlington in 3-4 hours.  We cruised at 8 knots which translates into 9 mph.  The trawler has a 120 hp Perkins diesel engine and is perfect for a slow cruise.  Cruising can only be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. 

Burlington Harbor offers a .5 mile breakwater as good protection from what can be a rough lake.  As we approached the docks we hailed them on the VHF radio.  We had called to make a slip reservation but they do require contact upon arrival.  Now this is were experience can help.  This VHF channel is monitored by all including the U S Coast Guard.  I can almost see the expression on the faces of listeners to our Kentucky accents as we stumble through the "radio" talk like saying "over" after our part of the conversation.  But the dock answered and was patient.  We did have to idle for about 30 minutes prior to docking and the Turtle deck crew had to change all mooring lines and bumpers to the port side prior to entering the slip.  We did manage to dock without endangering lives and boats. 

Burlington, VT is a quaint town of about 39,000 which is the largest town in Vermont.  The waterfront is supplied with all type of boats, docks, ferries and great sea food restaurants.  Walking up College Street brings you to the center of the town with a wide variety of retail and any number of dining opportunities.  We of course tried to help out the local establishments with our share of food and spirits.  Good sailors must have their daily share of "grog".  By land Burlington is a good location for exploring Vermont with all the Revolutionary War history and a Maritime Museum.  To the east of Burlington is Mt. Mansfield and west of Lake Champlain are the Adirondacks.   While at dock we encounterd a wide variety of boaters from Canada, France and any location in the U.S.  Lake Champlain is perfect for sailing due to considerable wind on most days and sufficient water required for a sail boat.  The Canadians sails south from Montreal and can continue south to the Lake Champlain Canal and Hudson River to New York City.  This route can be part of the Great Loop we hope to experience in future sails. 

 As you sail Lake Champlain the lake is bordered by mountains providing spectacular views.  The water is clear but a bit cool by Kentucky standards.  However, the local folks ski, swim, and fish until the lake freezes over at 30" of ice.  Then they break out the snow mobiles.    We plan to sail tomorrow for a cruise across Lake Champlain to Four Brothers Islands, Willsboro Bay and then south for another night "on the hook".  Hurricane Irene has changed our sail plan.  We need to return to our marina prior to the worst weather expected to occur on Sunday.  We of course, will keep look out for "Champ" as our days on the lake are limited.  If we located "Champ" I bet CNN could be interested!

Happy Sailing,


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