2021 Cruising on Lake Champlain, VT


Looking for Wind - by Chuck Nicolosi, FS 5122

Lake Champlain is an awesome sailing venue that provided an excellent playground for our Flying Scot cruise.  Jan Reimers (4134) and Tim Mallette (1777) were on the planning committee that organized one of two cruising options, the other being in Michigan.

There were four boats in our flotilla.  We met at the launching ramp in Colchester, VT on Sunday, rigged our boats and sailed around a small peninsula to our home dock.  The dock in which we were to moor our boats was challenging.  The dock was well worn and the water surrounding it had a depth of just a few inches. Our Scots demonstrated their versatility as we lifted our center boards and rudders to avoid grounding out. When we were all securely docked, we climbed an impressive set of stairs to the Airbnb which would be our home for the week.

The first day of sailing on and around Malletts Bay was terrific. Wind was a steady 10-15 and our cruising guests had a wonderful time.  Jan with his regular crew, Brett Simpson and Leah Esser, a visiting high school student from Montana and Tim explored the entire bay and several islands. Jan’s team and Tim, sailing solo, were on the water for over seven hours. We were a little more conservative and stayed primarily in the inner bay enjoying the Vermont scenery and sailing conditions. Rob Steff and Cindy Ward (1040) agreed that is was a great day on the lake.

On Tuesday, the forecast was discouraging with little wind forecast.  Jan and his crew rented bicycles from Local Motion and pedaled from Burlington to the Colchester breakwater and back. Kathy Nicolosi, Tim and I headed over to Shelburne apple orchards and enjoyed a great fall morning picking apples.  Tim found the courage to sample the Dead Bird Apple Brandy produced at orchards apple distillery.  We all sampled his purchase that evening (80 proof).  After apple picking, we headed over to the Shelburne Vineyard for lunch and a wine tasting.  We wanted to take in all the beauty of Vermont in the fall. Rob and Cindy spent the day visiting the Shelburne Museum.  Shelburne Museum is a museum of art, design, and Americana.

Wednesday, was another no wind day with storms in the forecast…Jan and his fearless crew went for a short sail, the rest of us explored the area. Thursday was another no wind day. We headed down the road to Stowe, VT and took the Gondola to the top of Mt Mansfield, the highest mountain in VT. After disembarking from the Gondola and taking in the views, it was on to climb to the summit.  The trail was challenging but most of the group made it to the ridge. The views were nothing short of spectacular.  Mt Washington in New Hampshire, all of Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks in New York were all in view.  The difficult climb and windless days made the title of this article a good choice as we looked for wind over all the vistas.

Friday, we were rewarded with an excellent sailing day.  The day started with light winds but gradually increased to winds in the 10-15 range with gusts up to 20.  The fleet had a great time managing the challenging wind conditions and enjoying the sights and sounds of the day.  Kathy and I agreed to pull our boat (5122) at the end of the day to prepare for our journey home.

We all thought the Flying Scot cruise was a lot of fun. The cruise gave us the opportunity  to explore a different venue, develop new friendships and expand our love of sailing the Scot.