James Wakefield Rescue Row
On Saturday October 11, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Champlain Longboats Program held its fall youth rowing race, the James Wakefield Rescue Row at Button Bay State Park. The race is named after James Wakefield who rowed out to the Burlington Breakwater through a fierce winter gale in December 1876 to rescue the passengers and crew of the shipwrecked canal schooner General Butler.
Over 120 youth participated, rowing 25- and 32-foot rowing boats in a series of heats. Crews hailed from local schools, including Burlington High School, South Burlington High School, Vergennes Middle and High School, Champlain Valley Union High School and Mt. Abe Middle and High School and the Diversified Occupations Program from Middlebury, as well as from Northhaven, Vinalhaven, and Rockland Maine. All of the boats used in the event were built at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum by Vermont High School and Middle School students.