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Bow and Stern - March 1, 1998

Bow and Stern - - March 1998

Bow and Stern

Spring 1998

The Official Newsletter of the Vermont Paddlers Club

Volume ?, no. 1
The Presidents Page

It's time again for our annual spring meeting and another issue of the Bow and Stern. Mr. Michael Fullerton has taken over the editor's position this year and we thank him for his time and energy. Take a bow Mike! With spring comes whitewater, we hope, and the club trip schedule has taken shape under the guidance of Tony Shaw with the aid of the club website. If you aren't leading a trip this spring, start thinking about the summer schedule that will be out in early June or the fall schedule that will appear around Labor Day weekend. Tony has spent enormous amounts of time and some of his own money establishing our website which has been praised by all who visit it. He is also the new club vice president and one of those members who does way more than his share. Thank you Tony! And while I'm introducing the new club officers, meet Darien McElwain, who said she wanted to get involved and is now the club secretary. See how easy it is!

I also want to thank the Larsens, Tim Yarrow and the Battistonis for hosting winter potluck/slide shows in their homes. These events continue to be well received and are a nice way to keep in touch with other members through the winter. The roll sessions have been held again this year through early March at the Mt. Abraham H.S. swimming pool. That pool is still the only one available to us at this time. It's getting more complicated however as this year we had to find insurance coverage, which we did, through the American Canoe Association. Thanks to Ray Ingram for directing me to the ACA which provides its members with enormous coverage at little cost. Ray is the founder of the Fiddlehead Slalom race, which takes place on the Winooski River near Montpelier in May.

In addition to the insurance, we also had to share the pool with the Champlain Kayak club. That was handled amiably, but could be a hint of things to come, as local use of the pool increases. Perhaps it's time again to look for another place.

The March dinner was a potluck this year and held again at the Congregational Church in Essex. If you have any comment on the formula or the location please speak up. I like the potluck because the food is better, my job is easier and we don't run the risk of losing a couple hundred dollars like we did last spring. Is there. a better spot than Essex Jct? Perhaps Richmond if there was an adequate building down there?

We had a board meeting in January and the attendees discussed ways of spending some of our safety and education money. We are going to try and find someone to come to Vermont this summer to teach a river safety and rescue workshop for interested club members. John Wolfe, our safety chair, is looking into this and would like to hear from anyone that is interested. If it comes to pass there will be a formal sign-up at some point. Teri Ames suggested, and we thought is sounded good, that the club subsidize the cost of an ACA instructor certification for a member of two. In return for the subsidy, the person(s) would be expected to organize the club novice clinic for a few years. What do you think? Is anyone out there interested in ACA certification?

Enjoy a safe spring paddling season!

Eric Bishop


Club officers: 1998

			President:	Eric Bishop 899-1865
			Vice Pres:	Tony Shaw 879-1655
			Treasurer:	Rich Larsen 878-6828
			Secretary:	Darien McElwain 660-8312

			Directors:	Teri Ames 899-2078
					John Wolfe 244-8673
					Ricky Battistoni 893-4655

			Message phone: 	899-1872 pin 95


			e-mail: (Tony Shaw)

			Bow and Stern:	Mike Fullerton 456-8701
					rd 1 box 59
					E. Calais, VT 05650

Trip Reports

Lower Mad River: May 18, 1997

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: Heather Muccio, K-1, Randy Allen, Jeff Fletterick, Andy Meilleur, OC-1
Water: Medium level

Heather and Jeff were tandem canoe partners who 'went through a "boat divorce", in Heather's words. It occurred to me during our trip that the separation was due to vastly different attitudes. Heather had a healthy mix of fear and enthusiasm which could be seen in facial expressions during her cautious and well executed running of drops which always ended with a smile. Jeff, in contrast, was ready to maximize the thrills that the Mad is capable of providing, which included the river left run at the waterfall. Randy was also successful on the left side, but is now 2 for 4 on the more difficult right side. Jeff's accurate rope throw got Randy out of the pool without incident.

-- Andy Meilleur

Ed. Note: There is now a gauge on the Mad. Stand on the Lovers' lane bridge and look up stream to the right. It's Red.

Hudson Gorge: May 24, 1997

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: Randy Allen, Andy Meilleur, Mike Smorgans, OC-1

Only 2 others showed for this run at a sunny 60 degrees. The level was 4.7', ideal. I wondered how I had allowed my wetsuit socks to smell so bad! We put in after the release on the Indian, one of my strategies for avoiding a fall release. Most memorable at this level was the long stretch of class 3 between the Narrows and Harris and the other after Harris. The second stretch in particular had improved compared to previous runs at 4" +/-

-- Andy Meilleur

Hudson/Schroon : May 25, 1997

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: Sheri Larson, Andy Meilleur, Mike Smorgans, OC-1
Water: 4.5' (Hudson), Medium (Schroon)

Hudson, A.M. The only swim was my own in the middle of a solid class I rapid. Sheri ran so dry you could have done a mop up with a q-tip! We tried the Schroon next and found it busy with other groups. At a quiet section we paused in wonder at a large, exotic duck resting on an island. The duck allowed us to approach close before it made a fine upstream ferry to a house on shore thus answering our wonderment. We continued to the "Big Drop" which all ran in the center.

-- Andy Meilleur

Hudson Gorge: June 1, 1997

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: Ricky Battistoni, K-1, Eric Bishop, Tony Shaw, Andy Meilleur, Mike Smorgens, OC-1
Water: 4.0'

Paddling/hiking. I went ahead to experiment with the Indian release by running the starting edge of the bubble. The Indian rises fast but I could still paddle ahead of the bubble to pick through rocks or wait a short while for the water to rise again. That felt a bit weird and I actually had more trouble in the rocks. I waited at the confluence where I found out that a rafter was in trouble and needed a backboard. Some of the group delivered a board that is kept stashed at the confluence that being the hiking segment. Eric blew an air bag so we ate lunch at the confluence as the glue dried. Shortly after that Tony lost a paddle. It was beginning to look like another massacre. The trend was reversed by a left side run at the Narrows lead by Tony. Eric ran directly through the heaviest drop needing only a well timed brace to come through.

-- Andy Meilleur

Deerfield River Dryway : July 4-5, 1997

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: John Wolfe K-1, Andy Meilleur, Kevin Eaton, Mike Smorgans, OC-1

If you are looking to sample genuine class 3-4 water then this is a good place to start for the following reasons: The easiest rapids are first, all the rapids are short drops with short stretches of easier water in between, and a road, though out of sight, follow the river on the right. Levels are predictable and there are always a lot of other boaters around to help out. This is a relatively short run of about 2.5 miles. Information on releases can be had the night before after 6:00 PM by calling 888-356-3663 for the Monroe Bridge section. A good route there is 1-89 - I- 91 - VT-9 - VT - 100.

On Friday there were very few open boats to be seen but lots of kayaks. I was glad that John was one of them and in out group. Mike carried Dragon's Tooth while 1, still undecided watched Kevin make his run. He punched through the Tooth but flipped soon after. Kevin was unaware of Mike's prefect rope throw because he was hanging on for a roll attempt. "That was the worst swim I've ever had!" he said through a broad smile. I decided to carry. Later on Mike and I went to Zoar Gap, a 1/4 mile class 3 on the Fife Brook section, to work out some of the adrenaline.

Saturday Mike and I stayed for another run on the Dryway. The pace was leisurely. Some of the time was spent watching the outfitters rescue a raft that was pinned against a car size rock. The rafters were unloaded one by one using a throw line between the raft and the shore. We 16oked at Dragon's Tooth and I decided to run it this time. The open boat approach is tricky as there are guard rocks just above that seem to reach out and grab the stern when you're not looking. That resulted in a band angle for me. A bad angle leaves no time to prepare for the big haystack always waiting below. I got processed and mike said it wasn't pretty, but I was glad to get away with only a boat full of water.

-- Andy Meilleur

Slide Show: Nov. 7, 1997

Leader: Rich and Sheri Larsen

A slide show and potluck dinner were held, at which were shown slides of Rich's trip to climb Colorado 14,000' peaks, and of Rich and Sheri's hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. About a dozen people attended and all were wowed by the great photography and witty accompanying dialog. (Hey, it's my write up, my slides, I can claim anything I want!)

--Rich Larsen

Huntington River: January 10, 1998

Leader: Andy Meilleur
Participants: Ricky Battistoni, Sean McLoughlin, John Wolfe, K-1, Andy Meilleur, OC 1.

I thought it would be a novel thing to go paddling in January until I found out that it's unusual for John not to paddle in this month of few opportunities. Some say we're crazy to paddle in winter but Sean say he get crazy if he doesn't, and he'd already been out twice that month! We found the Huntington at medium level and without ice but the temps got only to the mid 30's. It was a good workout.

-- Andy Meilleur

Whitewater, tale of Terror!

The Dartmouth College grant has been our Father's Day family destination for 2 years running, and both times thunderstorms have poured rain into the Diamond River valley overnight. Running pristinely through undeveloped moose country the Swift Diamond is a class 11-111 stream which rarely is passable in June. The Saturday night downpour (onto ground thoroughly saturated Friday night)brought the river up to a frothy medium- high level, and I launched my 16 foot'tripper at Ellingwood Falls Sunday morning. Bad idea!!

Without flotation, without a saddle or thigh straps, without companionship, and unfamiliar with the river (beyond cursory bank scouting) in uninhabited lands ......... I was at the mercy of the Swift Diamond! My knees slipped around on the floor of the canoe while the current turned it 90 degrees and wedged it between two boulders above the VERY FIRST 3'drop. In desperation with my heart pounding I hurled myself onto shore, yanked the boat off the river, and returned it to its rightful place atop the Subaru. I used to paddle alone with regularity, before discovering the VPC. I recount this tale humbly, in the hope that others might RESIST the temptation when beckoned.

-- Tony Shaw

Cross Training Trips

Many of the club members have long participated in trail maintenance for that "other kind of whitewater", cross country/back country skiing. The ice storms of this winter will create a need for more work than usual. Instead of just in the fall, trips will probably run all summer to try and get trails back in shape for next fall.

If you are interested in participating, call Rich Larsen at 878-6828 or email


  • 20' Old Town, wood and original canvas, needs some repair: $375 (lateen rig w/ mahogany leeboards and rudder, extra).
  • 20' Templeton (Blanchard-Greenville, Maine) V.G., cedar + polypropylene, $875
  • 16' E.M. White, wood + fibreglass (it's been through the mill, but still floats) $175
  • 18' Horace Strong (Craftsbury, VT. ) one of a kind, strip and fibreglass racing boat fine condition, $975
  • Two 16' Mad River, royalex, great WW boats, good condition, @ $595
Clyde H. Smith, RD2 Lewis-Wadhams Rd., Westport, N.Y. 12993 Ph. 518-962-4859

  • Infinity Quantum w/w Kayak, exc. Cond. $525
  • New Wave Bigfoot Squirt boat, custom Kevlar lay-up like new, $800
  • Perception saddle for open canoe, like new, foam pads included, $50
  • Sprayskirt, Jag"Tightskirts", with rubber band, for standard size kayak cockpit, small, $40
  • Drysuit, OS Systems, nylon, integral neoprene feet. Mens medium, new, worn once. Great for windsurfing or paddling. $225
Guy Bateman 802-728-4415. Prices negotiable.

Mad River Canoe Spring Sale -- Saturday April 4, 1998 (Sugarbush Triathlon is Sunday, April 5!)

Spring is coming, we'll have various canoes and more, priced to move. (demos, blems, discontinued models, and a few that defy description)

We wanted to get the word out now, but sale preparations are still getting underway.

Sale will take place at these locations: sale hours may vary at the different locations.

  • Canoe Imports, (800) 985-2992, 370 Dorset St., S. Burlington.
  • Alpine Shop, (802) 862-2714, 1184 Williston Rd., S. Burlington.
  • Umiak Outfitters, (802) 253-2317, 849 S. Main St., Stowe.
  • Mad River Canoe Factory, (800) 843-8985, Route I 00, Waitsfield.

Position Available at MRC

Mad River Canoe/Voyageur is seeking a full time showroom sales and customer service representative.

The successful applicant should be an enthusiastic open boat paddler with retail operations, sales and customer service experience, familiar with the paddlesports industry.

Possess excellent oral and written communication skills. Be computer literate, familiar with the following programs- Word, Excel and Act. Be an enthusiastic, team player.

Please send a resume and cover letter to: Kenny Bellard @ Mad River Canoe, PO Box 610, Waitsfield, Vt. 05673-610

In East Montpelier, Vermont this May, Lori Barg will be teaching a baidarka course for the Shackleton School, an expedition school based out of Boston. Ten teenagers and four teachers will build baidarkas, and then paddle and sail from Canada, down Lake Champlain, down the Hudson, to the Big Apple, and the Atlantic.

If anyone is interested in volunteering their boat building skills for a part of this class, or helping the kids to get to know Lake Champlain, help would be greatly appreciated. If you want to help, contact Lori Barg, RR2 box 1380, Plainfield, Vt. 05667, phone/fax 802-454-1874, email


Recent history

			l/l/96		1/l/97		l/l/98

General Fund	 	 $1100 		  $684 		  $159
Safety/Education	 $1767 		 $1662		 $1698
			 -----		 -----		 -----
Total			 $2867		 $2346		 $1857

As is clear, the general fund has eroded over the past two years, while the safety and education fund has remained roughly constant. The erosion of the general fund is due in part to the addition of new services like the website, message line and increased mailings. In order to stem this trend the dues have been raised from $6 to $8 per year per household - still a bargain!

Money can be moved from one fund to the other by the executive committee or by the membership, so the club is in no financial trouble. But, since the executive committee believes VPC should use the Safety and Education fund for its purpose, the committee has authorized the Safety and Education chair to come up with specific proposals to use the fund and bring the total closer to $1000.

The record for income and expenditures for 1997 is as follows:

			 Income		Expenditures
General Fund		$1984.38 	  $2510.02
Safety and Education 	 $646.00	   $609.46
A detailed spreadsheet is available if anyone is interested.

Richard Larsen 2/22/98


I am willing to coordinate an effort to help people advance from novice to intermediate whitewater paddling. I do not propose to run a school, but win coordinate activities for interested people using existing easier river trips in April, and the Wednesday PM Lamoille trips in April-May. Details of how this would actually work depend on the amount and type of interest.

If you are interested, call Rich Larsen at 878-6828


The VPC message line has received hot and heavy use since its establishment several years ago. It's best use is the coordination of trips which are not on the formal trip schedule. (Use is not restricted to paddling trips.)

Briefly, the system operates as follows:

Tape 1, with the "greeting" message, will be updated each week to list the trips on our normal schedule, plus selected trips run by other paddling groups. Callers will hear this message when they dial the Message Line number.

Tape 2 will hold messages that callers leave. Leaving a message requires no special procedure -- simply leave a message after the beep. Listening to trip messages that others have left requires the procedure printed in more detail below (see Option 2).


Dial 899-1872.

The machine will answer and announce scheduled trips. If that is all you want, hang up at the end.

Option 1: To leave a message without listening to other messages:

Leave your message following the beep at the end of the list of scheduled trips.
Option 2: To listen to messages others have left:
Enter the "remote code number" before the end of the trips announcement. (We'll leave enough time for you to both listen to the trips and enter the code.) The code is 95.

The machine will begin to go through its voice menu. It announces "Press 1 to play back all messages. Press 2 for other functions."

You should Press 1. You may hang up when done, or continue by waiting for 5 seconds after the machine says "End of final message." See Option 3.

Option 3: To leave a message after listening to messages:
If you have stayed on the line after listening to messages, the machine will restart at the top of its voice menu.

Therefore, when the machine says "Press 1 to play back all messages. Press 2 for other functions," you should Press 2.

The machine will continue "Press 1 to play back new messages. Press 2 for other functions." Again, Press 2 to continue.

The machine now states "Press 1 to record your message. Press 2 for other functions." Press 1 and leave your message. Hang up when done.

Eric's home phone is 899-1865. You may call him if you are having problems with the line.

Safety Guidelines

The following contains valuable trip safety advice, revised this year by the AWA: Safety Code of the American Whitewater Affiliation ( For more AWA info., visit the AWA homepage (


  • Joining for the first time??
    Print and mail in the VPC Member Enrollment Form --

  • Renewing member??
    Send $8.00/household, due January 1st to: VPC c/o Rich Larsen, 11 Discovery Rd., Essex Jct., VT 05452.

A printable waiver is online -- ()

From the Editor

Well, there it is. The Bow and Stern in its new incarnation. This is your newsletter you know, I just edit the thing. In the past the Bow and Stern has been little more than a collection of trip reports and a new schedule or two. We have a chance to make it a little more, if thats what everybody wants. As you have seen, the trip reports are still an important part of the newsletter and here's where you'll find the schedule of upcoming events. With the type a little smaller, and the reports in columns, there's room for quite a lot more without using more paper and driving up the mailing cost. (The largest single expense for each issue). What I would like to see is some articles by members, reports on safety courses you attended, public meetings on river access where you spoke out, a short essay on an experience you had. There's room for more, though not everything, especially if all of you write! But that's what the editor is for.

When I joined this club 15 years ago, it had been primarily a family oriented outing club running river floats, camping trips, and picnics. A small group got interested in white water and somehow that group became the movers and shakers in the organization. We had lots of members who came to all the meetings, but most of the trips seemed to he planned and run by the white water group. Somehow, it didn't seem to matter and the club was strong. Family activities dropped off, but families still stayed on as members.

Later there was a divisive period during which we tried to decide whether to become very active environmentally or stay a paddling club with some input into river issues. It was a time of friction and we lost some good members, some who were unhappy that their point of view did not prevail and others who just didn't like the disagreement. We managed to survive it and lately have seen a number of new faces, several eager to take part in running the club and being involved with activities. New paddlers are showing up and we have some real gung ho river runners and some adventurous wilderness paddlers who have given us some fine slide shows.

Since the "revival" I have decided to end several years of just going on trips and get back into it. I'd been dormant since getting talked into being president some years back. There are others out there who have been quiet, too. You know who you are. Since there seems to be a revival going oh why not get back up? We had to practically draft a slate of officers this time around. Next time why not an actual election? (No, I don't want to be on the campaign finance committee!) Come out and get involved. You just might have a good time.


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