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The view from the boat. Photo: Sarah Harris
The view from the boat. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sailing on Lake Champlain

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Sailing is a big part of life on Lake Champlain. Each summer, marinas from Whitehall to Rouses Point fill up with boats - and a lot of them belong to Canadians.

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Jean Pierre Turgeon. Photo: Sarah Harris

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

It's a breezy summer evening at the Plattsburgh Boat Basin. I wander down to the docks and meet up with Jean Pierre Turgeon on his boat, the Galilee.

"I'm captain and we go out racing here several times a week and have fun," he explains.

Jean Pierre's is a tan, burly guy. He's wearing sunglasses and an orange hat.

Like a lot of Quebecois, Jean Pierre heads south, across the border, to sail.

"The nicest body of water closest to Montreal is definitely Lake Champlain."

The spinnaker. Photo: Sarah Harris
The spinnaker. Photo: Sarah Harris
We motor out of the dock and onto the lake, and the crew gets ready to raise the sails. Some of them are from Plattsburgh, and some are from Quebec.

Jean Pierre's wife, Julie LaBerge, shouts instructions in English and French.

Pretty soon, it's time for our boat to start racing.

It's a stunning evening out on the lake -- bright blue sky and a few wispy clouds. But sailing isn't always peaceful. Everybody scrambles around whenever it's time to tack, or put up the spinnaker.

It's hard to juggle my microphone while crawling all over the boat. So I stash it down below and enjoy the ride.

We race around Cumberland Bay as the sun sets. Ultimately, we come in second out of four boats.

We sail close to another boat. Photo: Sarah Harris
We sail close to another boat. Photo: Sarah Harris
Back at the dock, Jean Pierre says it was a pretty good run.

"We had a very good start and I think our tactic was good. We were in the groove but not fast enough downwind and so they gain on us they won the race."

But it's not about winning.

"It was a beautiful evening and it was absolutely fun to be on the water and just gorgeous night on Lake Champlain again."

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