Row to Mabee Farm – Crew Information – June 12 to June 15, 2012
Also known as ‘The Big Row, 2012’
Last update of this document, May 21, 2012.
by David Manthey, Bateau Bobbie G, Captain
Information for the Crew
At present, I have the following people committed to the full row:
David Manthey, captain Bobbie G
Rick Russell (most likely)
And for Wednesday and Thursday
And for Friday
Although it would be appreciated if additional crew gave notice as soon as possible, you can decide to come at the last minute. I absolutely must know that you are coming on or before Monday, June 11.
Kevin and I will be organizing breakfast and dinner for the trip (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday dinner; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday breakfast). I’m hoping others will help cook.
Bill Manthey is been appointed camp master for the trip. He is in charge of setting up and breaking down the camp each day, and has the authority to enlist help as needed.
I am captain of the Bobbie G and overall commander of the trip.
If we get one more rower for the whole trip, we will probably take both boats. At present, we don’t have the required crew to run both boats in anything but perfect weather.
Anyone Meeting Us En Route
Because a rowing trip is subject to the vagaries of the weather, there is a chance that we won’t be camped at our intended locations at the time claimed. In the most extreme case, we might have contrary winds and lightning storms that prevent us from moving at all. While we expect that we’ll make the trip as planned, it is possible that we will be delayed or halted. As such, if you expect to meet us en route, please give me your phone number ahead of time, so that I can contact you in the evening if we are not camped where expected. Furthermore, as we have on occasion camped in odd spots, ask what points will work for pick up and drop off.
Equipment and Food
We will be travelling in as period-correct a manner as possible. Any non-period equipment must be stowed out of sight. Of course we have modern safety gear (first aid kit, PFDs, etc.) stowed in the bateaux (in the burlap sacks that are normally in the bow). I will have a VHF radio and a cell phone for use in emergencies. I will also supply a modern dry-bag disguised in a period covering to stow items that we don’t want to get wet (ideally, we’d stow these in a barrel or an oilcloth).
Also: for the Portage, we will be pulling a boat on paved roads for 2.5 miles. Wear shoes that will work for your feet, even if they are not period correct. It would be better to hind non-period shoes with gaiters.
We will be camping along the way in wedge tents. Bring sleeping gear that will keep you comfortable. Make sure that your blanket roll is packaged in a manner that it won’t get wet if it rains.
If anyone has spare burlap bags to help hide non-period gear, they would be helpful.
Everyone (including those out for one day):
- Standard clothing – the year is 1757; dress appropriately. We will be travelling as French bateaumen working for the French army. Historically, these men were a combination of milice and French regulars (de Bougainville lists French artillery, several brigades, some of which include some Marines, a field hospital, and men detached to moving provisions). Alternately, you can dress as a typical New York bateauman, as that is quite similar to how the bateaumen on Lake Champlain also dressed.
As a bateaumen the standard attire is trousers, shirt, frock, neck cloth, round hat, and a pair of shoes and stockings. If you aren’t certain if what you have is correct, please ask. I can document quite a lot of Schenectady bateaumen’s clothing: for instance, checked shirts are more popular than white shirts, though both are common. Trousers are more popular than breeches. Barcelona handkerchiefs are very popular.
For French milice and bateaumen, a knit cap (like a toque) was very popular, with red and blue being the most common colors.
- Thwart blanket – to sit upon. The thwarts are hard and unyielding, and most of the effort of rowing is transmitted to the boat through one’s bottom. Expect this blanket to get wet if it rains, or possibly dipped in the bilge; it probably should be distinct from your sleeping gear.
- Jacket, coat, or frock – it may cold, and you need to be able to deal with it; similarly it may rain.
- Food for lunch and snacks – I am arranging the supply of breakfasts and dinners, and I’m asking everyone else (except Sam) to bring enough food to contribute to lunch and snacks each day. A possible list is bread, cheese, sausage, and apples or other fruit. It is much better to have too much food than too little, as rowing is hungry work. Our planned meals are from Tuesday breakfast (the day of launch) through Friday afternoon.
- Prescription medications – If you have a medical condition (such as an allergy to bee stings), discuss them with the crew, so we will know what to do if necessary.
- Cup or mug – for rum ration, shrub, etc.
Everyone spending a night (also see above list):
- Sleeping gear (Although it will likely be warm, it could also be cool and rainy).
- Eating gear – your usual plate or bowl and a utensil
- Change of clothes – one change is probably sufficient; we will get sweaty and smelly, but that is expected.
- Extra warm clothes – it may be cold and rainy.
- Storage bag that will remain dry – for your clothing and bedding. If possible, this should either be a period bag or covered in a period bag. We will have some spare dry storage and some spare burlap sacks. I hope to use some of the dry-coopered barrels as well.
Captain (me, David M.):
- Tent and poles
- Nautical kit (captain’s basket) – spare rope, bailing sponge, tin horn, navigational light, speaking trumpet, etc.
- 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner
- Rum ration (2 fifths)
- Cookies and tins
- 1/4 barrel for food
- Bateau wagon, including bolts, mallet,
- Brazier, charcoal (lump style preferred), and fire starting material
- Lantern and candles
- Tent and poles
- Tent and poles
- Salt and pepper containers
- Brazier and charcoal (lump style preferred)
- Lanterns and candles, including two lanterns appropriate for night travel
- Cooking pans
- 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners
- Tent and poles
- Cooking pans
- Water jug
- Big coffee pot
- Cooking bucket
- Camera – I encourage people to bring a camera which is kept out of sight when not in use.
- Sunscreen – if you don’t spend a lot of time outdoors, you will need this.
- Tents – if you have a tent and haven’t been asked to bring it on the row, it would be convenient to have it available at Bolton Landing when we are there over the weekend. The plan is to have two people per tent on the row, but we will want more space when we get to the Farm. In this case, the tent will be brought to Bolton Landing by Friday afternoon.
Do Not Bring:
Note that if you want any of this at Bolton Landing, we can send it up by car ahead of time, so it will be waiting when we arrive.
- Chairs, cots, etc. – historically, bateaumen probably sat on the barrels they were transporting. If you do not like sleeping directly on the ground, you can bring a tarp or oilskin; most tents have ground cloths, though.
- Modern clothes – aside from something for a true emergency, everyone should remain in period clothes the entire trip (including nights).
- Coolers – we will have two 1/4 barrels for food storage, which will keep food relatively cool. Additionally, we may get some resupply by crew who are day tripping; foraging from the countryside is period-correct and encouraged.
I encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with period rowing and sailing commands. Reb and my write-up on these can be found here:
We will be camping in wedge tents along the way. You do not have to bring period-correct sleeping gear, though it is recommended.
Comparatively speaking, we have a huge amount of daylight and moderate distances to cover, so the overall daylight will be ample.
We will be proceeding under any non-dangerous weather conditions. If it rains, we will get wet. Likewise, it may be miserably cold or hot. If you do not have period clothing that will keep you comfortable in wet or cold weather, consider modern clothing that can be hidden beneath period clothing (such as modern long underwear). We will have some dry storage available, so you should be able to have dry clothing at night. You will most likely want sunscreen.
If you haven’t been out on a multi-day trip where you may be cold or wet, please ask for advice.
Beginning and End of Trip Logistics
The plan is to meet at the Crown Point campsite Tuesday morning (though please provide contact information in case we want to meet at the launch on Goose Bay). We will launch the boat(s) around 9 a.m. We plan to reach Bolton Landing on Friday afternoon, after which we will participate in the reenactment there. Any gear being advanced to Bolton Landing should be available on Tuesday at the start the trip, or placed so it can be fetched Friday afternoon. We will have assistance in fetching vehicles on Friday or in staging them up on Tuesday morning before beginning the trip.
Make sure you also see the separate document containing the overview of the trip and the schedule.
All crew members are strongly encouraged to read and learn the list of period rowing and sailing commands. They can be found here: http://www.thebigrow.com/?page_id=404.
Also, for those interested, I have posted a list of all navigation and canal laws that we are required to obey here: http://www.thebigrow.com/?page_id=412. There are a few other pages of information and photographs related to the bateau on my own website (thebigrow.com) and on the Second Albany website (secondalbany.org).
We have talked with the town of Ticonderoga and the organizers at Bolton Landing. I hope to have more publicity as well.
My full contact information is:
Telephone (cell): (518) 265-0215
Address: 100 Kingsley Road, Burnt Hills, NY 12027