Monday, July 12, 2010

Grand Encampment 5

Officially we were batteau-men, providing transportation to the British soldiers at an F&I reenactment. This was a major event with hundreds of reenactors and a couple of dozen sutlers.

We were afraid that we would be encamped with the British army. They were a long way from the lake where the boats were so we were not looking forward to that. Fortunately, they created a British Boat Camp beside the lake. This had eight or nine tents and at least fifteen people so we had a mini-event separate from the main event. Not only were we closer to the boats but our camp was a lot cooler than the main British camp. The French and Indian camps were cooler yet since they camped in the trees.

Funny thing - the only groups that bring boats are pirate groups. In addition to our Scioto Pirate group, the Great Lakes River Pirates were there. We know them from Paynetown and they are always fun to be around. At some point people started calling the camp "the pirate camp".

For boats, the River Pirates brought two small boats and two medium boats. I had the Black Sheep which was the largest of the five. The park provided two impressive 30' war canoes and rangers to command them.

All of that was good. Not everything was perfect. The nearest port-o-let was a long way away at the far end of the Sutler's Row. Water had to be fetched from the French camp (although we had plenty of cool drinking water from melting ice).

Months ago, a call went out for boats but the organizers never really planned how to use them. We "flotillas" on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we loaded soldiers into the boats and the canoes, rowed them half-way across the lake then back again. They landed and took a nap under some shade.

On Sunday we decided that the canoes had been under-manned so we had them load the soldiers into one canoe and we acted as escort. Again, we rowed half-way across the lake and back. We were supposed to be met by the rest of the British army but all that showed up was a narrator.

Saturday seemed hotter than is should have - possibly because of the lack of a breeze. There was more wind on Sunday and it felt cooler. The two boats with sails took advantage of the wind.

We took the Black Sheep out rowing both days. On Saturday when we were transporting troops, we managed to load ten people onto it. I wasn't happy with the trim - too much weight forward - but otherwise it worked fine. With two people rowing we were at least as fast as the smaller boats although I think that Firefly would have been faster yet.

In all, we had a good time but I'm not sure that we would do the event again. The heat got to everyone and it was a lot of work just to ferry some soldiers back and forth.

Here are the River Pirates, lurking in the shade.

Here is the Pirate British Boat Camp

And here is the Black Sheep with a full crew and passengers (with me at the tiller).


And here's one of the flotilla from the Black Sheep.

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