- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2005

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The clothing is wool and linen, not Gore-Tex. The tents are canvas, not nylon. And wooden casks stand in for coolers. Aboard the flotilla of replica longboats that set out yesterday to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War, nearly everything would be right at home in the 18th century — except the sunscreen.

“Unlike the 18th century, most of our people will be using sunblock,” said Victor Suthren, the organizer of the Lake Champlain Longboat Flotilla, before setting sail on Lake Champlain yesterday from Isle La Motte, Vt.

During the five-day re-enactment voyage, Mr. Suthren’s group of four boats will be joined by other longboats as well as vessels known as bateaux. In all, 12 wooden boats crewed by 65 Americans and Canadians, all but five of them men, will make up the flotilla, Mr. Suthren said.

The flotilla, flying under French colors of the mid-1700s, is scheduled to arrive Saturday at Fort Ticonderoga, where more than 800 re-enactors from the U.S, Canada and Britain are expected to gather for two days of battle re-enactments, fort officials said.

The boats are modeled after those used at the time of the 1755 French supply voyages that brought men and supplies to Ticonderoga — called Carillon before a British-led force captured the stronghold and renamed it in 1759.

Bill Glidden, 58, a retired New York Army National Guard major, said he worked out on a rowing machine for months and took 2-mile walks several times a week to get ready for the voyage.

“I just want to see what the experience is like,” said Mr. Glidden, of Plattsburgh.

The flotilla will make a 100-mile zigzag course starting at the Vermont island near the Canadian border and ending in New York’s Essex County, 85 miles north of Albany, if weather cooperates. The itinerary includes overnight camping along the New York and Vermont shores.

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