Lynn Monty, Editor In chief
Captain Mike Crowley is living the dream after decades of hard work and dedication on the job. With his pension in hand and a small retraining fee given to him by IBM a few years back, he set his sails on Lake Champlain. Quite literally, in fact.
He just spent five years as captain of the Whistling Man Schooner Co. on Burlington’s waterfront where he offered sailing tours on his classic sloop, Friend Ship. Now he’s embarked on yet another business venture at Point Bay Marina in Charlotte. With help from his wife, Karen, the two keep Brizo, their 36-foot yacht, in tip-top shape for private tours and Airbnb stays.
Captain Mike, as he’s best known in these parts, started sailing 14 years ago. “I always wanted to sail,” he said. “I grew up in Winooski and spent a lot of time on the lake, mostly fishing. I didn’t have family that sailed, and back then it was tough to get involved if you didn’t have a boat.”
From a wannabe to a member of the Royal Savage Yacht Club at Point Bay Marina, Captain Mike is finally in his element. “This is the place to be,” Crowley said. “It’s peaceful, quiet, and the marina has everything here that I need whenever I need it. Great people. The whole boating scene here is incredible.” And Darling’s Boatworks is always on hand for restoration and repairs, Crowley added.
Retirement is sometimes referred to as a second childhood, and Captain Mike is the epitome of that sentiment. His private sailing charter boat, a Beneteau 361, is named Brizo after the Greek goddess who appointed herself guardian of sailors and fishermen. She’s equipped with two cabins, a head, a galley and comfortable salon area. The boat sleeps six, but Mike is content setting sail with just his wife, Karen.
“It’s a big change from the Friend Ship and all of the bachelor parties and large daily tours,” Captain Mike said. “This is a nice transition. I have more personal time.”
Sailing lessons are also on the menu. Crowley is happy to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for sailing with anyone who would like to learn. And his large bank of historical and geographical stories about Lake Champlain seem to have no end. But with a lake that’s 127 miles long and 12 miles at its widest, there’s plenty of time as he tours through its hundreds of bays and coves.
For more information visit Champlain Sailing.