Erie’s Brig Niagara gets a new captain, lumberjack, and gold medal hammer thrower – in one man

Christopher Cusson – neither a lumberjack nor hammer thrower, but definitely the Brig Niagara Captain.

If you’re from Erie, chances are you completely and immediately hate the unknown. If something is new it’s probably the worst, and if I don’t understand it I already hate it – with one exception. Sailing.

Think this is an exaggeration? I’d like to remind you of the shock and horror of Erie’s first back-in-only parking spots along Perry Square. New, electronic parking meters? Hate. Condos downtown? Double hate. Convention Center on the water? Passionate hate. Community college somewhere nearby? Already hate it, and no idea if it’ll ever happen.

On the other hand, there’s just something about standing at the water’s edge, looking out on the sunset, and seeing a majestic Tall Ship floating along that tells you everything is gonna be alright. It takes you back. You think there was probably a person standing right where you are, 100 years ago, hearing the wind hit the trees the same way and watching the Brig Niagara roll in, and you’re hit with a feeling you didn’t know you needed.

A ship like this can’t be trusted to just some guy. Kids from all over are going to look at the Brig Niagara in awe and wonder, “Who’s in charge of this thing?” Christopher Cusson, that’s who.

And just who is Christopher Cusson? Look at him again.

He was probably born on a boat. He’s 36 years old and he’s already lived in California, Newfoundland, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Alaska, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Most of you haven’t been to that many states.

He went to school for natural resource management. He’s worked for the U.S. Coast Guard and as a substitute teacher.

All that, and he’s worked on the Brig Niagara for seven years! He’s been an engineer, safety officer, navigation officer, third mate, second mate, and chief mate on the Brig Niagara. I want him to drive my car.

Christopher Cusson is not a lumberjack or a world class hammer thrower, at least as far as we know. But he is everything else. And the pride of Erie, the thing that makes us forget why we hate everything else around here – the Brig Niagara – is in very good hands.

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