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Drag Boat Mac

Tender Mac under sail in Burlington Harbor, VT.

Every sailing vessel needs a smaller boat to take crew ashore, retrieve an anchor, visit another vessel, or even give an occasional tow when the wind dies. So in June 2001, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum built a tender for the replica sailing canal boat Lois McClure.

Because of her large beam and excellent initial stability, she is a great boat to use with students. As many as four students, and as few as one, can row at once. When under sail there is plenty to do to keep her young crew busy. Students from several of LCMM’s Burlington programs will be using Mac during the warm months.

Brief History of Connecticut River Drag Boats

The design selected was that of a Connecticut River Drag Boat, a 17-foot rowing boat of a type that was popular in the Northeast in the mid to late nineteenth century. Drag boats were originally used for shad fishing but were adapted to many uses. They typically have a bluff bow, full sections, broad beam, and a flat plank keel.

Building the Replica

Tender Mac under construction at the Burlington Shipyard.

Building Mac was the first construction project at the Burlington Shipyard, where Lois McClure was to begin construction the following year. Boatbuilder Rob Thompson headed up the project, inviting volunteers and apprentices to assist with the construction.