Tugboat C.L. Churchill

The 33’ tug C.L. Churchill is a part of our fleet at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, where she acts as power source and support vessel for the 88’ canal schooner Lois McClure. Today the C.L. Churchill is home-ported in Burlington, Vermont. She assists the replica schooner Lois McClure in her operations, and is currently on the GlassBarge Tour with the Lois.

C.L. Churchill was acquired by Vermont’s Shelburne Shipyard in 1974 as a yard tug and yacht. In 2005, Shelburne Shipyard graciously donated the C.L. Churchill to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

The tugboat C.L. Churchill was built in 1964 in Cohasset, Massachusetts for Chester L. Churchill, a Massachusetts and Vermont lumber dealer. Originally powered by steam, Churchill was later re-powered with a diesel engine. This allowed for a much larger cabin space. Since 2005, The Churchill has been owned and operated by us here at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and is used to tow the un-powered canal schooner Lois McClure. 

C.L. Churchill arrives in the Tugboat Parade at the Waterford Tuboat Roundup, September 2006.

Refit of the Vessel

C.L. Churchill

  • Length: 33 feet
  • Beam: 11 1/2 feet
  • Draft: 3 feet 11 inches
  • Displacement: 20,000 pounds
  • Powerplant: 120hp Ford-Lehman 6-cylinder diesel

With the help of lead boatbuilder Rob Thompson and his crew of staff and volunteers, during the winter of 2005 Churchill‘s hull and systems were given a major refit. Her stem, keelson, and some frames and planking were replaced, and she was given a fresh coat of paint inside and out. Electrical and steering systems were upgraded, her rudder was rebuilt, and new bits and cleats were added. A few years later the remaining forward bottom planking was replaced along with some more frames. Most recently, in the winter of 2013, work was done to replace her sheer strakes, cabinsides, and entire foredeck. The work also included several forward deck beams, her breasthook, and a portion of the port side clamp. Clearly the work passed muster for she won “tug of the year” at the 2014 Waterford Tugboat Roundup.

C.L. Churchill rudder and shaft-log remodeling.