I hadn't heard. Thanks (gulp) for passing along the sad news.
Anyone who'd like to read a short obituary can find one here
Like so many other Pacific Seacraft owners, we had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with WIB Crealock on several occasions in Annapolis. Invariably one had the sense of being in the presence of a rare gem of a man -- that unusual combination of natural brilliance, acquired experience, self-deprecating wit, modesty, and warm charm.
"Bill" had a friendly, easy way about him. He'd stand in front of the assembled crowd, responding to the same questions that he'd heard year after year from would-be blue-water sailors (e.g. "What are the benefits of the skeg-hung rudder?" or "Why not a full-keel?"), as if it was the best question he'd ever heard and the first time he'd heard it. Always a polite, thoughtful reply.
Certainly his small boat designs pale in significance when compared to his larger projects (see, e.g. Irving Johnson
) --- Bill was one of the rare few true "Naval Architects" designing production sailboats. But his goal (at least with his Pacific Seacraft series of boats) was not to produce the fastest hull form, rather instead to create a wholesome sailing boat, in a sturdy, comfortable package equally capable of working the coast or transiting an ocean. Plenty of builders today claim to produce "ocean rated" boats, but very few offer designs in the mid-low-30 foot range, much less a 24 footer, with those capabilities.
After a decade of sailing his designs (first a Dana 24, now a Crealock 31) I can attest that the man had rarified talent. Spend even a short stretch aboard his boats and you cannot help but appreciate the convenience and safety features he incorporated into these designs, and the genius behind them. On many occasions while pressing along in challenging conditions, I've told my anxious kids not to worry because "Bill Crealock designed this boat to take good care of us."
This past weekend, we ripped across Chesapeake Bay with a single reefed main and partially furled genny in a solid nor'wester, turned up the Eastern Bay close-reaching steadily at over 6 knots, rounded Tilghman Point, headed across the mouth of the Miles, turned up the Wye River, pinched our way up around Bruff's Island, cracked off a bit and poked our way upriver to a tiny creek. Sailed the entire way, often with newer, flashier "modern" designs motoring along beside us. We had a foul bottom, but maybe we had a little nudge from a helping hand too.
Thank you, Bill, for these wonderful sailing machines and the memories we make in them. You'll be missed.
I invite owners of any Crealock-design (PSC or otherwise) to post a photo or two here in tribute to the Gentleman.
Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 going to weather:
And at anchor: