- Category: Lit Bits
- Created: Friday, 16 October 2009 15:17
- Written by Charles Doane
Most would agree that British-born W.I.B. "Gentleman Bill" Crealock was one of the most influential cruising sailboat designers of the 20th century. Some might even say he was the most influential. Back in the early 1970s he massaged an obsolete Eric Atkins design to help create the Westsail 32, the iconic traditional fiberglass sailboat that put the sport of cruising under sail on the cover of Time magazine. The boats he created after the 32, the Westsail 42/43 and several Pacific Seacraft boats that followed in its wake, were great improvements on the original Atkins template and are still deemed some of the most desirable cruising boats ever built among certain elements of the sailing cognoscenti.
The gentleman, alas, has recently died (on September 26) of complications of a broken hip at age 89. He will be sorely missed by all sailors who knew him and/or his boats. What I shall most remember him for is a delightful book he wrote when he was still a young man. First published in 1951, Vagabonding Under Sail recounts a voyage undertaken by Crealock and three young friends aboard an antique wooden gaff-rigged cutter named Content. After prepping the boat in Britain, Crealock and company (including a very worthy canine named Rum Swizzle) spent over two years wandering the North Atlantic from North Africa to South America and the West Indies, landing eventually in New York.Write comment (0 Comments)