In a career spanning decades, Sam S Crocker designed and supervised the construction of more than 300 vessels, leaving an indelible mark on the world of classic yacht design.
Crocker was born in 1892 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and grew up in a boating community, which fueled his passion for yacht design. After his studies as a naval architect of Massachusetts Institute of Technology he worked as a draftsman for the naval architect of Newton, George Owen. In 1916, Crocker opened his own business in a small rented yard in Marion, Massachusetts.
Then came the First World War when he became in charge of a construction crew responsible for completing the planking of nine 110-foot submarine chasers on a U. S. government contract for Lawley’s Yard, Neponset, Massachusetts.
After the war he became a designer and draftsman with John G. Alden in Boston where he remained until 1924 when he set up on his own, S. S. Crocker, Naval Architect in Boston. Crocker won an enviable reputation and his creations had a distictive style and great performance.
To mentions some of his designs:
• 52’ Bermudan Cutter Mercury, “perhaps one of his best achievements” according to designer Joel White
• 51’ Barbette, winner of the Port Huron‐Mackinac Island race on Lake Huron in 1927
• 77’ Schooner Jacinta, winner of the Wind Point Race in 1931 (and with facinating Caribbean history in the 60’)
• Schonner Nawanna, class winner in the Detroit-Mackinac Races in 1933 and 1934
• Valkyrie, winner of the Chicago-Mackinac Race in 1934
• Ketch Chantey, winner of New Bedford Race Week in 1930, 1931 and 1932, the Whalers Race in 1933 and winner of class in the Port Huron-Mackinac race in 1936
• Retriever, winner in Class B in the Jeffrey’s ledge Race in 1932
• Grey Gull II, winner of the Huntington-Cornfield Race in 1932 and the Bayside Block Island Races in 1933 and 1934
• Pole Star winner in Class B in the Jeffrey’s Ledge Race in 1933 and the Whaler’s Race in 1934
His dedication to the art of yacht design and his commitment to meeting the unique needs of his clients set him apart as a true master of the craft. Sam Crocker’s story is one of passion, creativity, and a lasting legacy in classic yachting.
Sources: Classic yacht Info, NY Times, Petit St Vincent and others