The sailing world lost one of its own on September 26 when William I. B. Crealock passed away n his Carlsbad, California home. The noted sailor, yacht designer, and author was 89 years old.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1920, Crealock set out to sea in 1932 with three mates to "study the behavior of boats at sea." The group of friends sailed an ancient cutter called Content from the cultural wilds of Morocco to the ecological wilds of Guyana, documenting his experiences in his first book, Vagabonding Under Sail. Other big passages and gripping sailing stories would follow, including a nerve-wrecking voyage through a massive typhoon in the Pacific Ocean. Crealock and his crew lost their mainsail in the blow but successfully and safely managed to bring the boat ashore in Okinawa for repairs before eventually sailing to his adopted home of California.
Stateside, Crealock received his first commission to design Lady Claire, a 56-foot trawler. He drew upon his education at Glasgow University and his time at sea to draw this husky yacht. Crealock's timing into the design world coincided with the golden Age of Yacht Design (1960s and 1970s), namely the early years of fiberglass boats. Many other boats followed, ranging in size from 40 to 70 feet; his designs were both for power vessels and sailboats. Among the later, the Crealock 37, with 362 afloat, is perhaps his most celebrated design (it was inducted into the Sailboat Hall of Fame in 2002), but other Crealock classics include the Westsail 42/43, as well as many custom designs.
Crealock will be remembered as an unassuming, perfect gentleman who spoke the Queen's English, polite to a T and always willing to help a friend, a customer, or a fellow sailor.
He is survived by his wife Lynne, stepson Bevan Iredell, daughter Anne with husband Tom Robinson, and grandson Nathaniel. Crealock's final voyage will take place on November 8 aboard the brigantine Irving Johnson, from which his ashes will be spread into the sea. The public is welcome to watch from Point Fermin Park in San Pedro, California. The family requests that in lieu of flowers please, if desired, send donations to the Los Angeles Maritime Institute's Brigantine Project Completion Loan at www.lamitopsail.org.