W.I.B. Crealock dies at 89; yacht designer and author

W.I.B. Crealock, a yacht designer, sailor and sailing author, died Sept. 26 at his home in Carlsbad after breaking his hip in a fall. He was 89.

Crealock was part of the golden age of fiberglass design in the 1960s, when the use of fiberglass made boats quicker and less expensive to build and easier to handle.

He worked for several boat makers, and some of his designs became bestsellers.

He was a good designer, a good sailor and a very good shipmate, said Richard Valdez, retired founder of Orange County-based Columbia Yachts.

Crealock was known for his meticulous concern for details and his rigorous work ethic. He rode his bicycle to work and could be seen late into the night working at his office in Newport Beach.

He became friends with many of the Hollywood set, including Rock Hudson, Jane Russell, Claire Trevor and Natalie Wood, through their interest in boating. For Trevor and her husband, he designed the Lady Claire, a 56-foot trawler yacht.

When CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite bought a boat designed by Crealock, he called the designer to express his admiration.

In 2002, one of Crealocks designs, the Pacific Seacraft 36, was inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame. The citation called the craft a classic American sailboat with an honesty of design that, combined with the highest standards of boatbuilding . . . has shown the sailing industry that there is a place in the hearts and budgets of sailors for a boat created expressly to go to sea and bring the crew back safely.....

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