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Sam Crocker has designed some of the most outstanding classic boats. First a disciple of the well known naval architect John Alden, he then won an enviable reputation quite on his own thanks to his very personal style. Amongst his many designs Mercury is perhaps one of his best achievements, according to Joel White, (the prestigious designer of the Class W traditional boats), as he himself states in the epilogue of the book published by Sam’s son, Sturgis Crocker, showing numerous photos and drawings of his father’s designs, where Mercury bears number 191.
It may be interesting to note that on Mercury C the initials SSC are scrolled into the hull near the bow, a signature for the designer.
A Memorial from www.sscrockerrace.com
Samuel Sturgis Crocker was born in Newton, Massachusetts, Match 29, 1890. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a student in naval architecture. For the next four years he worked as a draftsman with George Owen, a naval architect of Newton. In 1916, Sam opened his own business in a small rented yard in Marion, Massachusetts, where he engaged in boat repairing, building and designing. During th First World War, he was with Lawley’s Yard, Neponset, Massachusetts in charge of a construction crew responsible for completing the planking of nine 110-foot submarine chasers on a U. S. government contract. In 1919, he was associated with Murray & Tregurtha, Quincy, in the building of F-5-L flying boats, and for the next five years, he was a designer and draftsman with John G. Alden in Boston. In 1924, he established his practice as S. S. Crocker, Naval Architect in Boston, which was maintained there until 1956, when he moved the enterprise to the yard of his son, S. Sturgis Crocker, in Manchester, Massachusetts. He continued his activities in designing and buildng at that location until the close of his life in 1964.
Sam Crocker designed and supervised the construction of more than 300 vessels, including commercial craft for fishermen, yachts and racing boats, each individually designed to the special requirements of the prospective owners. Many of his yachts were utilized for pleasure cruises in the waters around Florida and the Caribbean, as well as the New Englad coast. Fast cruising craft designed by him were frequent winners in races on the Great Lakes including the “Barbette”, winner of the Detroit-Mackinac Races in 1927 and 1929; the “Jacinta”, winner of the Wind Point Race in 1931; the “Nawanna”, winner in class B in the Detroit-Mackinac Races in 1933 and 1934; and the “Valkyrie”, winner of the Chicago-Mackinac Race in 1934. Among the salt water racing winners designed by Sam Crocker were the “Chantey”, winner of New Bedford Race Week in 1930, 1931 and 1932, and of the Whalers Race in 1933; the “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; and the “Pole Star”, winner in Class B in the Jeffrey’s Ledge Race in 1933 and the Whaler’s Race in 1934.
In the field of commercial craft, he designed fishing boats, trawlers and seiners, and in this field, he was skillful in planning for both speed and carrying capacity. He assisted in designing the pontoons for the NC-4, a Navy craft which in 1919 crossed the Atlantic to become the first seaplane to achieve that flight. During the Second World War, he was a full-time resident architect in the yard of Simms Brothers, Dorchester, Massachusetts, where he collaborated in the building of submarine chasers and army rescue craft. During the Korean conflict he returned to the same yard as part-time resident architect to engage in the same type of planning and construction.
Year: 1890 - 1964