Below, new Yellow Labrador puppy, 'Vicky', at 12 weeks, on the night she was presented to Susana and Brad Robinson.
Willie Crear first started sailing scows in 1957, aboard his father's D scow, the 20 foot predecessor to the M-20/I-20 scow.
He started racing in earnest in 1968, aboard an A scow, and bought his own A scow in spring of 1969, just before his 21st birthday. He continued to campaign on his and other people's A scows from then until the present.
Along the way, he went to work (1973-75) at Johnson Boat Works, where the scow genre really was fine tuned, starting in 1896 when John O. Johnson built his first scow. During that run, Willie was rigging almost all of the new E, C, M-16, D, Y, and X boats produced by Johnson, about 300-400 boats en toto.
Willie fired himself from the boat building business on New Year's Eve in 1975, one of many times that he fired himself from the marine business in order to engage in business activities that could be more lucrative. Again and again, the marine business beckoned him back.
In 1976, he worked with Tom Traff and many other Minnetonka A scow sailors to build the first fiberglass A scow mould, in Long Lake, Minnesota. It was this mould from which the first two fiberglass A scows were pulled, in 1979.
About the same time, he also began sailing in offshore sailboat races, eventually working as Captain aboard two custom boats, both named THUNDERBIRD, and both owned by Rod Wallace. One was a 35' Cook design, and the other was a 41' Nelson/Marek. Both boats were built by Eric Goetz. These campaigns were in the 1979-82 offshore racing seasons.
In 1982, he went to work for Stearn Sailing Systems, and along the way, came up with the idea for a better mousetrap for a headstay luff system, the Tuff Luff. Tuff Luff is U. S. Patent # 4,619, 216.
In 1986, he moved to the East coast, and went to work in sales for Sailing World magazine. Late in 1990, he went to work for one of the clients of SW, New England Ropes. In 1992, he struck out on his own, and started Sterling Rope Company.
In 2004, he got divorced, sold his interest in Sterling Rope to his former spouse, and returned to Minnesota. In 2007, he bought a 3 year old I-20 sailboat, with the intent to race that hull for at least 10 years.
Fast forward to 2010, when the owners of the M-20 mould, M-20 Scow Builders, LLC, originally made by Johnson Boat Works, permitted the use of their mould to make a prototype I-20, which Willie finished in October of 2010.
Past is prologue...Willie is building boats, again.