Vale Stanley Richard Pocock

Stan Pocock

Louis Petrin writes:

Stan Pocock, age 91, icon of American rowing, son of George Pocock, died on Monday, 15 December 2014.

Pocock Racing Shells was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1911 by George Pocock. Upon George’s death in 1976, the Lake Union-based company was taken over by his son, Stan.

Stan Pocock grew up in Seattle, was an oarsman at the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in Engineering. In the late 1960s, management of the company became Stan’s responsibility while George devoted himself to constructing cedar single shells.

In addition to his role as a boat builder, Stan also was a successful rowing coach. In addition to coaching at the University of Washington between 1947 and 1955, he was the first coach for Lake Washington Rowing Club upon its formation in 1958, and coached several gold medal winning crews in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games.

In 1956, Stan began experimenting with fiberglass construction. In 1961, he built the first ever fiberglass rowing boat – a wherry. By 1979 Stan was running the shop and experimenting with ideas that were ahead of their time. He was first in many areas, including the development of a successful wood and glass laminated composite oar, molded seat tops and adjustable oarlock height spacers. Impressed with innovations in composite engineering from aerospace industries, and adding his own experience to that of the Boeing engineers, he developed the first line of all carbon fiber monocoque racing shells in 1981.

In 1985, Stan passed on the Pocock torch to long-time family friend, Bill Tytus.

You can read more about his life in his autobiography, Way Enough, Recollections of a Life in Rowing published in 2000.

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