Pocock Singles Project
Matt Cockburn
1968 Pocock Heavyweight Teardrop

July 15, 2014

I recently purchased a Pocock cedar single from Jim Puttler of Poulsbo, WA. It is a heavyweight teardrop with 2 rows of copper nails along the keel and a decal that says Geo Pocock. See attached. Jim rowed at Pacific Lutheran University while an undergraduate and raced the shell in a number of places, including Detroit, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin. Jim also raced the boat in the Head of the Charles, where he placed 14th after having been seeded 68th.

There is no serial number that I can see on the hull (cedar skin). The shell was built for Frederick Mann originally. Jim bought it in 1972 from Mr. Mann who was in his 60s at the time and he said the boat was built in 1968. There is a name plate varnished into the foot plate (right next to the Pocock decal on the deck) which is the following:

    Frederick M. Mann, Jr
    229 37th Avenue North
    Seattle 2, Washington
The boat has not been in the water for a long time, and needs a little work now. I purchased the oars which came with the boat originally. See attached for a genuine OEM G Pocock oar box, maybe the only one in existence.

Best regards,
Matt Cockburn


Hi Jim,

I have been looking at boats for sale since purchasing my ’68 teardrop, but have not purchased any additional boats.

There were 2 for sale in Washington, D.C.; a 1971 Standard named “Vintage” and a second boat, which was built for Secretary Middendorf.

The 1971 boat is the one with the photos (attached) and was recently sold by longtime owner Philip Olsson to Darryl Strickler. Mr. Olsson’s boat was the one related to the Middendorf anecdote:
    "In 1971, when my single was new, one of my fellow members at PBC, Bill Middendorf, was Secretary of the Navy, and of course in 1971 we were right in the middle of the Vietnam War. One day when I returned from lunch, there was a small pink phone message slip on my desk, indicating that I had been called by the " Secretary of the Navy," with the message, “wants to borrow your boat." I knew we were in trouble in Vietnam, but I had not realized it was that bad. Bill did borrow the boat, and he liked it enough to order a Pocock for himself."

The 1972 boat built for Secretary Middendorf (who is still alive, by the way), is currently owned by Garret Rasmussen. I have not seen photos, but he told me that his boat was also restored beautifully by Bruce Lalonde and is currently at the Potomoc Rowing Club. He contacted me to ask if I would be interested in buying his boat, which Garret thinks may be the last built by George Pocock. It has a brass plaque mounted with George’s signature. Mr. Rasmussen’s son also rows, and upon further consideration, they decided to keep the boat. I received the following story about this boat from former UW Men’s Crew manager George Teasdale, who recalled the day Secretary Middendorf picked up his shell and took it for a spin:

    "Concerning the Bill Middendorf Single of the early 70s. Middendorf took possession of the shell, brought it to Conibear Shellhouse (the UW Crew house) during a morning turnout. It was a sweet boat! He put in in the water and took a few strokes. It was interesting to see all the military officers with briefcases handcuffed to them. Erickson pointed out Middendorf to a number of the Naval ROTC guys on the team saying, 'Here is your boss’."
I regret that I cannot make it to the Wooden Boat show, as far as I know. My teardrop is currently on the operating table receiving some attention, including a new deck. The old deck is pretty tatty, now 46 years old.

I have a few more photos of the Biglow shell, and will compose what I recall. I may also contact John to see what he might wish to add. I believe Darryl Strickler also purchased this boat and shipped it to his Illinois location.

Best regards,
Matt Cockburn

John Biglow's teardrop. It was hanging outside above his parent's deck. Note the gold tape. Built by Stan Pocock, who hoped Biglow would row it the '84 Olympics.

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