Ab Crosby - Racer, Designer, Boatbuilder
To our knowledge, Ab Crosby was the main force behind two boat companies; Crosby Aeromarine Co. and Hydrodyne. We are focusing on the earlier business, the Crosby Aeromarine Co. We know the 1958 and later Crosby's were sold with serial plates indicating that:
1.) The line of boats were called the "Hoosier Line" of fiber glass boats.
2.) Ab Crosby's business was called Crosby Aeromarine Company.
3.) The Crosby Aeromarine Company was a division of Midwestern Industries inc. in Grabill, Indiana.
Through collecting empirical data from members of the Crosby Owners Group, it appears that for boats built in 1958 and later, all hulls and topsides were fiberglass. Pre-1958, chances are your topsides are wood.
Ab Crosby did not do much with the 50's rage of putting BIG fins on his boats. The one exception is the little 14' Sweptfin model, a little two seater rated for 48 hp. The Sweptfin also had a great looking "grill" that ran across the forward deck. We have not been able to locate anybody with knowledge of a Sweptfin to date. You can see one in the 1959 brochure, or on the Yankee Clippers chapter page, cutting (amazingly) across the clipper ship Flying Cloud's bow.
Crosby boats are known for their classic styling lines. The open runabout line's flagship was the 19' Baycomber. Then, there came the 18' Ranger, 17' Fish n'Ski, the 16' Capri and Seaquin models, the 14' Sportsman and 14' and later 15' Hurricane models, 14' Angler (no wheel), and the 14' Sweptfin. Crosby also made closed cruising models including the 17' Cruisette, the 19' Voyageur, and the top of the line 25' Antiqua. The Antigua, Voyageur, Cruisette and Baycomber all utilized motor brackets rather than attaching the motor to the transom. This provided more space in the boats and allowed for larger seating capacity.
Crosby construction was stong and solid. The company used balsa and mahogany for cores and stringers. The balsa was light and strong and made for good cores. Today, however, we find that if these old boats were not stored properly, theres a good chance of core damage and delamination. It can be repaired, but does involve a lot of work, and knowledge of how to repair these condictions.
Crosby offered a couple of different levels in most of the models. The standard models were typically called the "Deluxe" and included bow and stern handles, bow chocks, stern cleats, all around rub rail with polished trim brackets, towing eye, left and right front control mounts, and double gas tank and battery tray.
The higher level model was called the "Custom" and included everything in the Deluxe plus windshield with chrome brackets, single cable steering, harmonizing color upholstery, bow light and staff, stern light on a flagstaff, bow pennant, ensign, and step pads. Electrical wires were molded into the glass in both models.
Further, different finishes were offered. For example, for $50 extra, you could get a "Tu-tone" deck (white over your base color). There were also many, many accesories offered.
The Crosby Owners Group, to date, has turned up the following models which are represented in the group; Hurricane, Capri, Sportsman, and Baycomber. Some are pre-1958 and are the "half and halfs". Others are post-1958 and are all glass.
We also believe we know of a Ranger model in San Diego and a Fish n' Ski in New York that are for sale. We have found another Hurricane and a Seaquin in boat junk yards waiting for owners, although these boats need LOTS of work to make them safe to operate again. A number of the boats in the Crosby Owners Group are undergoing renovations now. The pictures posted represent current status. Visit again and again to watch the progress as these wonderful old boats are brought back from the brink.
I think it's important to spend a few minutes on these boats. The Crosby Sled, other than the Crosby name, has nothing to do with Ab Crosby. After Ab sold Crosby to ADM, ADM continued to make Crosby boats until the early 60's when the company went belly up. The Crosby name was sold to a manufacturer in FL who started producing the Crosby Sled. This was a very popular line of fishing boats in the south. Crosby Sleds were made until around 1967 when a fire destroyed the manufacturing plant. Because the Crosby Sled uses Ab's name, and because they are a boat from the 60's we think they should be included in the site.
Thanks for visiting!!
1956 Crosby Vagabond Deluxe Cruiser Mercury Mark 30 and 55 outboards test
1958 Crosby test with 4 Mercury 60 HP motors
1958 Crosby Fish & Ski Mercury Mark 55E outboard test
1958 Crosby Fish & Ski Mercury Mark 78 outboard test
1958 Crosby Runabout Mercury Mark 28 outboard test
1964 Crosby 18' Vee Sled Mercury 650EL outboard test
1964 Crosby 18' Vee Sled Mercury 1000EL outboard test
1964 Crosby 14' Sea Sled Mercury 200 outboard test
1964 Crosby 14' Sea Sled Mercury 350 outboard test
1965 Crosby 15' Sea Sled Mercury 500EL test
1965 Crosby 15' Sea Sled Mercury 650EL test
1965 Crosby 16' Sea Sled Mercury 650EL test
1965 Crosby 16' Sea Sled Mercury 900EL test