R.I.P. Peter Croke, superyacht broker extraordinaire
by Malcolm MacLean
It’s my sad duty to report the death of Peter Croke on Friday December 2nd 2011 at the age of 62 following a long and courageous battle with cancer, taking with him an encyclopedic knowledge of the industry and a dry, mordant wit.
A native of Australia, Peter's career in the yachting industry began with Fastlane Boats which in turn led him to accepting a position as Marketing Director of Lloyd Ship in the U.S. Peter then took on the role of marketing and development at Norship prior to becoming International Sales and Marketing Director at Oceanco. Peter joined Merle Wood & Associates as Managing Director in 1997 and worked on a string of major sales.
Peter is survived by his wife Vicki, sons Simon & Nathan, and his grandchildren Luke & Kylie. Plans for a memorial service will be announced shortly and meanwhile tributes from colleagues in the brokerage community have already been arriving over the weekend:
Says Michael White at Ocean Independence: ‘Peter was one of the very few straight talking, honest yacht brokers in the world. His reputation was untarnished and his honesty, open and forthright disposition placed him in a league of one. Always one to enjoy having fun and a real bon-vivant, he enjoyed fine food, had a great taste for fine wines and was an outstanding, generous and warm individual. Not only the yacht broking world, but the world as a whole is a sadder and emptier place for his passing. He was a man who loved life, enjoyed a joke and whose integrity will be missed by all.’
According to Nicholas Edmiston at Edmiston & Company, ‘Peter was a stalwart of the yachting industry for many years. On moving from the yacht building side to brokerage he brought his calm, unflappable attitude to his new role so that doing business with Merle Wood & Associates was a pleasure. Peter will be sadly missed.’
Jonathan Beckett at Burgess sends a generous tribute: ‘Peter Croke was, in many ways, the unsung hero. In his two roles with Oceanco and later with Merle Wood & Associates he was absolutely "The man behind the man” I first got to know Peter well when he worked at Oceanco and he was largely responsible for the first round of successes at the yard - working hard to put this new Dutch Shipyard on the map - which he did successfully. Oceanco quickly became a force to be reckoned with in superyacht design and construction, able to challenge the best of them.
‘Peter went on to join Merle Wood & Associates and worked with Merle as a very effective two man team. There was nothing Merle did that Peter was not involved in. Never wanting to out-do his partner, Peter was truly the "man behind the man" and they worked relentlessly together with great success for many years, closing some of the world’s largest and most prestigious deals. Peter will be missed by us all.’
On a personal note, I called Peter a few weeks ago to congratulate him on the sale of his listing, Feadship’s 62.3m Fortunato, and his voice was so weak that I knew with dread certainty I’d be writing this obituary before too long. However, the sale of this fine yacht proved to be a final high note as we close the book on the career and the life of a fine man.