In 1946, an eighty-year-old boat builder in Burgess, Virginia, Tiffany Cockrell, was approached by a young New Jersey fisherman Frank Mundus. Mundus needed a strong, seaworthy boat from which to commercially harpoon swordfish and catch giant tuna. The boat also needed to carry 20 passengers for bottom fishing in the off-season.
Together, the old boat builder and the young fisherman sketched out a plan on a 42” window shade. The shade became the blueprint for the 42’ Cricket II. Cockrell, who had never sailed on the ocean, knew the boat had to be extra-special. He built an extra-large frame with a high freeboard. Instead of one inch planks, he used two inch yellow pine from lumber mills in North Carolina. A six cylinder Gray marine engine provided seven knots. Upon completion, the vessel Cricket II was launched and sailed north to the fishing harbor in Brielle, New Jersey.
In 1950, Mundus had the opportunity to move the Cricket II to a newly established sport fishing village in Montauk, New York. Sport fishing was booming there with hundreds of customers riding the train (the “Fisherman Special”) from the city every weekend. There the Cricket II became very popular with its flamboyant captain, sporting his safari hat and shark-tooth necklace - one big toe painted green (starboard) and the other red (port). An evening trip for bluefish changed sport fishing forever....
SHARK! In the mid to late 50’s, Mundus, together with entrepreneur Peter Gimbel of Gimbel Department Store fame, collaborated to build a shark cage. Peter Gimbel was an avid diver and sportsmen. Together, he and Frank built and assembled a shark cage prototype in Frank’s workshop at Montauk Point, and began experimenting with underwater photography and studying shark behaviors. The Cricket II was the first vessel to implement this technology, paving the way for marine scientists and photographers alike.
The study of sharks, inspired by meeting them personally in an underwater cage, led to a shark-tagging program which biologist Jack Casey and Frank developed to track the migration of different types of sharks. The Cricket II would become the first vessel to tag sharks for study.
Send Veterans Fishing!
The Cricket II’s rich history - beginning with the craftsmanship of her design and continuing with record-setting sport fishing, catch/tag and release programs, a rescue at sea, species research and even a portray-al on the big screen - merits her a place in our country’s maritime heritage. That she's been restored for a new purpose in support of our veterans makes her all the more special.
Enriching the lives of Disabled Veterans and
combat-wounded warriors with fishing adventures aboard the Cricket II
Restoration & Preservation Project, Inc.
Save the merchant fees charged for online transactions and send your donation directly! A receipt will be sent by USPS. Make payable to
Cricket II Project, 295 Johnson Point Road,
New Bern, NC 28560.
Captain Joseph DiBella
252-725-4277 or firstname.lastname@example.org