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Thorvald Poekel was a Danish-American naval architect, mechanical engineer, yacht designer, and boatyard owner. Born in 1866 in Naetred, Denmark, he served as an engineer in the Royal Danish Navy before emigrating to the United States and becoming a naturalized citizen in 1893. 


During the 1890s, Peokel was employed by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Compony in Bristol, Rhode Island, where he served as Chief Draftsman and worked on several undefeated America's Cup defenders. According to W.P. Stephens, yachting editor of Forest and Stream, "Poekel was the real designer of Vigilant, Gloriana, Niagara, and Defender. He was also one of Defender's best crew."


After leaving the Herreshoffs, Poekel became Superintendent of the Racine Boat Manufacturing Compony in Racine, Wisconsin. It was at Racine that he designed Vencedor. In 1896, the Logansport Pharos newspaper wrote that Poekel "had some reputation as chief draughtsman for the Herrescoffs (sic) and designed a number of fast yachts they turned out. But this reputation was shared with his employers. In his new position he could create a racer which should be all his own idea. He drew much of his inspiration from the lines of the Defender and Niagara. Adding some invention of his own he had the theory of a craft which he fondly hoped would sail away from anything of its class built."


In 1896, Vencedor became the first American yacht to race in the US-Canada competition (subsequently known as the Canada Cup) on the Great Lakes. Vencedor, reported The New York Times, "was built at a cost of about $10,000 and is one of the most celebrated boats that ever sailed the Great Lakes." During his time in Racine, Poekel also designed Pathfinder for Chicago magnate Frank W. Morgan. Known as the finest and best equipped steam yacht on the chain of lakes,  Pathfinder also served as the judges' boat during the Canada Cup competition.


In the early 1900s, Poekel worked as Chief Engineer for the shipbuilding firm of George Lawley & Son in Massachusetts. "Poekel," wrote the Boston Globe, "was a very cleaver engineering draftsman and had full charge of the construction of the torpedo boats Blakely and De Long for Lawley."


In 1911, Poekel finally had his own business, T. School. Poekel & Co, Yacht, Boat, and Engine Builders, on the banks of the Neponset River in Neponset, Massachusetts. In 1925, he retired to Green Cove Springs, Florida, where he and his wife, Anna, raised their three grandsons, Irving, Charles, and Carl. He died in 1940.

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Marches composed by Thorvald Pöckel, uncle and namesake of yacht designer Thorvald Poekel:

8. Regiments Musikkorps - Under Løvet i Kongens Have - Galop
Slesvigske Musikkorps, Signal Galop by Thorvald Pöckel

"Hare Galop"

Performed by the Royal Danish Music Corps in Copenhagen, Denmark

"Signal Galop"

Performed by the President's Own Marine Band in Washington, D.C.

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