Rolly Tasker: West Australian Rolly Tasker, an Australian sailing legend, died on June 22 in Perth at the age of 86.
Rolland 'Rolly' Tasker AM was born on March 21, 1926. He
started sailing at age six and won Australia's first Olympic
sailing medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. He and Malcolm
Scott won a silver medal in their 12[m.sup.2] Sharpie and in 1958
Rolland won the Flying Dutchman World Championship.
He first operated a sailmaking business on Western Australia's
Stirling Highway in the 1950s, which later moved to North Fremantle. He
was to subsequently establish a sailmaking business, Rolly Tasker Sails,
in Phuket, Thailand, employing around 400 staff.
From 1969 to 1985 Tasker dominated ocean racing in Western
Australia with five sister yachts all called Siska. In the 1978 Sydney
to Hobart Yacht Race, Siska IV was denied official starter status on a
technicality. Tasker started five minutes ahead of the fleet and crossed
the finish line 20 hours ahead of line honours winner Apollo.
He won Division A in the disastrous 1979 Fastnet race. In the
Parmelia Yacht Race from Plymouth to Fremantle in 1979 he took line
honours and the handicap victory.
His performance in the inaugural Fremantle-Bali race in 1981 stood
for 30 years. He took line honours in a time of six days, 15 hours and
39 minutes for the 1440 nautical mile course.
"He didn't just win it, he almost beat the race committee
there," according to Bernie Kaaks, media director of the race that
Tasker ultimately became patron of. "What's more, his race
record stood until it was beaten only last year by a state-of-the-art,
all-carbon-fibre 62ft yacht with a hardened race crew."
Tasker was inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions
in 1986 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1996. He became a Member
of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his services to sailing.
In April 2008-fasker opened the Australian Sailing Museum in
Mandurah, WA, with exhibits of the America's Cup races from 1851
and famous sailors from Australian sailing competitions. Twelve lifelike
icons of the sailing world form part of the display, along with over
2001/12th model yacht fleet class examples.
Rolland's biography, Sailing to the Moon, which detailed his
business and sailing activities, was published in 2008. He passed away
peacefully in his sleep at his home on the Mandurah canals at 2am on
22nd June, 2012.
Rolland 'Rolly' Tasker is survived by his third wife