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Australian sailing legend Rolly Tasker sails away

by The Sail-World Team on 22 Jun 2012
Rolly Tasker - National Sail Supply SW
West Australian Rolly Tasker, an Australian sailing legend died at 2am this morning in Perth at the age of 86. He is survived by Kerry, his third wife.


Rolland 'Rolly' Tasker AM, was born on 21st March 1926. He started sailing at age six and won Australia’s first ever Olympic sailing medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. He and Malcolm Scott won a silver medal in their 12m2 Sharpie and in 1958 Tasker won the Flying Dutchman World Championship.

He operated a sailmaking business on Stirling Highway in the 1950s, which later moved to North Fremantle and he established a sail-making business Rolly Tasker Sails in Phuket, Thailand which employs 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 of which Tasker became patron.

'What's more, his race record stood until it was beaten 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 Australian Hall of Fame in 1996. He became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his services to sailing.

In April 2008 Tasker opened The Australian Sailing Museum in Mandurah with exhibits of the America's Cup races from 1851 and famous sailors from Australian sailing competitions.

Twelve life-like icons of the sailing world form part of the display, along with over 200 1/12th model yacht fleet class examples.

His biography, 'Sailing to the Moon was published in 2008.

He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home on the Mandurah canals at 2am on 22nd June 2012. Tasker is survived by his third wife Kerry.














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