HISTORY OF ROLLY TASKER
Rolly Tasker is one of Australia’s most successful racing sailors and is one of Australia’s greatest sports persons.
Rolly Tasker was born in 1926, in Western Australia and introduced to sailing at an early age. As a young boy his favourite past time was making model yachts and aeroplanes. At the age of 10 he built his first dinghy and from then on sailing became his life long passion: building many racing yachts and mastering the art of sail making. In his racing career he was Australian Dinghy Champion ten times and won over 2000 races, including Australia’s first Olympic sailing medal at the 1956 Olympic games in Melbourne, where he collected the Silver Medal, sailing a Sharpie. Two years later he took his first World Sailing Championship Medal, in a Flying Dutchman. Rolly Tasker personally designed the sails for Australia’s first America’s Cup Challenge in 1962, when he accompanied the team onboard the challenger ‘Gretel’.
Between 1969 and 1985 Rolly dominated ocean racing in Western Australia, with his five personally constructed yachts: all called ‘Siska’: winning numerous ocean racing events, including first place in the Queen Victoria Cup, raced in the waters off Cowes in England, plus first place in A division during the disastrous 1979 Fastnet Race, when 19 crew members of other yachts lost their lives. He won many long distance ocean races, one being the 1979 Parmela Yacht Race from Plymouth, England to Fremantle, Australia. His ocean racing distance was 340,000 nautical miles. During over sixty years of competitive racing he is proud to boast that there was never an occasion when he and his crew were forced to retire because of sail, spar or deck gear failure.
Rolly Tasker inducted into Australia’s Sports Hall of Fame in honour of his sailing achievements and named as Western Australia’s Best Ever Yachtsman only recently.
Unlike today, no sponsorship deals existed, so Rolly had to design, build and fund all the yachts himself. Rolly Tasker coupled his sailing experiences with his earlier knowledge working as an accountant. As result he became a very sound businessman and created one of the world’s largest marine businesses, incorporating sailmaking, spars and rigging, rope, tool and die making, marine hardware, using the latest electrically operated plastic injection modling machines.
Over his long career, Rolly Tasker built and operated sail lofts in Australia, Hong Kong, France, USA and Thailand and is currently exporting to 61 countries from this last mentioned one on Phuket Island. It is his twelfth sail loft and each new sail still carries the original red sail with a black boomerang motif, which went out with the first sail made in his first sail loft in 1949. Rolly Tasker has seen production of over two million sails since that first one.
Rolly also has another interest apart from his businesses. In his home town of Mandurah, Western Australia, he has self financed and built a magnificent sailing museum: aptly called the Australian Sailing Museum. There you will find the records of the sailing history of Australia’s most successful sailors since 1861. It also houses all the models of the America’s cup Challenger and Defender since 1851 plus models of 132 Australian class yachts to reach fleet status.