Rolly Tasker, Australia’s First Olympic Sailing Medalist, Dies at 86

Western Australia’s pre-eminent yachtsman, Rolly Tasker, has died at his home on the Mandurah canals after an illness.

Roland Leslie Tasker, born in Perth on March 21, 1926, was Australia’s first Olympic sailing medallist when he won a silver medal sailing a Sharpie at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

That success included another of the nation’s renowned yachtsmen, Malcolm ‘Huck’ Scott, as crew. Two years later, he won his first world championship in the Flying Dutchman class.

Tasker went on to win many championsips in his dinghies, all called Falcon, until he took on ocean racing and between 1969 and 1985, he dominated the competition with five yachts, all called Siska.

In the 1978 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Siska IV was denied official starter status on a technicality. Undaunted, Tasker started five minutes ahead of the fleet and crossed the finish line 20 hours ahead of line honours winner Apollo.

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