Rolly Tasker – Phuket and Aussie sailing legend dies at 86
22 June, 2012
Story by Lana Willocks and Alan Morison
Rolly Tasker, perhaps the greatest yachtsman ever to call Phuket and Australia his homes, is dead at the age of 86, say reports from Australia.
Rolly Tasker was the ancient mariner, a man whose sun-bleached face told the story of 7000 competitive races over decades under sail in salt water.
He started in sailing at the age of six and in old age, established the Australian Sailing Museum.
His self-named sail-making loft in Chao Fa Road West made acres of sails that spread above the world’s yachts, in all classes and all sizes. About 400 locals are employed there.
Most of the sail-makers are women. They were in tears today on learning of Mr Tasker’s death.
He was an Olympic silver medal winner, and the saga of how he should have won the gold in 1956 is just one of the incredible tales of a life that has already become a biography to rival that of Australian cricket great, Donald Bradman.
To spend time with Tasker was an amazing experience. His greatest achievement, he says, was in sailing so many races and never failing to complete a single one. He also never lost a crew member.
Born into the days of timber, rope and sails of natural materials, Rolly Tasker sold modern-day synthetic materials because it was what sailors wanted for speed. But he swore no modern materials could match the traditional ingredients.
Mr Tasker died peacefully in Australia at 2am today, his family says. His is survived by Kerry, his third wife, who makes a home on Phuket and in Western Australia.