Johan Anker

Norway, (1871-1940).

Anker designed no less than 52 eight-metre designs from 1907 to 1938. Some of his most famous eights are “Fram” (silver medalist at the 1908 Olympics in England), “Taifun” (1911, gold medal in Stockholm 1912), “Sldra” (gold in Antwerp 1920), “Bera” (1922, gold in Le Havre 1924), “Rollo” (1926), “Tamara VII” (originally “Noreg”) and Varg Ill (1927), “Bangalore” (1928) and Silja” (1930, silver in Kiel 1936).

Mr. Anker was one of the chief proponents and developers of the International rule, and thus also designed and built a large number of 12-, 10- and 6-metres. Several of his sixes won the Scandinavian Gold Cup: “Irene” (1922) and “Abu” (1931-32). As a response to the economic downturn in the 1920s the designed a 20m2 “cheap boat for young kids”, that we today know as the International Dragon One-design (1928). The class spread quickly, especialy after being selected for the Olympics in 1948. Although dropped in 1972, the Dragon is still a popular international keelboat class.

Johan Anker was also an internationally famous helmsman, regularly representing Norway at the helm of the country’s newest contender. The yacht was normally designed by him, and financed by the KNS crowd of royalty and shipping magnates. Mr. Anker won a Gold medal in the Stockholm Olympics 1912, at the helm of the 12m “Magda IX”. In the 6-metre class, he won the Gold Cup in 1922, and a 2nd Olympic Gold medal helming King Olav’s 6-m “Norna” in Amsterdam 1928.

Mr. Anker and his partner, the engineer Christian Jensen, managed the Anker & Jensen boatyard in Asker, Norway, producing a large number of wooden yachts to the drawings of both gentlemen, but also by other designers.

Mr. Anker was a knowledgeable and influential member of several committees on the international measurement rules. He was an honorary member of KNS, having served on its board for 19 years. In his memory, a monument was built at the race course in Hankö, Norway, and a foundation has been created to preserve his work as a designer and boat builder.