The Anker 434, the first wooden 12-metre yacht that was newly constructed of wood in more than 50 years went into the water for the first time. It is design number 434 of the famous Norwegian designer Johan Anker, dating from the year 1939, his last 12-metre and his second-last design overall – his last design ever was an 8-metre yacht.
The war and Anker’s death, due to illness, in 1940 were the reasons why these two boats were never built – until today. Robbe & Berking Classics was able to source and secure all drawings that Anker had made for his last, fantastic 12-metre and built this classic yacht for a Scandinavian customer.
On one hand this might be a newly built yacht that came out of the yard’s building shed to be launched into its element but on the other hand this yacht looks just as it would have done, would it have been built back in 1939.
The mahogany hull beautifully varnished, with a teak deck and a wooden mast, of course without an engine and with only the barest interior: A pure racing yacht from the 1930s. The ribs are made alternately of stainless steel and ash wood, the lead keel alone weighs in at 17 tons.
Johan Anker was known as “the master of the lines”, he was very successful not only as a designer but also as an active racing helmsman himself and his boats, especially his metre-class designs, were recognised as being particularly fast. Design 434 is the last of 20 12-metres that he designed during his career and all his experience and all his knowledge went into this boat.
This proud yacht will be christened during the “Robbe & Berking 12 Metre Open European Championship” for which 14 classic 12-metres will come together on the Flensburg Fjord as one of the largest fleets ever in the history of this class.
Specification of Johan Anker 434
Length overall: 21.65 m
Beam: 3.60 m
Draft: 2.64 m
Sail area as measured: 174 square metres
Johan Anker (1871 to 1940) came from a wealthy family in Halden, southern Norway. In 1908 he helmed the 8-metre Fram to fourth place in the Olympics in England. His biggest Olympian achievement is winning the Gold Medal four sears later, at the Olympics 1912 in Stockholm, which he won with his own 12-metre Magda IX.
In 1911 he sailed his third 12-metre, Rollo, to Cowes to take on and beat the very strong British fleet. The president of the Royal Yacht Squadron commented: »This is what I call sport. They have built their own boat, sailed it across the North Sea with their own crew and have then won nearly all races here!«
Anker was justly regarded as one of the best helmsmen of his time. As he was accustomed to society due to his own family and upbringing, he soon advanced to become the Crown Prince Olav’s personal sailing advisor. Both were soon united by a genuine friendship and this close connection the Royal family brought him respect and business success. He was called “the master of the lines” because, for him, the aesthetics of his yachts was as important as the pure speed. But in worked in his favour that the metre-class rules did produce elegant yachts – true to the old saying: “What looks fine sails fine!”
Source: Photos and words from Robbe & Berking Classics press release on June 17, 2015.