Johan Anker

Nationality: Norwegian
Years: 1871-1940


Johan Anker was born in 1871 in Norway and took to yacht design and building as his great interest in life. Anker built his first boat in 1889 and went on to form a partnership with Christian Jensen that created the Anker & Jensen yard in 1905. Most of the boat design was done by Anker and the boat building was done mainly by Jensen. They built all types of boats from dinghies to 6, 8 and 12 Metre racing yachts, to schooners. They were also involved in some of the lesser known Class yachts that took off in 1904.

Johan Anker became an internationally recognized yacht designer after entering the 1908 Olympics in Great Britain. The sailing took place on the Solent and Johan Anker raced with his International 8-Metre R yacht Frame. He managed to secure second place in both races. A few years later Johan Anker returned to the Solent for the 1911 Coronation Regatta, this time with the yacht Rollo, an international 12-Metre R design, and returned home with the gold medal.

A 12-Metre Anker design - Magda XIII
A 12-Metre Anker design – Magda XIII

With the International Metre Rule yachts quickly increasing in popularity on the international yacht racing scene, Johan Anker had established himself as a first class designer. With the long sleek and beautiful boats that Anker designed he soon became known as the “Master of lines”, not only in his home country but around the world. In 1915 Johan Anker parted with Jensen and the yard was taken over entirely by Anker who keep the name Anker & Jensen for the business. Anker also had several other successes in yacht racing including a Gold medal at the 1928 Olympic Games racing an International 6-Metre R yacht Norna with Anker at the helm and the Norwegian King Olav as a crew member!

Crew of the 6-Metre ‘Norna’

His best known one-design is the Dragon class. The first built was launched in 1928 and over the years the Dragons have been such a success that they are still raced competitively and continue to attract the sports top names.

The Dragon 'Bluebottle' - Prince Philip's 'Royal Yacht'
The Dragon ‘Bluebottle’ – Prince Philip’s ‘Royal Yacht’



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