Famed Norwegian yacht designer Johan Anker may be smiling down on Helsinki this summer when three of his 12mR designs—Vema III (N-11), Thea (D-1) and Nini Anker (N-15) finally meet on the racecourse at the 2021 12mR World Championship.
“In the world of classical boat enthusiasts Johan Anker (1871 – 1940) is known as a master of elegant ship lines who achieved an outstanding reputation in his period of activity not only as designer and builder of many successful yachts but also as successful sailor”. – Robbe & Berking Classics
Anker Design #434, now named Nini Anker (N-15) was the last of 20 twelves conceived by the prolific naval architect in 1939. The onset of World War II and Anker’s subsequent passing prevented his ultimate design from being realized at that time. It was not until 2011 that Erik Tingleff Larsen commissioned Robbe & Berking Classics to build the yacht based on original plans retrieved from the Johan Anker Foundation collection at Oslo’s Norwegian Maritime Museum.
The beautifully-built, mahogany-hulled masterpiece, initially named Siesta (DEN-1) was launched in 2013. Unfortunately, due to her experimental spars she was not able to “measure-in” as a true 12mR under the International Class Rule. Sadly, Larsen’s poor health and death in 2016 kept #434 off of the water until her current owners purchased and refitted her to comply with 12mR measurements. Finally, after 81 years, Nini Anker (N-15) made her racing debut at Flensburg in 2020.
Why “Nini Anker”?
Johan Anker’s wife, Nini Roll Anker, was a famous Norwegian author in her own right. A staunch republican with socialist sympathies she was sometimes called the “communist in residence” at the court of Norway. The Ankers were close to the Royal family and served as second parents to the young Crown Prince Olav, who was a great friend to their son Erik. (Nini’s maiden name, “Roll” is not included in the yacht’s current name due to limited space on her narrow transom.)
Nini Roll Anker at Sea. ~ courtesy: Great Norwegian Encyclopedia
We have briefly raced against some of the German and Danish boats in August last year and are excited to compete in our first full season after long winter months with enormous modifications and improvements. The boat is a beauty and would definitely win a ‘Miss’ contest.”— N-15 Syndicate member, Dirk Lohmann
Nini’ Anker’s World Championship debut at Helsinki will certainly be followed with great interest by her many admirers including 12mR enthusiasts, historians and all lovers of classic yachts. In addition to meeting her Anker sister ships– Vema III (N-11) and Thea (D-1), she will compete with 12s that she would likely have met at Cowes Week and Hankø in 1940– if only she had been built.
For more information about Nini Anker (N-15) and her team, contact Dirk Lohmann