Many of the sailing purists out there may know what this story is about, but for the non-purists amongst us it should present a surprise, that if you weren’t impacted by the events at the time you will have no doubt heard of the achievements of this legendary Australian.
It’s interesting some of the history and unique facts you find on occasion in a business that boasts 110 years of operation. It’s fitting that a year before the Americas Cup will (hopefully) be contested in Auckland we come across a little bit of Americas Cup history in our archives. In the late 50’s Norman Wright invited Robert “Bob” Miller to run a sail loft in one of our earlier yards, Miller was treated like one of the family.
According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography “A fall from a mast put Miller in hospital for some months in 1958. (Norman) Wright made him a drawing board and Miller put down his ideas for a radical three-man 18-foot skiff. The product, Taipan, performed well enough to encourage him to design a second, more radical, 18-footer, Venom with which he won the World Championship in 1961.”
We fast forward to 1977 and due to a series of events Bob decided to change his name to Ben Lexcen. Now it’s a long bow to draw to think that we may have had any involvement in Ben’s future endeavours, in particular his design of Australia II who holds a place in Australian and sailing folklore, but we’d like to think we may have played just a small part in the evolution of his designs.
If you’d like to read more about Bob/Ben’s life click the following link, a very interesting read.