Here is a tale of the fastest boat not always winning. Robber designed by Peter Stahle and Haken Lindquist, was a truly innovative Quarter Tonner when she was launched for the 1972 season. Exhibiting many features which would not be out of place today – chines, super sharp bow sections with B Max way aft, mast nearly amidships, a bulb keel and the entire crew sitting out upwind behind the helmsman – she was a lightening quick interpretation of the early IOR.
But at the 1972 Quarter Ton Worlds she was leading overall after four races and leading the double points final offshore race when her rudder broke, plunging her to 10th in the final standings. She returned for the 1973 event, a series famous for putting a certain Ron Holland on the map with his winning Eythene design, with improvements to lower the rating and increase light air speed.
Once again, as she had in ‘72, Robber demonstrated great upwind and reaching speed – particularly in a breeze, but once again while leading the series and leading the mid distance offshore race she succumbed to steering problems. She was still in with a shout at winning the Cup if she could place third or higher in the final long offshore race. She was leading this race when she sailed into a wind hole that the fleet following was able to sail around. She ended up seventh overall, but in the process changed the very nature of what made for a quick small IOR boat. The design partnership of Peter Stahle and Harken Lindquist- creators of Robber – deserved far greater recognition in the race boat world than they ultimately enjoyed.
Robber was way ahead of the IOR game and equally well ahead of the Bruce Farr interpretations that came to dominate IOR in later years. Whereas many boats that didn’t quite win went on to give their respective designers international acclaim, Robber was perhaps too radical for mainstream taste and quite frankly there weren’t enough owners with sufficient imagination to allow this true breakthrough design style an opportunity to thrive at levels such as the One Ton Cup, Admirals Cup and even Maxi’s.