Much has been said about how the new multihull America’s Cup has not contributed much to the development of mainstream big boat racing, and this is not untrue: very little of all that clever work that went into spar, sail and boat design and fabrication over decades of Cup racing is being developed any longer to produce a trickledown benefit for the larger racing audience that still enjoys monohull racing.
However, there is one supplier to the AC programmes who has been consistently adapting to the new platforms and tenaciously innovating to find solutions, and some of these ideas have proved to offer tangible benefits to the broader racing public: Harken.
A lot of focus has been placed on faster hydraulic systems to transfer energy in the controls on AC foil and wing systems, and Harken is a clear leader in this field. Yet Harken has also been active on more traditional line-handling systems, of which the Air Winch is one of the most significant innovations (Air Winch was a category winner at the 2016 Dame Awards – the most important competition for new concepts and designs in marine equipment). – Read on.