One thing distinguishes the foiling generation… the flow of technical development often goes in the opposite direction from usual. Harken embraces that.
The Harken process of developing new products usually follows a similar path: identify a market need, design, refine and engineer a product that fills it in a way no other does, then manufacture, package and launch. If the need stays big enough and the product performs well enough, you’re onto a winner. Now Harken are experimenting with a ‘skunkworks’ approach that fast-tracks niche products to help the world’s best sailors perform even better.
Literally and figuratively, grand prix and Olympic sailing classes move fast. And that has revealed development opportunities. So Harken have adopted a ‘quasicustom’ approach, to accelerate their product design and take those opportunities. The result is a growing suite of seriously niche products that execute on their design objectives well but are also specialised. Few sailors will need them but they will make a big difference to those who do.
The three most recent are the Harken Grand Prix (GP) mainsheet system for high-performance catamarans like the newly foiling Nacra 17 and F18s, the Harken Fly 29mm high-strength blocks, and an adaptation of the Ratchamatic block. Read on.