Skip to main content

The Guts Behind the Gear

Harken has been supplying gear to America’s Cup competitors since the early 1970s, and been providing the winch and hardware packages for both challenger and defender since the 1995 match. “As you would expect, the Cup match in Valencia was very interesting,” says Harken’s Global Manager, Mark Wiss. Harken supplied the batten car systems for all three masts BMW Oracle developed for their soft

Harken has been supplying gear to America’s Cup competitors since the early 1970s, and been providing the winch and hardware packages for both challenger and defender since the 1995 match. “As you would expect, the Cup match in Valencia was very interesting,” says Harken’s Global Manager, Mark Wiss. Harken supplied the batten car systems for all three masts BMW Oracle developed for their soft mainsails. When the third mast fell down in San Diego, the wing that the team had been building in Anacortes, Washington had just arrived there. With the third rig out of action, the crew installed the wing, the team went sailing with it and they never went back.

“Actually the soft rig batten cars turned out to be a great example of the trickle up theory,” says Wiss. “The tracks for the batten car systems on the first two Oracle masts were attached with screws but we glued the third one; it was first tried by the Telefonica crews in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Gluing the tracks saved a lot of weight by eliminating the screws and of course there are a lot fewer holes in the mast. This technique will soon have a much wider audience.”

But Harken, as usual, was asked to come up with plenty of special items. The block controlling the canting wing on USA, for example, had a sheave diameter of about one foot and a working load of around 30 tons!

Finally, both boats used Harken’s 1135 carbon winches fitted with special load pins that can electronically sense when the load on the winch approaches a specified number. When the number is reached, an alarm goes off and the winch automatically stops turning. “Here again,” says Wiss, “I’m sure this feature is something that is going to be embraced by a much larger group of users.”

Related

Background-02

Notice to Mariners: A Blog from the SAIL Editors

As a teenager, I stumbled across a copy of Derek Lundy’s Godforsaken Sea in the back room of a used bookshop. I had never heard of the Vendée Globe and frankly found all the boat-speak in the first 50 pages a little difficult to get through. But Lundy’s storytelling and the draw ...read more

Screen-Shot-2022-01-13-at-9.26.59-AM2048x

VIDEO: Celestial Navigation Episode 2

Celestial navigation is an invaluable tool for all kinds of sailors. In episode two of the celestial navigation series, learn the basic elements of navigation and the sight reduction process using declination and GHA to determine the Geographic Position and navigate using a ...read more

Film-poster

Cruising: Year of the Sea Shanty

Along with other timeless pursuits, like baking sourdough and gardening, singing sea shanties surged back into popularity during the recent lockdown, thanks, in part, to the app TikTok and its “duet” feature, which allows singers from around the world create music together. By ...read more

Book-Cover-9780712353700

Book Review: Sailor Song

Sailor Song is the ultimate guide to the music of working sailors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The book includes lyrics and sheet music for 50 of the most beloved sea songs with fascinating historical background on the adjoining page. Chapter introductions provide ...read more

Screen Shot 2022-01-12 at 10.42.33 AM

Race Update: RORC Transat

With the fleet leaders about halfway to Grenada, the 2022 RORC Transatlantic is shaking out to be a tactically interesting one. The race, now in its 8th edition, began on Saturday with 30 teams ranging from 70-foot catamarans to a 28-foot JPK 1010. Early in the race, light winds ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_1585

Experience: Fire Down Below

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, local racing had resumed with household crews only. My wife, though, while always up for a pleasure sail, was not up for this kind of thing, so, for the fifth time in what was any measure an unusual sailing season, I found myself singlehanding my ...read more

BestBoats2022-logo

Best Boats 2022

In case you hadn’t heard, the fall 2021 boat show season was one for the record books. If there was ever any doubt the sailing public still enjoys making its way to Newport, Rhode Island, or Annapolis, Maryland, to see the latest in boat design, those doubts were put to rest ...read more

01-LEAD-Dominique-David-2048x

Mulithull Show Coming to La Grande-Motte

After a year without boat shows, 2021 proved to be a blockbuster summer and fall for events around the globe, and the International Mulithull Show is looking to continue that trend in 2022. First held in 2010, the show, which takes place in La Grand-Motte, France, on the shores ...read more