Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Harken Looks back on APS's 20 Years
Everyone knows Harken. Famed with inventing the first ball bearing block in 1966 – Harken forever changed the course of performance sailing. Continuously innovating - the Harken product offering has grown over the last 4 decades to not only include hardware but also, soft goods.
In fact, the Harken Ballistic Eco Pants were awarded the DAME Clothing and Crew Accessories Category award for 2011 at METS hosted last week.
CEO of Harken Bill Goggins and Northeast Sales Representative Oakley Jones have taken some time out to talk about the connections they’ve shared with APS over the years in honor of the APS 20th Anniversary. Here's what they really think:
1. What was your impression of Kyle during the first 10 years of APS?
Smart, fun to work with, not afraid to call you out if something didn’t seem right. Kyle is willing to fight for the best interests of the sailors and his employees. I love that about Kyle.
2. From your perspective, how do you think APS has influenced performance sailing in the US?
APS has influenced performance sailing in the US by gathering all the parts, little and big, that someone could ever need in one place backed by people who actually use the parts and have a passion for the sport. When you call APS you’re going to get a sailor on the phone who can talk the talk because they walk the walk. They’re probably still wearing damp shoes from racing the night before!
3. How does APS stand out as a retailer of Harken products?
APS and Harken share some of the same DNA as companies. Both saw a need in the market and have been trying their best to fill it over the years. Hard work and putting the customer first. This makes APS stand out. Their focus is the sailor.
4. Do you have any unique stories pertaining to APS?
I was doing one of the Wednesday morning training sessions I asked one of the guys if I could play “snacktician” bring anything to the meeting. I was told “go to Carlson’s Thai Kitchen and get a dozen donuts.” I thought they were messing with me since I’m from Newport, but sure enough the Thai food place serves a mean donut.
5. What is your favorite METS memory with APS?
We stayed up until 3am solving all of the world’s problems with our distributor for Helsiniki last year. To be precise, it’s our best memory, because we’ve forgotten all details.
6. What is special about APS?
The people. How we, Harken, are treated as partners and not just vendors. They give product feedback and reports back from the field as to how our gear is working.
7. What five words would you use to describe APS?
e. One-Design (please let that be one word!)
The Harken 2.25 and 3.00 Inch 57 mm Ball Bearing Blocks put them on the map in 1968 and are still available today. In 1968, a member of the press said, "...in [his] opinion, it would take years for yacht designers to come up with boats fast enough to stay under the sails that are sheeted with them." Considering the blocks' longevity in the market - it's clear Harken has been a visionary company since day one.
The T2 Soft Attach Block Line is a great representation of where Harken is headed. It is the first block with no fasteners, rivets, or other metal parts - making it what was once unrealistically light.
Brand Spanking New
The New T18 Soft Attach Block deserves the spotlight, too. This 18mm block is small but mighty with a working load of 275lbs. Read more about it here.