My Trip To Harken, Inc.
While this summer has been filled with a lot of travel from venue to venue as I continue my pursuit of the Rio Games in 2016, there has been some time to “stop and smell the roses” along my 10,000 mile journey through the USA.
On my way from Racine, WI to Corpus Christi, TX, I stopped at one of sailings iconic brands, Harken, Inc.
Everyone knows Harken for their tremendous US designed and built blocks, winches and yachting hardware that is used by recreational and elite sailors worldwide. Their reputation for high quality products and continually groundbreaking technologies is unrivaled in sport. It is lesser known how much they support the development of competitive sailing here in the USA and around the globe.
When I started sailing Optis at a competitive level, it was rare when Harken was not involved (as a sponsor or supporter) of those regattas. Through their Operations team and specifically Scott Norman’s involvement in the development and training of youth sailors as they learn what it takes to become a successful athlete in the sport, Harken is continually giving their all to help build the fundamentals of a lifelong passion for young sailors. I am surely one of the athletes that has benefited from the companies focus in this area.
When I announced my efforts to work towards Rio in our sport, Harken was one of the first companies that stood up in support of my campaign, and I will forever be grateful for their involvement in my program. Their support helped me to secure my position on the US Sailings Development Team and will continue to push me forward as I focus on the US Olympic Trials that are in my future.
So, I pulled into their brand new HQ with my Chevy truck and a trailer filled with catamarans and was amazed by the presence of this sailing company in the middle of our country. I walked into the office as I was there to experience Harkens operations but also to pick up a new set of covers for my Olympic NACRA17 and the new carbon fibre mast that Hall Spars was delivering to Oakcliff Sailing Center for the US Nationals. What? You didn’t know Harken made boat covers and more?
Harken has designed top quality ballistic nylon covers for many one-design boats and in my opinion, offer the best protection and longevity for boats as they are transported from venue to venue. Their use of the highest quality materials and the attention to detail that Harken is known for is apparent in every stitch of their covers. I have had their covers on my Optimist and Viper F16 boats for years now and they put up with the UV abuse in South Florida and the intense wind from being trailered on highways around the country. If you are in the market for new covers for your boat, come talk to me in any boatpark about why I choose Harken products for anything they manufacture!
My campaign for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio is expensive. Top level coaching, maintenance of competitive boats and equipment and the travel around the globe to compete in the ISAF World Cup events and train with leading athletes in demanding locations all add up to an expensive road to the Games. My daily budget is over $1,000 to cover the expense of getting me to the top of the world rankings and to have a fighting chance at Gold in Rio. The support of Harken and other sponsors, not to mention the private donations of friends and families are what makes this a reality for me and what drives me to push my hardest in all conditions every day throughout the year to achieve greatness as I work towards my goal.
Wish me luck as I compete in the NACRA17 Nationals at Oakcliff Sailing Center this weekend with Katie Flood! I will tell you how it goes, so come back to my blog often!