Harken is in the business of making sailors great!
I have been sailing competitively since I was 8 years old. When I finally reached the National circuit, one of the most visible companies on the scene was Harken Inc and their amazing staff. They always provided giveaways, made their employees available at the larger events to assist athletes and just promoted the sport way beyond most companies in our industry. Harken has always been more interested in building the sport and getting people involved in sailing at all levels than they were in simply promoting their brand and their products. They are one of the few companies to clearly understand that self promotion is pointless in a sport useless if the sport isn’t in a state of perpetual growth and they clearly love the sport as much as each of us does!
When I started climbing the ranks, Harken Inc and their incredibly responsive staff (and by Harken I mean the people they employ) was there to provide me with guidance, assistance and support before anyone else even knew my name. Scott Norman made a point to reach out his hand and offered his knowledge and guidance when I needed it the most. Scott was able to do this because of the tremendous vision and direction of the company he represents. As the result of Scott, I continued to grow in my skill, performance and my love for the sport at all levels!
As I began to look towards the opportunity of an Olympic campaign (at the age of 15), Harken was the first company to reach out to me to offer their support and encouragement of my efforts in this upwind challenge to be the best of the best! Harken became my first official supporter and have stuck with me through all of the challenges and changes in my ongoing quest for Olympic Gold! I am honored to carry the Harken name on my boat because I know they are out there today supporting sailors as they learn to love the power of Mother Nature and the sport we live and breathe every day!
I am constantly amazed by the innovative products that Harken continually produces…right here in the USA! I just received a shipment of new blocks for my NACRA 17 in preparation for the Sailing World Cup regatta in Miami next week and as I carefully go through my inventory of running rigging…(Harken Blocks) I am amazed at the amount of use…of abuse these products take and continually ask for more of the same. I am on the water ailing 300 days a year in my pursuit of Olympic glory. 300 days of sailing is more use than a typical boat sees in 4 years of aggressive sailing, and I put my rigging through this stress and use each and every year. Tens of thousands of pounds of pressure on tiny plastic parts, pulling, kicking, tripping over as the sun, the salt the wind and well, me do everything we can to force these little bits of technology to fail…and these Harken products simply look back at me and laugh as if to say “is that all you got?”.
I push myself harder than anyone I know. I have a lot to prove…to myself, to my competition and to the world that a teenager can dedicate himself to the attainment of the highest accomplishment in our sport, and stop at nothing to achieve his dream! I know that the stress and the pressure and the schedule and the life are tremendous…trust me, there are days I question everything, but I know that it is pushing through those days that makes an athlete strong. It is times like that when champions stay focused and dedicated and others back down and call it quits. Like the Harken equipment on my boats, I know that I can handle the loads and will look back and say “Is that all I had to deal with?”
Harken as an organization has inspired me to reach beyond my current abilities and to strive for greatness in everything I do. Harken shows me every day that I can accomplish the impossible, that I can do it and that the word “can’t” doesn’t exist in this sport…and in the real world.
When you see me sailing my NACRA 17, or any other boat in practice or in a regatta you will see that in the good days and the bad that I am giving it my all. Just like my first sponsor (Harken), I will not quit, I will not back down and I will always strive to show everyone that this sport gives us a lot of love. It gives us a lot of opportunity and it gives us reason to climb out of bed every day to smile at the weather and say ‘let’s see how we can make this the most thrilling day I have even spent on the planet!”
Harken is an amazing company made up of amazing people. They serve as an example of who I want to be and how I want to live my life. Never say can’t and always find a way to make it happen! Harken is making it happen for my Olympic dreams! Thanks to Scott, Oakley, Peter and everyone at Harken for believing in me before anyone else!
Oh, if you are reading this…go and buy something Harken today. You will be glad you did!