The real fuel behind a company's success is its people. Peter and Olaf Harken recognized this basic business principle more than 50 years ago when starting Harken/Vanguard in the lake country of Southeastern Wisconsin. Since those early days, Harken has grown from a backyard dream, to a global reality with group offices around the world and distribution in 48 countries.
Harken gear dominates events like the America's Cup, the Ocean Race, the Olympics and the Maxi World Championships. Harken blocks, travelers, winches, and hydraulics are aboard everything from the smallest dinghies to the largest megayachts.
The Harken story has been full of twists, turns, successes, and reinventions. But through it all, the commitment to excellence while challenging every aspect of the status quo, has remained the same.
With an eye focused on the future, Harken has established new, efficient production facilities in the USA and Italy. Ownership and responsibility for manufacturing and quality control is a relatively recent development at Harken.
By bringing production in-house and adding sophisticated machinery, highly trained technicians, the innovative ideas of engineers, and enhanced work-flow models, we believe we’ll continue to discover unlimited possibilities for growth.
Our US Corporate Headquarters and Harken Italy are ISO 9001:2015 Certified.
Robotics and expanded manufacturing capabilities allowed for Harken’s first significant growth outside the sailing industry. Initially, our in-house machine shop supplying companies with component valves, shafts, plates, terminals, and a myriad of other outsourced products. This steady and challenging business keeps our factory operation run closer to capacity and helps justify investments in ever more manufacturing technology.
Perhaps even more significantly, Harken marine block, winch, traveler, and furling systems have been adapted for use in the industrial sector. The high strength, minimal weight and sizes make these products the perfect choice for high-load rope management systems in a range of industries: commercial marine, utility, urban and mountain rescue, wind power, architectural, and stage and theater to name a few.
In 2019 and 2020 Harken manufactured its first ‘industrial-only’ products: the CMC Clutch, a multi-purpose, wearable, rope ascend/descend product, and the Ninja, the first single-rope foot ascender with symmetrical cams based on our Cam-Matic sailing cleats, came to market. Strategic acquisitions of the Harken Industrial companies, Elevated Safety, headquartered in NE Illinois, and Cascade Rescue of Sand Point, Idaho have recently been completed.
The growing Canvas division supplies customers with boating and industrial canvas products. Harken boat covers are custom measured and fit; the popular soft luggage line is designed and handmade here. Harken Canvas ramped up its industrial production with contract cutting and sewing for commercial businesses: law enforcement, medical, drilling industries, and entrepreneurial start-ups.
The Harken Hoister is also going strong with a variety of garage storage lifting systems for canoes/kayaks, Jeep® and truck hardtops, bikes, and the ever more popular stand up paddleboard.
As our business continues to expand, Harken has never strayed from our core values of product excellence and customer first approach-from the friendly voice that answers the telephone, to one-on-one support from our expert technical and customer service staff. As Harken looks to the future, we’re working hard to assure the guiding principles established by Peter and Olaf more than 50 years ago, will never change.