Sunday on San Francisco Bay was as sunny as Saturday was foggy. It was a magical day for sailing and a magical day to sail for the cause of curing blood cancers. Everyone who came out for the Leukemia Cup felt lucky to be alive, making it all that much more meaningful to help keep others alive to enjoy these days as well. The breeze was a pleasant 12 knots. A mellow flood and warm air made for easy, flat-water racing. The only real challenge was staying ahead of your competitors while not missing the spectacular nature of the day.
Sailors contribute to many good causes, but one of the most significant contributions the sailing community has made to any one organization has been to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Over the years sailing has raised tens of millions of dollars, contributing to saving numerous lives through improved drugs and treatment. The Bay Area event hosted at Corinthian Yacht Club and previously by San Francisco YC has been the most successful in the country. A combination of ideal sailing conditions and generous donors has made it all possible.
If you haven’t sailed the event, make sure you leave space for it in your calendar toward the end of October 2020.
The Baja Ha-Ha’s Grand Poobah — who also happens to be the founder of Latitude 38, in case you didn’t know — took a moment to remind this year’s flock of southbound cruisers that the US Coast Guard has your back, and will hold a lecture to let you know how they can best serve you.
“It is with great pleasure that the Grand Poobah is announcing that Layne Carter CIV, SAR Specialist, District Eleven/PACAREA Command Center/JRCC Alameda — aka ‘Mr. West Coast SAR expert’ — will be in San Diego on the weekend of November 1 to November 3 to meet with Baja Ha-Ha participants,” wrote Richard Spindler on his Facebook page.
“So far the Grand Poobah has Carter slated for two appearances. The first will be Friday, November 1, 2-4 p.m., at Fiddler’s Green Restaurant, Shelter Island Drive. Layne will be there with Lt. Mike Thompson, chief of the Command Center in San Diego. Thompson is a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer. They will give a presentation and be ready to answer questions for as long as anybody has them.
“Layne’s second appearance will be at the Ha-Ha Kick-Off Party at the West Marine Super Store on Rosecrans in San Diego on November 3. Layne will have a table set up from 1 until 4 p.m. — and longer if necessary — to answer everyone’s questions. As far as the Grand Poobah is concerned, these are incredible opportunities for Ha-Ha folks — and others as room permits — to learn about how to respond to emergencies at sea.
“We know most of you will be very busy getting your boat ready, and know Friday afternoon is not the most convenient time, but hope you can join us. It would be a huge help if you could RSVP so we can plan accordingly. The Grand Poobah believes that the Coast Guard SAR is government at its very best, and hope as many of you as possible will take advantage of these opportunities to meet Layne.”
Olaf Theodore Harken passed away on Monday, October 21, at the age of 80. Olaf and his older brother, Peter, created the hugely successful rope-handling business that bears their name. Harken, Inc., makes marine hardware, hydraulics and winch systems for racing and cruising sailboats of all types and sizes. Industrial hardware applications include the commercial marine, architectural and rope access and rescue industries.
The publisher of Latitude 38, John Arndt, had known Olaf for decades. “I worked with Olaf on the board of Sail America and always looked forward to seeing him at the Annapolis and other boat shows,” says John. “He cared deeply about the product and people at Harken, but also, through his many other efforts, he cared deeply about sailing. We are very thankful to have known Olaf, thankful for all his contributions, and will miss him greatly.”
Olaf Harken was born on May 6, 1939, in Sumatra. He lived most of his life where he died, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Ruth, three daughters, four granddaughters and one grandson.
Preliminary plans include a visitation and service Saturday morning, October 26, at Galilee Lutheran Church in Pewaukee, followed immediately by a celebration at Harken corporate headquarters. For overseas friends, another celebration of Olaf’s life will be held during the annual METS show in Amsterdam in November.
The Harken brothers took a lot of chances over the years. When Peter and Olaf were inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2014, Olaf explained the brothers’ business philosophy: “When trying new stuff our rule is to ask, ‘If it all goes bad, can we survive?’ Then we go to the bar and forget what we just said and do it anyway!”
“Peter and I were not very smart,” Olaf said in his 2015 memoir Fun Times in Boats, Blocks & Business, “but we did know that success is linked directly to trust and treating people with dignity, and maybe a little sprinkling of humor.”
On Monday, Peter Harken told an assembly of the Harken crew: “My brother did all the hard work so I could have all the fun. During the days when the company was just getting going, Olaf was in charge of the money. He kept us in business. If I had been in charge of that we would have been in big trouble. His legacy is in this culture. So, let’s just keep doing what we do. Just keep getting better. You are a great family. Thanks a lot. He’ll be watching you, so no sloughing off!”
Olaf Harken was born in Indonesia at the beginning of World War II. In 1941, the Japanese attacked Indonesia. During the fighting and nightly bombings, Peter, Olaf and their Swedish mother, Ulla, managed to escape to Borneo. Their Dutch father, Joe, joined the very small Dutch army and helped fight the Japanese until his capture. Joe was imprisoned for five years and was not liberated until the end of the war. Meanwhile, Peter, Olaf and Ulla first lived in Borneo, then were troop-shipped to New Zealand for a year, to Australia for another year, and finally to San Francisco in 1944. There they were miraculously reunited with Joe in 1946 after the war was over.
After studying at Georgia Tech, Olaf Harken took an engineering job in New York City, but in 1967 he returned to Wisconsin to help Peter build boats for the college market.
“I got my first lesson in honesty shortly after we started the business — back when we were building those first six boats for Ohio State University,” said Olaf. “Like almost every boatbuilder, we were behind by quite a few weeks. When our customers called and wanted to know when we were going to deliver, I lied. I said they would be ready in about a week. Peter overheard me and was furious. He made me call them back and tell them I was wrong, that we were further behind and would not be able to deliver for a few more weeks. This was very embarrassing, but it taught me a good lesson. For one thing, I didn’t have to keep on lying each week. Taking the beating once is a lot easier than building one lie on top of another. It’s not easy to do and the customer is going to be angry or disappointed, but that’s the end of it.”
In the office, the brothers had a couple of doors on sawhorses for desktops, an old typewriter, a telephone and a file cabinet. A plastic sheet separated the offices from the fiberglass and assembly area. Marketing consisted of all-night drives with Peter at the wheel and Olaf typing brochures in the back seat of an old Chevy wagon. That first year they made $3,800 — together.
The Harkens aren’t sure exactly when the turnabout happened, but Olaf the engineer ended up running the business side of Harken, Inc., with Peter the economist handling design and production. “Peter designed the blocks, and knew more about manufacturing than me,” Olaf said. “Olaf was more patient, better at the business than me,” Peter said. “Each of us was better at the other guy’s education. We kept it quiet, figuring people wouldn’t want blocks designed by an economist.”
On Monday, Bill Goggins, CEO of Harken, said, “You couldn’t have scripted a nicer weekend for Olaf than the one just past. Pewaukee Yacht Club honored Olaf on Saturday night with a Lifetime Achievement Award to a full-house standing ovation. He rose, walked to the front and accepted the award with his usual grace and dignity. The evening was highlighted by Olaf and Ruth on the dance floor. Sunday was a simple Packers game with his family and then, a remarkable chance 30-minute walk with his brother in the sunshine. He died peacefully in his sleep with his loved ones nearby. The company mourns his loss; however the company celebrates his life by doing what we do…every day…into a bright future.”
Tiburon 2 Bed/1 Bath Condo for Sale: $759,000
Open House This Sunday, October 27, 2-4 p.m.: 10 Andrew Drive #60
- Easy drive to 3 yacht clubs/marinas on the Tiburon Peninsula.
- New paint and carpet.
- Upgraded dual-pane windows, slider.
- Silestone kitchen counters; upgraded drawer fronts & cupboard doors.
- Lots of storage.
- Living room & master bedroom open to a large private deck.
- View of Mt. Tam from master bedroom.
- In-unit high-efficiency washer/dryer.
- 1 reserved carport space w/additional open parking; spacious storage room.
- Large community pool and pleasant pool area.
- Excellent Reed District schools.
- Close to Cove Shopping Center, Blackie’s Pasture, bike path, Ring Mountain trails, Richardson Bay waterfront.
- Convenient location, quick access to 101, bus and shuttle to the Tiburon ferry.
- Must be owner-occupied for at least 2 years.
- Available now. $759,000. Tiburon Hill Estates. HOA dues $482.