Harken (b. 1938) grew up in the Philippines and emigrated to the
U.S. to attend Georgia Tech where he graduated with a degree in
industrial engineering , became a U.S. citizen, and joined the Navy.
After a tour in Vietnam he joined brother Peter in Wisconsin as founder
of Vanguard Boats in 1967.
Olaf gained recognition as the
preeminent builder of many one-design dinghies and Olympic-class boats.
In building his own hardware for the boats he also started Harken in
1968. After selling the boat building concern in 1985 to concentrate on
hardware, the Harken name became synonymous with manufacturing
innovative equipment for which his company continues to receive
recognition with the 2000 DAME Marine Company of the Decade award.
Ever the innovator and leader, Olaf won a Popular Science Award in 1991 for his 65-foot concept racer Procyon,
intended as an inspiration to the boat building community. In addition
to his duties as president of Harken he is Vice Commodore of the
100-year-old Inland Lake Sailing Association, which has 44 member yacht
clubs dedicated to scow racing. He is also the founding President of