Rock stars of the marine industry

Published on December 5th, 2019

METSTRADE is the world’s largest trade exhibition for the international marine leisure industry, held annually in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It’s not a boat show…this is a B2B bonanza which is a who’s who of what’s what.

Because it’s a marine event, there are after parties, and this year attendees at the Rutgerson event had the pleasure to witness three remarkable men who each in their own way contributed to breakthrough advancements in their fields within the marine industry.

Peter Harken, Guus Bierman, and Goran Rutgerson (above, from left), all in their 80s, still active in the companies they started, and still enjoying the industry in which they’ve each made a significant impact.

• Harken’s development of the ball bearing dinghy blocks proved fundamental to sailors’ greater control over all aspects of their boats. Harken is now a worldwide name for all aspects of boat hardware from Finns to the America’s Cup racers.

• Goran Rutgerson’s engineering ingenuity was applied to sail hardware as well as deck fittings, combining exceptional Swedish quality with highly functional design. The Rutgerson Ring for sail corner attachments is recognized by all sailmakers as the only ring to use.

• While both of these gentlemen have their names on the hardware they sell, Guus Bierman elected to call his new sailcloth company Contender way back in 1987. Since then Contender has become the standard for performance spinnaker cloth, Superkote and Maxikote, as well as quality wovens and race finish Polykotes for International One Designs.

“Here they are at METS, meeting customers who are old friends by now and catching up on the market,” notes Duncan Skinner of Contender Sailcloth. “They each have a deep passion for our sport, and no doubt will celebrate again next year at the same time.”

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