Evolving from sail

Track-and-car safety rail systems were originally designed for maintaining sails, which led to their use in the maintenance of larger sailboats, then deployment in the commercial maritime market, according to Sean Cogan, industrial division sales manager for Harken. Through the sailing community and boatyard network, the systems developed from the incubator stage, with sailors solving one problem and then applying the technology on private yachts.

Before their emergence in the commercial sector, “we saw track-and-cars going mostly on private-owned megayachts with expansive glass windows and multiple decks, so the owners (didn’t have) walkways everywhere,” Cogan said.

The systems are considered a general maintenance cost-saver for the yacht owner. “If you’ve got a 110-foot megayacht, every time you want the windows cleaned, you have to pull into dock or port and people have to use aerial lifts and bucket trucks to access the side of the ship,” Cogan said. “With the track-and-car system, it’s now an integrated part of the ship that the crew can use anytime to go out and do whatever maintenance they need, whether for hull repair, painting or cleaning.”

By Professional Mariner Staff