Michigander on Lake Pewaukee, Wisconson for the 2018 Wisconsin SternSteerers Association regatta. Photo by Jay Yaeso.
Michigander is 40-feet long and weighs 1,400 pounds. It’s in a class by itself and is one of the
largest ice yachts sailing anywhere in the 21st century.
This “A”-class stern steerer carries 360 square feet of sloop-rigged sail. “That’s a lot of horsepower,” said skipper Eric Sawyer. Michigander also sports a 250-square-foot Kevlar® mainsail for better control in more wind. She’ll sail in excess of 60 mph in a 10 mph wind.
I designed this project by scaling down a Chris Craft runabout from pictures I found online.
Hull and Drive Assembly
I started with five rib frames and a center beam temporarily mounted upside-down on a workbench. I glued and stapled the ¼” x ¾” bead-and-cove pine strips to the ribs. Once all the strips were installed, I removed the staples and sanded the hull smooth for the heat-activated 2″ mahogany strips I’d apply later.
Meade Gougeon was excited in 2008. “I’m using Six10 for everything!” he said. He was working on his sailing canoe in Florida. In every phone conversation we had he seemed to find a new use for Six10, “… even for composite layups because of its ‘shear thinning’,” a phrase new to me.
In May of 2018, a perfect application came along for Six10—the teak gunwales capping the plywood endgrain on my prototype Clam Girl.
Here is an inside snapshot of how the composites materials world is growing at my alma mater, Winona State University. Located in Winona, Minnesota, this university has the only accredited four-year undergraduate program for composite materials engineering in the US. Through this program, students learn the fundamentals of engineering while investigating different materials. This program challenges students both academically and creatively. Students are encouraged to ask questions and strive for a deeper understanding of why things are done the way they are done. From this, they can explore how things can be improved.
A pair of Gougeon-built multihulls made with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy decades ago won important races on the Pacific Ocean and Great Lakes in 2018.
Incognito is a G32 catamaran, vacuum bagged composite construction, by Gougeon Manufacturing in 1990. Russell Brown of PT Watercraft in Port Townsend, Washington raced the 28-year-old vessel singlehandedly in the grueling R2AK (Race to Alaska). In the qualifying leg from Port Townsend, WA to Victoria, BC he finished 40 minutes ahead of the rest of the fleet. He then led the race for three days until fatigue set in, requiring him to put finishing safely first. Still, he was the first solo finisher for the second year in a row and knocked more than 24 hours off his record-breaking 2017 win, also aboard Incognito. Continue reading →
Italmas, a one-of-a-kind build underway at Van Dam Custom Boats, in Boyne City, Michigan, is a world-class cruising vessel designed by Stephens Waring Yacht Design. She has been shaped and appointed for her owner to easily enjoy daysailing as well as cruising on the Great Lakes. Distinction and grace have been combined in a traditional manner and squarely pay homage to yachts of the ‘40s and ‘50s. The yacht exudes classic. Continue reading →
Russell Brown’s G-32 catamaran on the cover of Epoxyworks 46, Spring 2018
The work of the Gougeon brothers has been like a guiding light to me starting when I was a young teenager. It wasn’t just the methods and skills they developed that inspired me (and led to my career in boatbuilding), it was the “outside the box” thinking about boat design they employed. While Meade Gougeon led the effort to develop and teach epoxy skills and building methods, it was his brother Jan who had the courage to design, build, develop, and race boats that were very unusual and often counter-intuitive, yet very successful. Jan’s G-32 catamaran is an example of his genius. Continue reading →
About 30 years ago, I built an 18′ wood strip canoe. At the time, my family was young and I could only work on it intermittently. Over the course of six months, I had faired my mold frames, applied the redwood strips, faired the outside of the hull with a keen eye and applied the fiberglass cloth. Two months later I decided to take it off the mold to fair and fiberglass the inside. To my horror, the exterior hull bottom had a big dimple in the middle when removed from the forms. I immediately knew the cause. The humidity in my garage had skyrocketed since the outside of the hull was finished with fiberglass and epoxy. The unsealed inside of the hull had probably gained 4-5% in moisture content since the outside was fiberglassed. Continue reading →
Many boat parts require plywood lengths greater than the standard 8 feet, so joining together two panels of plywood is an important step. The most common methods of joining plywood are the butt joint with backer block, the scarf joint and a hybrid between the two. Each method offers its own distinct advantages and disadvantages in certain applications so it’s important to be aware of each joining method. Continue reading →