There are those who believe sailing fast means advanced composites with high-tech fibers, exotic cores and plenty of cash. Very few think of wood when they think of fast, but before carbon fiber, before Kevlar™…there was wood.
I’m not talking about those great big lumbering tall ships or schooners. I’m talking about the pioneers of boatbuilding and fast sailboat racing. Men of vision who saw wood not just as planks and large hunks of trees to be bolted together, but as an engineering fiber. Men like Walter Greene, Jim Brown, Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Brothers Meade & Jan Gougeon aboard their power catamarans with Dick Newick-designed hulls — GOUGMARAN and MAGIC CARPET.
In 2003, my brother Jan and I began talking about building a motorboat. This would be a first for the brothers, who up to this point have focused all our efforts on sailboats. Just a few years ago, it would have been inconceivable that we would ever take up powerboating. But time and circumstances change one’s views, especially as we enter our senior years. We have always regretted that major parts of our home waters, the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron, Michigan, have been too shallow for our sailboats. Some of the most attractive parts of the Bay with the best wildlife have been off-limits to boats that draw more than 18 inches. Continue reading →
What is the simplest way for a home builder to build a good, light hull for a catamaran or trimaran? A few years ago, we set about looking for an inexpensive way to construct a small trimaran that we had developed as a prototype. The answer we came up with was unique: to combine a fiberglass molded “pan” with plywood/glass/epoxy topsides. Continue reading →
The 35′ trimaran Adagio, designed and built by Meade and Jan Gougeon in 1969, survived the harrowing conditions at the finish of the 2002 Chicago to Mackinac race this past year.
The old lady
Adagio, the first large wood/epoxy structure ever built without the use of fasteners, was one of the oldest, and lightest boats in the race. She has now become a testbed as to how long wood/epoxy structures can last. Over the years, the Gougeon Brothers’ test lab has Continue reading →