I could envision my two young daughters rowing a skiff boat their dad built, but I had to convince my wife. I like to fish and so do my girls, so a good fishing skiff couldn’t hurt. “Think of all the fish fries,” I told my skeptical wife. When I told my brother that I was going to build a boat he asked me, “Why?” I didn’t discover the answer until after the project was completed. Continue reading →
I have just about finished restoring a Gougeon Tornado catamaran. I’ve always had and loved catamarans, and this one had been sitting out in the sun at the Oklahoma City Boat Club for years. Bob, a fellow club member, offered some parts. His plans were to “chainsaw the hulls tomorrow” and put the pieces in the club Dumpster. That was the push I needed. In a moment of insanity, I told him there was no way I could let him do that. Continue reading →
Designing and constructing a successful skeg for Sparks (our 30′ hybrid electric launch featured in Epoxyworks 32) took some head-scratching. But in the end, it was just another combination of wood and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Our skeg needed to be functional and age gracefully, yet be reasonably quick and easy to build and install. This project was an ideal opportunity to explore the limits as well as the advantages of combining wood with epoxy to engineer simple solutions to complex problems. Continue reading →
A couple of years ago my son Ian asked me about building an A Class catamaran. Having built several of these in the past and knowing what was now on the market, I came up with a build method that would:
Allow us to build a competitive design.
Be at or under the class minimum weight of 165 lb.
Be as strong and stiff as anything on the market.
Be competitive in quality and price, but not get trapped in exotic equipment expense. This meant no vacuum bag, no pre-preg, no resin infusion, and no autoclave.
Cover Photo: On July 9, 2011, the 40′ catamaran STRINGS was launched at the Gougeon Brothers boat shop on the Saginaw River in Bay City, Michigan.
Jan Gougeon’s monumental launch of STRINGS occurred in July of 2011, over a decade after the birth of the project. Jan passed away on December 18, 2012. We miss him. —ED
In Epoxyworks 17, we published a photo with the following caption: In the recess of the Gougeon boat shop loft, something unusual is taking shape out of plywood, foam, carbon fiber, and epoxy. There is a minimum of plans and drawings. It evolves, piece by piece, mostly from its creator’s head. It’s not a trimaran. Not exactly a catamaran. Technical you probably wouldn’t call this a hull. It’s more of a fuselage. (There is an aircraft canopy involved.) For now, let’s call it Project J. We’ll keep an eye on this project in coming issues and see what develops.Continue reading →
At the La Routa Maya canoe race in Belize, SA., we saw a natural progression from chopping canoes out of logs to fiberglassing strip-planked boats with WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. Strip-planking may have been the first step after the dugout in the evolution of boatbuilding techniques; the way the quality of wood is going, it might be the last to survive. With our strip-planked hull faired and the outside stem attached, there are many techniques that could turn these strips into a boat. Continue reading →
I decided on my boat Ion, a 34′ power cat, because I wanted an efficient, modest, contemporary, and quiet running yacht for cruising the Intra coastal waterway, Chesapeake Bay, Bahamas, and the Great Lakes in my retirement. The boat would require the ability to safely cross several hundred miles of open sea at a good cruising speed.Continue reading →
Editor’s note: The Michigan School is no longer in operation.—November 18, 2014.
Located in the Petoskey area of northern Michigan, The Michigan School’s nine month vocational program will teach students contemporary boat building and marine industry skills. Composite manufacturing technology is used extensively in a number of industries such as aerospace, recreation, transportation and alternative energy. The skills learned at TMS will be widely transferable.Continue reading →
I built my kayak THERAPY after I fell in love with the North Star baidarka-style kayaks developed by Rob Macks of Laughing Loon Custom Canoes & Kayaks in Maine. But when I tried one out, the cockpit was too roomy for me. So, I bought plans for the smaller Fire Star. When I realized it was going to be smaller than I wanted, I put the Fire Star plans into my CAD program and blew it up proportionately to be halfway between the two models. Continue reading →
This shortened version of a Grand Laker canoe is very popular on the big lakes in Maine. It was built by architect Victor Trodella of Yarmouth. It is 16′ 6″ long, 42″ at the beam, and is equipped with a 2 hp Honda outboard, oars and oarlocks, and of course, paddles. Trodella says, “WEST SYSTEM gave me fabulous results… again. Thanks for your advice.” Continue reading →