Cover Photo: A small sampling of the Gougeon 12.3 canoe family. Robert Monroe’s cold-molded canoe (foreground) came from a half-mold that eventually resulted in the a 12.3 mold (object directly behind first canoe) which has been used since 1989 to produce dozens of offspring that reflect a wide raged of tastes and technology.
Above: The latest generation of employees and their Gougeon 12.3 canoes.Building a Gougeon 12.3 has become a rite of passage for new employees.
The Gougeon 12.3 canoe represents several decades of experimentation by employees of Gougeon Brothers, Inc. Dozens have been built but no two are exactly alike. The evolution of the Gougeon 12.3 parallels our love of boating, passion for innovation and desire to build better boats—all of which contribute to the products we produce today.
Above: Tom’s wife Mary paddles aboard her Gougeon 12.3 kayak on the Rifle River Recreation area in Lupton, Michigan.
I recently modified the deck of my wife Mary’s fiberglass canoe (one of dozens built from the Gougeon 12.3 mold) to make it more seaworthy and to facilitate a spray skirt. More like a kayak. Previously, the decks covered only the ends of the boat, leaving the middle 40% wide open. I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out.
Above: Captain James R. Watson in his kayak. Note how the kayak rides at anchor from the bow.
Kayaks are versatile craft. I’m a lucky guy who has had decades of pleasure cruising, exploring, fishing, and simply relaxing on many different streams and lakes throughout Michigan and Canada in my stripper kayak. Comparing the investment dollar per pleasure derived, my kayak wins hands down over all the other watercraft I’ve owned. In her wake, I’ve been taught many lessons, albeit some the hard way. Here are a few I thought worth sharing. Continue reading →
…to not-so-wild rivers (below) where the fish are.
The wet winter months in Oregon are perfect for garage projects like boat building and car restoration. They are less than “ideal,” however, if you want a perfect epoxy finish for your boat and your garage is unheated. Continue reading →
Above: Project Brighter World on demonstration day. The boat performed very well, sailing at windspeed even though it was about 30% heavier (due to the heavy batteries) than the normal sailing vessel design weight. The project was considered a tremendous success.
In early 2007 Impossible Pictures of London, U.K. approached me to participate in a boat demonstration using a Flettner rotor-powered trimaran. They were filming a demonstration for the Discovery Channel’s Project Earth series. Our program would be called Brighter World. Two atmospheric scientists, John Latham and Stephen Salter, had devised the Albedo effect, a way of changing the reflectivity of clouds to deflect some of the sun’s heat, cooling the oceans. It required a flotilla of vessels to seed clouds with small saltwater particles. Our trimaran would be a prototype for this type of vessel. Continue reading →
Above: The proa Slingshot was one of the true pioneers of speed, topping out at 40 knots.
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. Continue reading →
I’ve had a strong interest in airplanes since I was a kid. I had always built model airplanes and went to air shows as often as possible. I loved the “warbirds,” and built many models of them, and of other more-common aircraft. Of course, I had always wanted to fly, to become a pilot, but for many reasons, I couldn’t make that happen. During my college years, my interest in aircraft waned, but after college, I moved to Alaska, and of course, aircraft are part of the Alaskan lifestyle. Continue reading →
Above: the state-of-the-art lab where Gougeon chemists perform much of the company’s epoxy testing.
By now most of you know that we are the manufacturers of WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. But you may not know what is involved in the manufacturing and more specifically, the formulating of WEST SYSTEM. It’s not just slapping some chemicals together and then packaging it up into a pretty box. To date, we have performed thousands of tests and generated thousands of test results. Continue reading →
Above: Robert Patenaude performs emergency rudder repairs with G/flex so he can get back into the regatta and take first place.
Robert Patenaude had ten miles left to reach the finish line in the Bermuda One-Two offshore race when a 30-ton whale hit Perseverance, his C&C 41, seriously damaging the rudder. Not content to drop out of the competition, he called on his racer friends to help him remove the 160 lb, 9′-long rudder from the boat while it was still in the water. He reasoned that if the contenders in the Puma or Vendee Globe races could make major repairs without dropping out of a race, he could too. Continue reading →
Salmon growing up in a custom-built progressive ecosystem, ready for release.
By Ken Filipiak
The science teacher at the school where my wife works (West Ottawa Macatawa Bay School in Holland, Michigan) called me for help with his leaking aquarium which had flooded his classroom. This was no ordinary aquarium; it was one he had custom-built to show a progressive ecosystem—a brook to a stream to a pond for raising salmon. Continue reading →