When Jan Gougeon built Strings in 2010 one of the most interesting features he included, at least from my point of view, was the float that goes on top of the mast. Due to its zeppelin-like shape, this is also called a blimp or a dirigible. The purpose of the float is to make the boat self-rescuing: if the boat tips, the float prevents it from going any farther than lying on its side. The mast and float are then used to right the boat. Jan developed this system when designing the Gougeon-32 back in the late ’80s, so he thought it would work for Strings. Continue reading →
Strings, as unique as the man who designed it, continues to be a work in progress for us at GBI. In Jan Gougeon’s first year of sailing Strings, he noticed the boat felt sticky at times. He thought it might be the centerboards jibing too much and the solution might be locking them straight. The center boards work as jibing boards by having two high spots on each side of a centerboard head creating the pivot point to get the boards to change angle, or jibe. The actual pressure from the boat going through the water and wanting to slide sideways gets the boards to jibe. Continue reading →
A visionary, ingenious, a great innovator who could see beyond boundaries, on of a few people to really have changed the boatbuilding game in his lifelong quest for speed. This is how boatbuilders and designers, sailors and iceboaters recall Jan Gougeon. A natural engineer, Jan became an accomplished boat designer and builder who was always thinking about his next boat. His vibrant boyish enthusiasm lit up the room. Jan was a fierce competitor who shared tips and technology openly, offering astute and encouraging advice to novice and veteran sailors and builders alike. Continue reading →
Jan Gougeon’s monumental launch 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
by Grace Ombry
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.
Ten years ago in Epoxyworks 17, we published the photo below 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.
Cover Photo: One of LADY B’s first sails on the Saginaw River near the Gougeon Brothers boat shop.
Lady B is a sailing sharpie I launched on August 20, 2009. On one of the first sails, I asked Jan Gougeon to come along with me to see what he thought of her. That sail brought back many memorable sailing moments that Jan and I have shared over our lifetimes. Jan Gougeon grew up on Donahue Beach and I on nearby Aplin Beach. The two beaches were separated by Wenona Beach, a magnificent amusement park built at the turn of the century. We were in the same kindergarten class. It wasn’t long before we were both in boats we’d built: Jan in his 13′ Dart and I in my 8′ pram, the Pal. Back in those days we built using bedding compound and lots of screws. We carried coffee cans to bail our leaky boats. Around 1955, Continue reading →
Almost 40 years ago Meade and Jan Gougeon opened their doors to a fastener-less method of boat construction using epoxy and various clamping methods. Jan’s newest boat is in the home stretch to completion, and he is addressing the fine tweaks of coaming and fairing. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Top image – First GBI crew building HOT FLASH in the early ’70s. Bottom image – The Gougeon Brothers, Inc. team in 2008.
2009 was the 40th Anniversary of Gougeon Brothers, Inc. 1969 marked a point in the Gougeon brothers’ careers when they applied all they had learned about wooden structures and epoxy technology to manufacture, for the first time, a product utilizing wood/epoxy composite construction. The full story of Gougeon Brothers, Inc. begins long before that date and is sure to continue well into the next 40 years.