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 →
Adagio, our beloved trimaran, was designed and built by Meade and Jan Gougeon in 1969 and launched in the summer of 1970. After undergoing a minor refit this past winter, she still has what it takes to win. We’re extremely proud that Adagio placed first in the multihull division of 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, which spans almost 300 miles of often treacherous Great Lakes. Continue reading →
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 →
A skiff is a shallow, open boat with a sharp bow and square stern. After building some skiffs of various designs and having the opportunity to observe them over time, I have found details that have worked nicely that might be a value to others. 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 →
Most seasoned sailors would agree that a clean bottom leads to faster sailing. Sometimes it may be necessary to do more than scrub away the algae and zebra mussels, though. In the case of Adagio, 44 years of sailing was starting to ripple the bottom of the boat. Simply put, it was time to fair the bottom. While fairing the bottom of your boat may seem beyond your reach, it is a project that novices and experienced boaters alike can accomplish with a few simple tools and a love of a little manual labor. Continue reading →
I have just about finished restoring a Gougeon Tornado. 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 →
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.
Jan Gougeon’s monumental launch occurred in July of 2011, over a decade after the birth of the project. Jan passed away 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 beloe 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.