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.
This article is Lesson 2 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
With our strip-planked hull faired and the outside stem attached, there are many techniques that could turn these strips into a boat.
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. At the La Routa Maya canoe race in Belize, SA., we saw a natural progression from chopping canoes out of logs to strip-plank construction with WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. Continue reading →
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 →
As an outgrowth of my love for woodworking and building stuff for myself, a few years ago I started a small woodworking business out of my garage, which is actually a shop that hasn’t felt the rubber of tires for over a decade. With the exception of my Yamaha V-Star Classic 1100, which lounges in heated comfort all winter.
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 →
Cover Photo: Ted Moores ties up SPARKS at the blue line at Kilmarnock Lock n the Rideau Canal.
After three years of painstaking work and many interruptions, Ted Moores of Bear Mountain Boats completed the Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch Sparks on June 22, 2010. The boat is unlike any he had built before.
The Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch is designed for low-speed cruising while using the least amount of fossil fuel possible. It normally runs on batteries charged by solar panels and shore power. When necessary, a diesel generator powers its electric motor and charges its batteries.Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 1 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
Sparks is a science project. A professional builder working for a client has the responsibility of delivering the boat on time and budget with no surprises so we generally stick to what worked last time. But as a science project, questioning the way things are usually done, pushing the limits of the materials and then taking the responsibility becomes the objective. Because failure is anticipated with any experiment, testing is an important part of the project and has been a whole lot of fun with few surprises, mostly pleasant.
Early last spring I was working for a talented woodworker in a quaint little wood shop in Nashville, Tennessee. He showed me a strip built canoe, something I’d never seen before. The wheels in my head started turning. I was completely captivated.
Rushing home and searching the internet, I could not believe the information and pictures that took hold of my imagination. I was in utter amazement one minute, jealous the next. In my former experience as a musician, I’d had no idea this kind of craftsmanship, experience, and talent existed in today’s world of “fast and now.” Continue reading →