Meade and Jan Gougeon were inducted into The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) in October of 2015. Meade and Jan, along with their brother Joel, founded Gougeon Brothers, Inc. in 1969. They were selected because of their pioneering work in the use of epoxies for boat construction, and because each are accomplished sailors. 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.
Adagio, our 35′ trimaran, was already off to a bad start in the 100th anniversary of the first running of the Chicago to Mackinaw race with an over-early call by the race committee. Everything went downhill from there.
Less than an hour into the race the luff wire in our number one genoa parted, putting our crucial 360 sq ft light air weapon out of business. Attempts to use it to leeward on our spinnaker pole resulted in more loads than the pole was designed to handle. It collapsed with a bang! Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Brothers Meade & Jan Gougeon aboard their power catamarans with Dick Newick-designed hulls — GOUGMARAN and MAGIC CARPET.
In 2003, my brother Jan and I began talking about building a motorboat. This would be a first for the brothers, who up to this point have focused all our efforts on sailboats. Just a few years ago, it would have been inconceivable that we would ever take up power boating. But time and circumstances change one’s views, especially as we enter our senior years. We have always regretted that major parts of our home waters, the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron, Michigan, have been too shallow for our sailboats. Some of the most attractive parts of the Bay with the best wildlife have been off limits to boats that draw more than 18 inches. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: The SWIFT SOLO is a single-handed skiff built by Bram Dally. Stiff, durable hulls are crucial to skiff speed.
One of the little known or understood characteristics of modern fiber- reinforced plastic composites is the loss of some initial stiffness capability after repeated cyclic loading. Loss of stiffness can be significant enough to cause a noticeable effect on performance, depending upon laminate makeup and degree of cyclic loading.
Loss of initial stiffness after repeated cyclic loading was first noticed in several highly competitive racing dinghy classes where older boats that had been sailed hard for Continue reading →
The 35′ trimaran Adagio, designed and built by Meade and Jan Gougeon in 1969, survived the harrowing conditions at the finish of the 2002 Chicago to Mackinac race this past year.
The old lady
Adagio, the first large wood/epoxy structure ever built without the use of fasteners, was one of the oldest, and lightest boats in the race. She has now become a test bed as to how long wood/epoxy structures can last. Over the years, the Gougeon Brothers’ test lab has Continue reading →
There are those who still question the longevity of an epoxy composite structure. They state that the technology is still too new to know how it will hold up long-term. Some have said that epoxy composites fail in the tropic heat; other critics have warned of the hazards of wood and fresh water. However, I’ve recently visited several boats that are living testimony to the long-term reliability of epoxy composites. Of course, careful construction and good Continue reading →