“The wind is coming up. Tell the boys they can commence with the race.”
Fittingly, these would be the last words of Meade A. Gougeon as he watched a fleet of sailboats, including his trimaran Adagio, assembling for the Great Lakes Multihull Regatta in front of his home on the Saginaw Bay.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
I’m not talking about those great big lumbering tall ships or schooners. I’m talking about the pioneers of boatbuilding and fast sailboat racing. Men of vision who saw wood not just as planks and large hunks of trees to be bolted together, but as an engineering fiber. Men like Walter Greene, Jim Brown, 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 →
Cover Photo: ADAGIO was racing with fast company in the 1996 Port Huron to Mackinac Race.
It was after eight months of building that we originally launched Adagio, our 35-foot cruising trimaran. It was on July 6, 1970, and she was then a unique boat in three respects.
First, she was the first large wooden boat entirely bonded together with epoxy using no permanent fastenings. While this is common today, it was revolutionary stuff back when adhesives for wooden boatbuilding (including epoxies) were looked upon as a backup to traditional wood fasteners like nails, screws and bolts. Continue reading →