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Thread: Jan Gougeon

  1. #1
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    Default Jan Gougeon

    I hate to be the bearer of this:

    Jan passed last night of respiratory failure, at the age of 67.

    A true giant. I miss him already.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Sad news indeed.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Thanks, Dave. A defining moment for me of the Gougeon Brothers' way was when I showed up, a day early, for the celebration of their 40th anniversary, two-three years ago.

    I came to their office at say 9 am. Meade showed me around (as he always does), in his generous and wonderful way. And then took me sailing, extemporaniously, on Adagio.

    When we came back, Jan showed me around Strings, his 40' trimaran, then a'building. Amazing, in its own right.

    He said, "Carl, if she doesn't sail well, I'll convert her into a powerboat."

    This, to me, is the articulation of the Gougeon Brothers' way. There is never a problem without a solution.

    God love you, Jan. We all did and do during your too short time on earth.

    May the wind be at your back, your spinnaker filling nicely, and your boat quickly jumping on a plane as you head for the perpetual finish line and victory.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Sad news indeed - sorry to hear it!
    Vale Jan
    Thanks Carl

    Rick

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    A giant indeed!

    Peace.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Both brothers deserve huge kudos for their pioneering role in developing and popularizing epoxy as a tool for boatbuilders and other woodworkers. Back in the 70's, I was using it both for boat and architectural millwork applications. I used the technical advice a lot, and they were unfailingly patient, helpful, and straightforward about what they knew vs. what they thought they know vs. what they suspected.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Please do not take this the wrong way. I mean no dis-respect to the poor man.

    But when I read "respiratory failure" I could not help but wonder if it was partly due to a lot of epoxy dust being inhaled over a number of years.
    We are all much more careful than we once were but a lot of the modern wonder products are dangerous to use.

    Does anyone know if my question has an answer?

    Randy

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    What defined Jan Gougeon as a Man to me, was in the fall of 1973 when he was still recovering from a terrible ice boating accident from the previous Winter. Racing his DN iceboat in a regatta he was T-boned amidships by another boat going down wind, probably impacting at more than 60 mph.

    He could have been paralyzed, and I asked him what he would do if he could never walk again. He said; " I would still come to the boat shop every day, so I would build a platform with castors so I could roll myself around the shop so I could work." It was a defining moment to the meaning of life I never forgot.
    Last edited by otseg; 12-18-2012 at 09:17 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    That's Jan, Jim. Not what oldsub said.

    Please be gracious in respects; don't see negativity wherever you go.

    This is both the best of the Forum, and the worst. Sorry, oldsub, but I think you're out of line here.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    We owe them so much.
    Most of modern amateur boat building depends on their work.

    A great loss.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Cramer View Post
    That's Jan, Jim. Not what oldsub said.

    Please be gracious in respects; don't see negativity wherever you go.

    This is both the best of the Forum, and the worst. Sorry, oldsub, but I think you're out of line here.
    I respectfully disagree. Jan's contributions to wooden boating aside, oldsub's questions following naturally. The latter does not denigrate the former. They both flow from the same event.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Just where in the world would the hobby and business of modern wooden boatbuilding be without the contributions made by Mr Gougeon? My deepest sympathies goes to the Gougeon family, their friends and all the folks at Gougeon Brothers. A huge loss, indeed.

    Respectfully,
    Michael Notigan

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Quote Originally Posted by orbb View Post
    I respectfully disagree. Jan's contributions to wooden boating aside, oldsub's questions following naturally. The latter does not denigrate the former. They both flow from the same event.
    With the greatest respect. The nature of Jan's health issue was unrelated to boat building or boat building materials. Jan was my friend, I have no words.
    Last edited by Howard Rice; 12-19-2012 at 04:20 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    I'd rebuilt one broken mast in 1974 using epoxy but it was a bit hard to use and I was so delighted when I heard of the Gougeon brothers. I loved being a very small and amateur part of an emerging technology, trying stuff, sending over ideas and getting really insightful feedback. Their continuing role in the woodenboat renaissance cannot be understated and the many later competing proprietary epoxies really owe a great deal of their success to the public expansion and usability the Gougeon brothers have built. Jan will be missed.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Bugger. Best wishes to those he's left behind. The G's technical publications and products have been invaluable to me.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Gosh, I'm sorry to hear that....

    When I was starting to mess with boats in a more serious way some 30 years ago, "G. B. Brothers on Boat Construction" was one of the first books I bought. It was (and is) a wonderful read & reference, one of the very best available on modern boat building. Clear, concise, but still easy to read and understand, it's a dandy. I especially like engineering aspect of it, seeing the boat as a structure, light but strong, not overbuilt, wasting of neither materials or time in it's construction. Their examples of home-shop materials testing are like nothing I've seen elsewhere, and they've been an inspiration to me, and others I'm sure. My copy is now moldy from years in the shop, with a broken spine from use, but still right there for me always.

    I'm saddened by his loss, and I send best wishes to his family, knowing they can take comfort in the great contributions he has made. The G brothers expanded wooden boat building to a whole new generation, thank you ---

    Tom

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    We all benifitted from his work. Toast him next time you mix a batch of epoxy.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Angels everywhere are going to get better engineered wings.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Angels everywhere are going to get better engineered wings.
    +1.

    Condolences to family and friends. The impact the brothers have had on boat building and advanced adhesives in general is huge.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  20. #20
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    I first learned of them around the time of Golden Dazy.


    Losing one of them is like losing one of the Wright brothers back in the day in aeronautics. RIP.
    Gerard>
    Everett, WA

    RESIST. FIGHT THE POWER.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Iím sorry to hear of Janís passing. I never met the man but through *GB on Boatbuilding* book I feel he has been with me since 1979.

    Fair winds to the next port.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    I never met him, but reading about him, I wish I had. He sounds like someone I would have liked to know. My condolences to those of you who knew him.
    Await dreams, loves, life; | There is always tomorrow. | Until there is not.

    Grieving love unsaid. | Tomorrow will fail someday. | Tell them today, OK?

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Quote Originally Posted by htom View Post
    I never met him, but reading about him, I wish I had. He sounds like someone I would have liked to know. My condolences to those of you who knew him.
    This captures my feeling precisely. Jan has a great legacy of knowledge and engineering discovery that he has passed on to many builders of things made of wood and epoxy. We who have learned directly or indirectly from him are grateful.
    Steamboat

    I get by with the judicious use of serendipity.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Jan and and his brother certainly have had a huge influence. I think the first I heard of them was when they had a trimaran in the Yachting one-of-a-kind regatta. It was a fascinating boat, but I couldn't learn much about it. I think that was the first year the multihulls beat the A scow. I believe that tri had flexibly mounted amas, a concept they returned to later. There was so much ingenious, original thinking in that boat. For me, that boat reflects the pattern the brothers followed after that. Wish I could find a picture of it.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    My God! What a shock! What a loss to all of us!
    Jay

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Here's his obituary, courtesy of WEST System today:

    Jan Clover Gougeon, of Bay City, Michigan, died Tuesday, December 18, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan at age 67.

    1n 1969, Jan founded Gougeon Brothers, Inc. with his brothers Meade and Joel. The company began building boats and iceboats, and found great success in formulating, manufacturing and marketing WEST SYSTEM and PRO-SET epoxies for boat construction and repair.

    At age 14 Jan began building boats as an apprentice to master boatbuilder Victor Carpenter, and went on to become an accomplished multihull designer and builder. Over the course of his lifetime he designed Wee Three, Flicka, Splinter, Ollieand Pocket Rocket. In 2012 he launched his groundbreaking 40’ multihull, Strings. He was also a key builder on the multihulls Adagio, Rogue Wave, Slingshot and Adrenalin, as well as several monohulls including the 1975 Canada’s Cup winner, Golden Dazy.

    Racing iceboats and multihull sailboats were Jan’s passions, and he particularly loved sailing solo. His first sailboat race was in 1955 at age 10, and he competed in Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinaw aboard the newly launched, Strings in July, 2012. In 1980 during qualification trials for the OSTAR challenge, Jan’s trimaran Flicka capsized in the Atlantic Ocean. He spent four long days floating in Flicka’s disabled hull before he was rescued by a passing freighter. The next boat Jan designed, Splinter, was self-rescuing, as was every boat he’s designed since.

    Jan placed first in the single-handed Port Huron to Mackinac race in 1981, 1982 and 1983 aboard Splinter. Racing his trimaran Ollie, he won the singlehanded Supermac in 1987 and the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society Peter Fisher Memorial Award in 1989. He won the DN Iceboat World Gold Cup Championships four times, the North American DN Iceboat Championship eight times, and won the DN Great Cup of Siberia Race in Russia in 1989. He competed annually in the Bayview Yacht Club’s Port Huron to Mackinac Race, the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinaw and the 300-mile Florida Everglades Challenge.

    Burial at sea will take place privately with the family at a future date.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    That is a fine memorial. Its hard to know, which came first. The Sailor or the Boat builder. I believe Jan built an Optimist Pram when a Cub Scout. A 26' sloop, The Half Ton's Accolade and Hot Flash should be added to the list too.

    We lost another friend to the sea this summer, and over supper we were talking with our young daughters for something to ease the pain of our friends Sandy and Jan passing. It is the memories of our favorite things that helps us through. My daughter wrote down the song tonight that helps her most, and the grown ups too.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    That's fabulous, Jim! I can almost hear her singing it....

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    I like that he is being buried at sea. Very fitting.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/ind...owtopic=142936

    Jan Gougeon at the 2011 DN Worlds (from above). I imagine he was looking forward to the winter ice-boating season



    and would appreciate the fun these guys have: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8KArtcP4o0
    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

    -Mark Twain

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Thanks for letting us know Carl, fair winds and condolences. Rick

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    I started the other thread, on the bilge. I last saw Jan about two weeks ago, while he and Mead were working on some trailer parts. I'm glad to have talked to him one more time.....sure will miss him...

    Bill

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    I can see Jan in my mind now when he would explain something. He would hold his hands like he was cradling an invisible crystal ball. Maybe that's where his ideas came from because he didn't copy others.

    It makes me laugh when I think back on things. Meade Joe and Jan would buy things in threes. When Hobie's came out they bought some 16's in quantity and became dealers.

    Jan discovered that the secret to making a Hobie 16 go to weather was to load up the rudders. The limitation was that they were a hard plastic and flexed. A few days before the nationals Jans idea was to rout out a 2" wide flat channel on each side of the plastic rudder and fill it with an 1/8' of uni carbon fiber. Carbon fiber back then was a 50K tow that gougeons flattened out and you laid in place one by one.

    He was so excited when he came in the next morning to try them. He flexed the first rudder by clamping the head in the bench vise. Both cured carbon strips popped off the plastic like shot from a gun. Really, the look of 30 seconds of dismay, followed by the light bulb of inspiration is impossible to describe.

    He grabbed some sitka spruce and sawed and shaped two replacements. They were flow coated with Epoxy mixed with Aluminum powder. Because they were under weight for the Hobie rules, they received a triangle of lead correction weight near the tips. Neadless to say, showing up at the Hobie Cat Nationals the next day with the only gray rudders with a black triangle and going faster in a sea of white plastic was cause for some discussion. Meade, Joe and Jans New ideas were often followed by new class rules.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Cross posted from SCAMP Envy and lust thread.

    I knew that Jan Gougeon was not well, but the space in my psyche where the Gougeon Bros live was not ready for him to depart. At this time of life though ( I'll be drawing my universal superannuation in just over 12 months) its inevitable though that the ranks of the "heros" who have shaped ones life are beginning to thin. I walk along my bookshelf and note that William Garden, Phil Bolger, Dynamite Payson, John Leather and now Jan Gougeon will not write again, they leave big shoes to be filled. I hope that we are found worthy.

    It was the Gougeon Brothers book on boat construction that set me on the design path that eventually produced SCAMP. The whole construction system is based upon information from that book, the epoxy resin with various additives to produce the several products from coatings to adhesives, high and low density fillers, fiberglass tapes and cloth skins being a large part of it. But also, the engineering of plywood structures, the mapping of stress paths and using that information to calculate the distribution of loads around the structure being something that I'd not considered "BG" ( Before Gougeon) and it has lead to boats like SCAMP where every single piece of material in that boat contributes to its strength and stiffness making a lightweight but extraordinarily strong structure.
    Although they personally have been somewhat in the background of late, enjoying the fruits of their labours, the work that the Gougeon Brothers have done has had a huge influence on our boating lives and will continue to do so for a very long time.
    I'm sorry that I did not meet Jan in person, but feel that he, along with brothers Meade and Joe, have been a part of my life for many years and will continue to guide me. I'm sorry he's gone, long may he live.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Jan Gougeon

    Over the years, the Gougeon Brothers have come to my rescue, many times by answering questions and giving sound advise. Jan was always ready with astute and enocuraging advise as to what their products will and won't do. I always wished that I could have met him in person! Now that opportunity has passed until Styx freezes over and I can sail an ice boat sail over to be greeted by him and his pal Peter. Till then I will just have to stay warm in the glow of his shadow in the resin.

    What a great man he was and a great family they all are!
    I miss him,
    Jay

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