Jan Gougeon


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Jan was doing things 30 years ago with multihulls that are just now showing to be timeless solutions, and his brilliance was easy to take thanks to a humble, affable, and unassuming nature. Jan was a friend to Sailing Anarchy, and we’ll never forget what he told us the first time he ran into Clean while partying after one of Jan’s 80,000 Mackinac races: “You guys don’t go far enough!”, he said. To watch Jan describe his final design “Strings” on the SA Innerview – a trailable, self-rescuing cruising catamaran that took 12 years to create – you can click on this link.


Jan came to Muskegon for several cat regattas and stayed in his mobile home at the beach like a regular guy. Which he was. But so much more. I had long beery discussions with Jan several times as the sun dived into the big lake, and enjoyed his tales of development of the epoxy system from pints given away to needy buddies in milk bottles- all the way to commercial sales. He never bragged about his world iceboat wins, and I had to learn about them from someone else. I think Jan had the most fun yarning me tales like the "unrepairable, fatally damaged" large stained glass window which was falling apart with rot in a poor Ludington church: Jan and his helper fixed it for them with $100 worth of epoxy and his "tricks" in 1971, and it is still in excellent condition today. Jan "The Ingenious" always loved just messing about with boats. I'll really miss him.

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Super Anarchist
He and Meade were always heroes of mine. I was glad to finally meet them both in person a couple of years ago and be able to tell them both that I really admired them and their work. They both laughed and were very humble and kind. I'm sorry I never got to see Jan aboard STRINGS, which I'd hoped be able to do this spring.



Super Anarchist
Max respect to Jan Gougeon - one of a few people who can be said to have really changed the boat building game.

Fair winds Mr Gougeon.

With thanks - a confirmed West System epoxy user.

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Serge A. Storms

Met Jan through racing DN iceboats. Every class should have a guy like this- always ready to help out a new sailor and amazingly forthcoming with tips and advice for novice and veteran sailors alike.

A friend of mine hitched a ride with him from the hotel to the launch site one morning and when he got out of the van he said "I just learned more about sailing DN's in fifteen minutes in the car with Jan than I've learned from fifteen years of sailing the damn things!" That sums it up pretty well- I learned a dozen things every time I ever spoke with the man.

And if he wasn't doling out go-fast tips he was telling a great story about any number of adventures in sailing, travel, boatbuilding, you name it- always fascinating and delivered with a wit and enthusiasm that always lit up the room.

Spent a good hour shooting the breeze with him on the ice at the DN North American champs last winter in Green Bay. As always, I learned a lot and went away thinking to myself "Man, that guy is one of the coolest people I've ever met..."

Fair winds and black ice Jan. We can't thank you enough.



legend is an understatement

I have known Jan for many decades , from iceboating A real guy, great attitude and had a unique way of seeing things as most cannot......

He is one of my mentors especially when it came to the DN I, for sure will miss hearing and seeing him on the ice

we all will




Super Anarchist
Very sad to hear this. I had always wanted to meet him but never got the chance. A huge loss to composites and the boat building world. Godspeed.



This is a sad day for me and probably anyone who has come to appreciate how West Systems has made fixing boats possible.

With out Jan and Meade there would be far less active old Ice Boats in the Midwest.

Their products have saved many boats from the fire pile, including mine.

I was lucky to catch Jan right before the start of the Mac race when he was sitting on Strings and took time to explain everything. What a cool guy! Jan encouraged me to keep fixing and tweaking my stern steering iceboat, that I will do.

The next day I seen the boat again in the Manitou’s. As we on the Merlin were sailing past a parked Windquest and the Andrews 77 Ocean. We noticed a weird boat behind us moving closer, it was Strings!!

My jaw dropped, imagine the mood on strings coming up to a parked turbo fleet.

Fair Winds and may you find that perfect sheet of black ice that never thaws.

Jan was a great inspiration to me and my brother. He was just as excited to tell us about his latest project "Strings" when we stopped by the boat shop as he was when I was there as a kid watching him build Tornados and Golden Dazy. He was always so helpful, pleasant and fun to be around (especially after races). He will be missed by many.



Super Anarchist
Ann Arbor, MI
This is really a sad loss for our community. What an icon and true man in every sense of the word. We all need to take a lesson from how Jan conducted his life and those he came in contact with. Sail on Jan, and fair winds. Words cannont express...



Super Anarchist
I had heard stories of the Goudeon's for the last 14 years, but not until I moved to Michigan in 2011 did I meet Jan. He immediately was thinking of ways to help me and get Triceratops out on the race course every Wed. Last year following our Chi-Mac win I was blessed to get a Picture with Jan, Mead, and Randy Smyth. All three are legends, Giants, and absolute gentlemen. I wish I could have spent more time learning from Jan. He will never be forgotten. My deepest condolences to Meade and the entire Goudeon family. Let the party continue!



I believe the most important lesson Jan taught me was to have fun." Nothing ventured nothing gained" To play at silent speed is a noble calling that he shared with us. I remember a picture I had of him with his put put car,and long talks about my G-32. which is named Grateful. If we could only appreciate our blessing as he did. Share the love. Guerdon.



Super Anarchist
Melbourne, AUS

Some of the best built T's around.



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New member
Met Jan and Meade in the late '70's, when I bought a DN kit from them. Wouldn't let me leave the shop until they showed me everything they were doing. Modeled my own business relations after the way they conducted theirs. Never any secrets and always there to help out and give advice. Learned more about building stuff and sailing stuff from them than anyone else. This is a big loss to the sailing and glueing community.

John Lindahl