Jan Clover Gougeon, who founded Gougeon Brothers, Inc. with his brothers Meade and Joel in 1960, died Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich., at age 67.
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. A natural engineer, Jan became an accomplished boat designer and builder, and was always thinking about his next boat.
At age 14 he began building boats as an apprentice to master boatbuilder Victor Carpenter. Over the course of his lifetime he designed and built numerous multihulls including Wee Three, Flicka, Splinter, Ollie and 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.
The native Great Lakes Midwesterner was also a passionate ice boater, as exhibited in a 1995 interview with the ice boat publication, Runner Tracks.
“We used to leave work on Friday night and drive down to Stu Sills. I remember driving to the ice at 2:00 in the morning. We drove down to the park and parked in the lot or on the ice. I unloaded the boat because I was kind of excited to have a boat ready,” Gougeon recounted to the interviewer. “I really wanted to go sailing, but I knew I had to wait a little while. So I just put my sleeping bag in the cockpit and I laid down to go to sleep. I didn’t really need to go to sleep, but I did, and when I woke up, there were people all around and I was covered with snow.”
Burial at sea will take place privately with the family at a future date.