gone out in style

Every now and again, someone comes along to make us realize that we overuse the word ‘legend’ on these pages.  Unfortunately, today Jan Gougeon is the teacher; how else can you describe someone who’s done so much for sailing over the course of his long life?

Like Aerospace super-innovator Burt Rutan and racecar tinkerer Colin Chapman, Gougeon, along with brother Mead in the Bay City MI offices of West System Epoxy, used his ‘no rules’ mentality to continuously find new ways to make sailing faster, cheaper, and less stressful.  Jan was doing things 40 years ago with multihulls that are just now showing themselves 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” back in August – a trailable, self-rescuing cruising catamaran that took 12 years to create – you can click on this link for a SA Innerview.

Our condolences to the entire Bay City family of sailors touched by Jan, as well as the literally hundreds of Anarchists helped by his generosity over the years.  Here are a few words from the thread.  Share your own here.

From “The Big D”: It is a double loss to us. Today we lose a great innovator that found great fun in building crazy machines in unexpected ways to further some very important technologies. And then there is the loss of a great guy that seemed untiring in his quest to help us little guys… Fair winds.

From “TornadoSail2016”: Very sorry to hear this.  Jan was of great help through 3-4 different builds.  What a great man as well as a real visionary in this field.  He will be sorely missed.  I hope he has fair winds and following seas where he has passed on to.

In keeping with Jan’s wishes , there will not be a somber funeral.  Jan asked that his life be celebrated with a party…and we’ll be there. December 27th, Saginaw Bay Yacht Club in Michigan USA. West Systems also has this nice tribute to Jan.

We think Jan would’ve dug the song that gave this story its name; thanks to the Dropkick Murphys (via Proper Course) and please contribute to the discussion thread if you like.