Aged West System Epoxy Boats Still Win Big

04 September 2018

Aged West System Epoxy Boats Still Win Big

A pair of multihulls built by Gougeon Brothers with WEST SYSTEM epoxy resin decades ago won races on the Pacific Ocean and Great Lakes in 2018.

Incognito is a G32 catamaran cold-moulded by Gougeon Manufacturing in 1990. Russell Brown of PT Watercraft in Port Townsend, Washington, US, raced the 28-year-old vessel singlehandedly in the gruelling R2AK (Race to Alaska). In the qualifying leg from Port Townsend, Washington, to Victoria, British Columbia, he finished 40 minutes ahead of the rest of the fleet. He then led the race for three days until fatigue set in, requiring him to put safety finishing first. Still, he was the first solo finisher for the second year in a row and knocked more than 24 hours off his record-breaking 2017 win, also aboard Incognito.

Brown’s approach attests to his own grit and determination, as well as the durability of his epoxy-built multihull.

A few weeks later, Adagio took first place in Division III (multihulls) of the 2018 Bell’s Beer Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac race sailing the Cove Island course. This 35 ft trimaran was built by the Gougeon Brothers in 1971 and is widely considered to be the first all-epoxy-bonded wooden boat ever built. That it is still competing today speaks to the longevity of the cold-moulded epoxy construction methods pioneered by the Gougeon Brothers in the 1970s.

Adagio is owned by Alan Gurski and Ben Gougeon of Bay City, Michigan, US, and skippered by Matt Scharl of Lawrence, Michigan. Gurski and Gougeon crewed.

“At 47 years old, Adagio is still an incredibly fast boat,” Gougeon says. “Even by today’s standards, using modern building methods, it’s difficult to build a lighter, stiffer boat. The secret to her longevity and success is quite simple. Keep her sealed up tight with West System epoxy and constantly look for ways to add a couple of tenths of boat speed. Between our ongoing maintenance programme and the awesome sails our friend Magnus Doole at North Sails NZ designed for us, Adagio has taken first in her division on three consecutive PH-Mac races. The scary part is at almost 50 years she’s still getting faster!”

Photo provided by Gougeon

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