|By now you have probably heard of the untimely passing of Jan Gougeon. This news has rocked the enitre sailing world and the DN world in particular.
Seems as if every person who has ever held a tiller has a story about Jan and I’m no execption. I met him (of course) 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. You could ignore these at your peril- the guy won more regattas than most of us have ever entered.
Eben Whitcomb 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 amazing 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.
James “T” Thieler