Jan Gougeon

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
DN US 5224

3 responses

  1. Thanks T. Nice man, and fast.

    12/24/2012 at 5:49 pm

  2. Jane M Sherry

    Very nice T! Jan will be missed by everyone. He was one of the original people that got me hooked scoring back in 1987! I always looked forward to seeing him, no matter the venue.

    Hope all is well with you! All the best of the holidays to you all and your families! Jane Sherry DN US 4044

    12/23/2012 at 11:27 pm

    • eben whitcomb

      Capt. T, thanks for giving us this wonderful rememberance of our friend Jan. I think often of standing on the ice last winter at the NA’s with you & Jan and talking with him about light air sailing,I felt like we were having the same experience Lloyd Roberts wrote about in “Think Ice” at a worlds in Maryland some 30 years before. I will always remember his kindness and approachability, even when first starting out he would take the time to talk with you and make you feel welcome. A quote by Lloyd Roberts about his friend Werner Stclair seems to fit here.He said “We will carry him with us in our hearts and we will think of him often” and that we will!…. Sail on Jan, thanks for being such a great teacher & example.

      Eben U S 4775

      12/25/2012 at 8:23 pm