Preview: Gougeon 32 – A Fast Trailerable Catamaran

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Jump aboard the Gougeon 32, a fast, trailerable, retro catamaran, as Russell Brown and Alan Gurski give us the inside scoop on this cool cat.

The Gougeon 32, or G32, was designed by Meade and Jan Gougeon, best known for their WEST System epoxy. Meade and Jan set out with some very lofty engineering goals: make a fast, light, strong catamaran that can be trailered by a car. Full of innovative ideas and processes, production of the G32 ended after just 14 boats were built. Russell Brown is now taking his to the next level, stripping it down past the gel coat in order to rebuild it from the ground up and make his own solo assault on the Race to Alaska 2017.

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16 Responses So Far to “Gougeon 32 – A Fast Trailerable Catamaran

  • Kent Fujiwara

    Kent Fujiwara says:

    Just SO cool. A Sr of plans would be pretty sweet.

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    Rod McLaren says:

    Just had to revisit this video today. Bernd Kohler is currently designing a boat inspired by the G32 – I will be watching for his design with keen interest. Thanks for taking us along to check out this classic cat. Perhaps one day soon you will be checking out a new boat inspired by it.

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    Richard Van Heynigen says:

    Great to see this video on the G32. And you must do a video with Russell and his proas !

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    Peter Fynn says:

    Was Jan on Gulfstreamer with Phil Weld when she capsized?

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    Thomas Dalzell says:

    3 other things that are worth noting for a boat of this type: The berth is a palace for what you get in similar weight multis; the raising of the mast is among the fastest of any boat of the type; The trailer is such that you can launch the boat in 0 inches of water. This is great when it comes to launching, but it is also great when it comes to a lot of routine tasks one has with boats, sometimes you want the boat off the trailer, you need to maintain the trailer, or use if for some other purpose, or you have some maintenance to do on the boat that is easier off the trailer. The same set of features makes it possible to launch the cat in ankle deep water, or have it low to the road when trailering.

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    Thomas Dalzell says:

    Hugh Horton of Bufflehead fame (now there is a natural subject if you haven’t covered it yet, the Gougeon sailing canoes, and Hugh’s sailing canoes) put me in touch with Jan, about the time that he was finishing up on Strings. Strings is basically a G32 with an insane level of additional complications so that it could provide all the benefits of that boat, while having a folding system to have the ability to max out beam as well as water ballast, self-righting, etc…

    Jan perhaps under the weight of what he had started with Strings, told me his next boat was to be a short version of the G32. He thought that for his uses that the G32 was too long.

    I got in touch with him at the time because I felt the G32 was the best best trailerable multi ever. I also had noticed that several designers had actually made similar boats in their day and had said they were their favourites. Bob Oram for instance, the great Oz designer of kit cats, said a water ballasted boat was his first love. So I contacted Jan to get his feedback about doing a shorter one.

    Jan was very encouraging, but my project died on the fact I was never able to resolve the idea of a 21 foot G32 (my requirement due to zoning), and what the design is capable of being. At 21 feet there are plenty of 8′ 4″ cats on the basis of beam alone. It sorta looses the thread of why one needs all the extra complexity of a G32. I did think that given a personal preference for a 6 foot max trailering beam, I might just scale down a G32 beam a little, but while I am not all that vain, it is nice to have a boat people appreciate and I never met another living soul who though that was a rational way to proceed. I still dream about doing my little cat. I have built to near that size once already and have the shop space. Time is running out.

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    Thomas Dalzell says:

    The idea of the bows is they will cut out of a pitchpole situation. When conventional decks go underwater, they are basically anchored in there, if the angle is steep enough. These things are supposed to ride out. But the other parts of it are that most pitchpoles are over the diagonal bow, these bows are pretty much in line. If you get into trouble you probably aren’t going endover, just capsizing. And the boat is designed to deal with that. Jan was in some New England multihull race and won, but like capsized it 4 times, or something. In the right conditions that is fully recoverable.

    The other point to consider is the power to weight ratio. Multis often have huge rigs 150% of the waterline in height over the deck height, . My tri is 23′ has a 26 foot Hobbie mast and though I am no great sailor, scares the heck out of me at times, It scares me with 2 reefs, at times, Yet the first question out of any sailors mouth to me is don’t I want a bigger rig. Then on top of that recently a cool 18 foot tri came out with a small cabin and folding system and guys were talking about dericking up 32 foot masts not an easy task of itself.

    So the point is the G32 is an entire package, small rig, mainsail reefing, capsize recovery, hulls and one thing that wasn’t fully mentioned is that it takes on so much ballast when the tanks are full you can sail it with the family and it will run like a tug.

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    Thomas Nance says:

    Great video as normal, but give us a video on the Proa!!
    I would love to see a OCH styled look into Russel Browns proa.

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    Robert Hauser says:

    Great video great boat, thanks. Ahead of it’s time with the “wave piercing” hulls. I’ll be looking for Russell in the Race to AK.

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    Robert De Leo says:

    As usual… A wonderful presentation by OCH. I’ve been on some large multi-hulls i.e. up to 50 footers designed by John Wharram, and loved the ride particularly in a following sea with the wind at our backs. Light displacement high efficiency… Is the only way to go. My only question after seeing this video is if the bow of this boat as it is designed will tend to get buried in rougher sea conditions creating a higher risk of pitch poling ?? The shear line is very pretty, but I wonder about performance in more challenging conditions. Anyway… I salute everyone involved in the design and production of this exceptional boat.

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    Floyd Graves says:

    Thank you for another great video and boat tour. Thanks for pointing out all the unique things about this boat.

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    Jacob Burbach says:

    A really cool design with lots of cool ideas, I love it. I also love that Russel Brown always seems to have such cool, unconventional, and very effective boats; like a Burt Rutan of the water. Nice that he’s thinking of doing the R2AK as well, look forward to seeing that.

    Also, for those interested Russel has been keeping a blog of his refit, upgrades, etc over at

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    Ashlyn & Russell Brown says:

    Thank you for yet another great video!

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    Richard Zablocki says:

    Neat, thought provoking design features for future builders and less than 2,000#! Thanks

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    Jim Dumser says:

    Great video. Thanks. Such an innovative design. Shame so few were actually built.
    Love to see more about the cleat on a hinge around 8:50…

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    eric pomber says:

    Jan once told me that you knew you were having fun on a G32 when there was sea weed in the rigging. A nice guy and a great sailor.


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