Jim Michalak's Boat Designs

118 E Randall, Lebanon, IL 62254

A page of boat designs and essays.

(15June2015) This issue will take on a Mixer cruise in exotic water. The 1 July issue should be about the 2015 Rend Lake Meet.



is out now, written by me and edited by Garth Battista of Breakaway Books. You might find it at your bookstore. If not check it out at the....


...which can now be found at Duckworks Magazine. You order with a shopping cart set up and pay with credit cards or by Paypal. Then Duckworks sends me an email about the order and then I send the plans right from me to you.


Let us take a cruise in Thailand on Walter Platzer's Mixer.



Contact info:


Jim Michalak
118 E Randall,
Lebanon, IL 62254

Send $1 for info on 20 boats.



Thailand Mixer Cruise

Hi Jim, Came back from a ten days solo dinghy cruise around the islands off Ko Chang close to Cambodia with my Mixer.Was already late and into the beginning of rainy season.Mainly S and SSW modarate winds.It took some tacking to the islands in the south mostly against the tide as well,since the lowest tide was always in the morning. Additional rowing, with tiller fixed to create more wind thus speed, was sometimes a good option in less wind.That was with amazing little effort.For sure Mixer is a 50/50 design for sailing/rowing. And indeed there was proof to that when we got caught out there on the way from Ko Rang back to Ko Chang.Left Ko Rang with my smaller, red 4,5m2 (48sqft) sail up with good wind on a reach.The two islands are about 7,5 nautical miles apart.

That morning I realised that one of the two inflateable grey beach rollers(about 80 kg displacement each,as additional safety) lost air.Was wondering,because they can take 450 kg weight and there are no sharp edges or spots in the boat.Lost air very slowly."O k, I blow it up occasionally,but I want to leave now".That was a most ridiculous thought one hour later.

The last three days the weather was not stable with one day heavy rain as well.Difficult to judge as it can change from one hour to the other and it did.By the way the forecast from buoyweather.com was wind S and SSW 8kts with gusts to 10kts and 0,3m swell.But here we were with at least one meter waves,some I think were higher, with big white caps all over as far as the eye reached.Before I thought to keep course to Ko Wai which is east of Ko Klum.No way.Moved up the leebord by halve like 45 degrees to reduce the danger of tripping over it be wave action.I have a bungee and rope system to position the leeboard.The waves came maybe at a 30 degree angle slightly from forward.Quite many were to big for my feeling that Mixer could take them without capsizing.We weathered them and beared away on the crest.No pounding.The tide was with me,the wind from something around West and we were on a beam reach,but looking at the windvane,which was a piece of an audiotape on a rope forestay,the sail appeared parallel to the wind.No way to sheet in further with that wind..Had slightly weatherhelm.Tiller in my right hand together with the sheet around the fingers.

Was bailing water with the left.Lot of splash water came in,even as high as my head, specially from cross waves which hit the back corner.They were also threatening my stable position which was the left halve of my bumm on the seat,right knee on the floor pressed against the opposite beach roller.Strong wind was not the biggest threat at this beam reach. It was the wave action. I thought down wind would be much worse with the sail just loosely flying like a flag and the boat rolling from one side to the other.More beam would have made the situation easier,but Mixer is a sail/row 50/50,and I enjoyed it many times for what it is designed for,but it has no business out there in such conditions.

Dumping the sail from the stub mast was theoretical thinking.Moving forward from my position to loose the halyard I considered inviting a capsize without concentrating on waves and wind.Apart from that active control is way better than being at the mercy of the elements.Would have had to remove the sail after a capsize anyway I think.Rowing ? I think only downwind and with the waves in such conditions.After almost two hours, which felt mentally like walking on a tight rope(at least I think so,never did it), we reached the wind shadow of Ko Klum.

The whole time I was encouraging myself by talking.Never did that before in my life when Iwas sailing :-).I had a 12lbs anchor fixed to the bottom of the forward compartement and 10 l water in each compartement secured with bungeestraps.That may have helped a lot preventing a capsize.I also appreciated the seats which provided support to position myself in that conditions.

Live in danger? No,certainly not.The two water tight compartements are proven.One beachroller lost air but the other one had 8o kg(180 lbs)displacement.Floating with pfd is no problem in those warm waters.The wind was created by the local weather conditions and not a depression lasting for days.It reduced a lot only halve an hour after we beached on Ko Klum.Bailing out the water would have been possible at least after wind and waves eased.Nothing broke or malfunctioned(apart from the punctured beach roller). Righted Mixer before when I capsized in not much wind aproaching a beach overlooking a coralhead which hooked the leeboard.I slipped to the lee side and over we went.Easy righting in not difficult conditions,surely,but at least a test. I could enter easely and bail out the water.

Certain situations need rethinking.One is reefing in even less severe conditions.I made some reefing arrangement on that sail but I would have had to take it down from the stub mast. Would have been too hard to try in a boat with Mixer's beam without capsizing.Wave action is worse than strong wind.Sitting on a loose seat and rowing is another issue. I am happy with the seats on the side and the beachrollers underneath.They provided good support for the body positions.A box as a rowing seat can also be positioned nicely inbetween.The foot rest is not necessary because I can lean the legs against the beachrollers which is sufficient.

The funny reason for the puncture in the beach roller I reconstructed a week later at home:

There were two tiny holes may be halve a millimeter diameter and about 1/6" apart, exactly where the trademark of the producer,an octopus,is located.That early morning I saw one of several cormorants,which usally where in the bay, sitting on the tiller.Looking at the peak of a cormorant and the puncture, I have no other explanation than it was looking for food.

The worst thing is that I lost my 8 year old Pentax camera on Ko Klum which is uninhabited.Went back the next day but someone found it already as speed boats visit the island sometimes.No pictures of my wild ride anyway.No way to do that in such conditions.The enclosed pictures were taken with my phone on nicer days.Some of them may give a hint about the weather.

No sailing until November when the rainy season ends.


Walter Platzer



mixer.jpg (12899 bytes)


Someday I may get to put my full catalog on the net. For now I'll put one design in each issue.

Mixer is a stab at mixing some features of my prams with the features of the original Roar rowboat. The prototype Mixer was built to perfection by David Boston of Factoryville, Pa. That's him sailing on vacation in Maine.

Mixer's beam is half way betwen that of Piccup, which has "stand up and walk around" stability, and that of Roar, which is too tippy for serious sailing. They all have a similar multichine cross section. Dave was very happy with the stability of the prototype. He reports sailing in white caps with no troubles.

The pointy bow causes a loss in carrying capacity compared to a pram bow. Mixer would need to be stretched at least a foot longer to meet Piccup's capacity. But I left Mixer at 12 feet for two reasons. I've found a 12 footer can be cartopped without bow tiedowns and few new cars have bumpers suitable for bow ties. Longer hulls usually need bow ties (except for narrow jobs like Toto). Also, the 12 footer can still be got out of four sheets of 1/4" plywood and may be a tad lighter than Piccup. At any rate, Dave's Mixer has sailed with two adults aboard and was quite happy.

Mixer's got the exact same interior layout (a 6.5' open cockpit between two large flotation/storage chambers) as Piccup for all the same reasons. So here is a cartopper with capacity for two adults or for camping one adult with a flat floor large enough to sleep on and lots of dry storage.

The sail rig is identical to Piccup's. If you look at my leeboards you'll see they pivot at a lower hull guard while their tops are braced to take loads both ways and only one board is required. Essentially they are centerboards mounted outside the hull. But no centerboard case is required and there is no need to handle the board in tacking as with loose leeboards. For anyone thinking about converting a centerboard design to leeboards, note that a leeboard should be mounted at the hull's broadest beam to be in flow parallel to the hull's motion. The sail rig then needs to be placed for proper balance.

Plans for Mixer are $20. No lofting or jigs required.


Prototype News

Some of you may know that in addition to the one buck catalog which now contains 20 "done" boats, I offer another catalog of 20 unbuilt prototypes. The buck catalog has on its last page a list and brief description of the boats currently in the Catalog of Prototypes. That catalog also contains some articles that I wrote for Messing About In Boats and Boatbuilder magazines. The Catalog of Prototypes costs $3. The both together amount to 50 pages for $4, an offer you may have seen in Woodenboat ads. Payment must be in US funds. The banks here won't accept anything else. (I've got a little stash of foreign currency that I can admire but not spend.) I'm way too small for credit cards.

I think David Hahn's Out West Picara is the winner of the Picara race. Shown here on its first sail except there was no wind. Hopefully more later. (Not sure if a polytarp sail is suitable for a boat this heavy.

Here is a Musicbox2 out West.

This is Ted Arkey's Jukebox2 down in Sydney. Shown with the "ketchooner" rig, featuring his own polytarp sails, that is shown on the plans. Should have a sailing report soon.

And the Vole in New York is Garth Battista's of www.breakawaybooks.com, printer of my book and Max's old outboard book and many other fine sports books. Beautiful job! Garth is using a small lug rig for sail, not the sharpie sprit sail shown on the plans, so I will continue to carry the design as a prototype boat. But he has used it extensively on his Bahamas trip towed behind his Cormorant. Sort of like having a compact car towed behind an RV.

And a Deansbox seen in Texas:

Another prototype Twister is well along:

And the first D'arcy Bryn is to the point the builder can sit and relax in it and imagine boating. You can follow the builder's progress at http://moffitt1.wordpress.com/ ....

The first Jukebox3 is on the (cold) water. The mast is a bit too short - always make your mast too long. A bit more testing will be nice...

A brave soul has started a Robbsboat. He has a builder's blog at http://tomsrobbsboat.blogspot.com. (OOPS! He found a mistake in the side bevels of bulkhead5, says 20 degrees but should be 10 degrees.) Double layer bottom on and glassed, hull returned to upright...






1jul14, Mast Tabernacles, Musicbox3

15jul14, Sandell Tabernacle, Mikesboat

1aug14, Taped Seams, Cormorant

15aug14, Plywood Butt Joints, Paulsboat

1sep14, Rowing 1, Vireo

15sep14, Rowing 2, Philsboat

1oct14, Guessing Weight, Larsboat

15oct14, SailOK2014, Jonsboat

1nov14, Chine Runners, Piccup Pram

15nov14, Lugsail Rigging, Caprice

1dec14, Sail Area Math, Ladybug

15dec14, Poly Laminates, Sportdory

1jan15, Sharpie Spritsail, OliveOyl

15jan15, Knockdown Recovery, Dockbox

1feb15, Mike Monies, Laguna

15feb15, Cartopping, IMB

1mar15, WeeVee Lessons, Vole

15mar15, Bulkhead Bevels, Frolic2

1apr15, Capsize Lessons, Riverrunner

15apr15, Hollow Spars, Slam Dink

1may15, Boat Costs, Blobster

15may15, Small Boat Rudders, Roar2

1jun15, Emergency Flotation, RB42


Mother of All Boat Links

Cheap Pages

Duckworks Magazine

The Boatbuilding Community

Kilburn's Power Skiff

Bruce Builds Roar

Dave Carnell

Rich builds AF2

JB Builds AF4

JB Builds Sportdory

Hullform Download

Puddle Duck Website

Brian builds Roar2

Herb builds AF3

Herb builds RB42

Barry Builds Toto

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