Jim Michalak's Boat Designs

1024 Merrill St, Lebanon, IL 62254

A page of boat designs and essays.

(15 June 2017) This issue features the 2017 Rend Lake messabout. The 1 July issue will continue the rowing series.



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.


Action at the 2017 Rend Lake Messabout.



Contact info:


Jim Michalak
1024 Merrill St,
Lebanon, IL 62254

Send $1 for info on 20 boats.



Rend Lake 2017

The 2017 Rend Lake Messabout was held on Jun 9 and 10. The weather was warm and windy for the most part. Never a cloud in the sky.

Doug Byerley brought this new Mayfly12, first time in the water and first time for a new sailor and first homebuilt boat for him. Doug had served years on nuke subs and has a background of river boats, powered and otherwise. Nice job. I had never seen a Mayfly12 before for real.

Paul Ellifrit brought his CLC kayak. This is Paul The Younger, not to be confused with Kay Paul The Elder.

Tom Burton is a regular with his Mayfly14. Tom took a couple hundred photos of the event and posted them on his Flicker account at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28677676@N04/sets/72157682024804802/ Take a look when you tired of looking at my photos.

Tom also brought along his shorty kayak project. Behind it is Kay Paul Ellifrit's CLC canoe.

Doug Byerley got his first sail, untested skipper in the untested boat. Gene Berry says a final prayer before giving Doug a good shove out into the lake. All went OK.

Gene Berry brought his new Welsford Saturday Night Special. Huge lugsail and the hull is a multichine with a fairly wide bottom plank carried aft to allow for planing. Behind Gene's is Tom Cole's much modified Bolger Windsprint. Has lots of air boxes and a Sunfish rig. Both boats sailed very well.

Richard Spelling surveys his new Toto with training wheels. Richard can't sit flat on the bottom as kayaks require so he sits on a board across the wales and uses the floats to get rock solid stabilitly. I took a spin in this one and didn't think the amas hurt the speed much. This boat was made by inputing my hand drawn numbers into Richard's home made CNC router which cut out all the panels while he had a cup of coffee.

And what have we here?? This happens every year as folks make on the spot mods to their boats. We decided Doug's new Mayfly12 needed a seat as he had a bionic knee and like to sit against the aft bulkhead which pointed the bow to the sky. He went to the lumberyard and got what he needed....

There you go....a removable seat that placed him forward a few feet and gets his butt off the bottom. So you sit with legs outstretched forward and slide your butt from side to side while tacking as required. A new invention????

Nope! Tom Burton's Mayfly14 already had one, his was varnished and held in place with a lashing.

Tom's boat was full of tricks. I saw this detail on his stern. The triangle piece below the wale prevents the sheet from snagging on the wale.

Rovie Alford was back with his modified Harmonica (Gene Berry gives another shore shove). This is the best Harmonica I've seen. Rovie extended the hull about 20" straight back to give the boat a small back porch and a motor mount outside cabin. This is how I would build one now. Why did I draw it otherwise? At the time the design was called Fusebox and intended only for electric. Now I think electrics are still pretty limited for general use, the gas motor much better.

The Bishop kids get ready to launch....

They decided to wait for Dad. Alas for us, Curry Bishop and his family are relocating soon to Connecticut, Milford I think. A true loss for us but if you live in Connecticutt something wonderful is heading your way. Curry's AF4 was started by Chris Feller who told him all he had to do was finish it.

John Nystrom came from Indiana with two boats. Here he poses with his Gentry skin on frame kayak. I forgot to photograph his Puddleduck but it has been around a while and you might find it in older issues.

D C Brown sold his super red tugboat to the east coast and replaced it with this, a modified version of the Andrew Linn canoe. The main change is the squared stern in hopes of getting an easy trolling motor mount.

John Nystrom again tries out Paul Haynie's plastic canoe rigged with forward facing oars. Let's see....I am confused. He is facing forward here in the double ended canoe. If John wants to pull away from the shore here, he needs to push away from the shore?? Yes. I think.

Doug Byerley at work at the cookout. The best cook in the Navy although he never was a cook in the Navy, a nuke electrician says he. We had hand made burgers this year.

It's tough to say goodbye. Gene Berry and Curry Bishop's daughter.

The Skiff Americas were there again but I got no photos. Kilburn Adams and Bill Dulin. They posted a stunning video of their boats in formation at the lake, taken on Thursday or Friday, the videos taken by Kilburn's son using a drone. You can find it on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaR2FzXS-QQ It is truely beautiful and professional. Here is a screenshot...


We have sworn an oath to make a big effort to nail down the campsites near the water at the end of the loop. For the first few years at the North Sandusky campground that was diligently done by folks who have moved on. (At Gun Creek, for 15 years we did not have to do that since it had no utilities and was unpopular with the usual big rig campers. But the large boating cove at Sandusky is much better than that at Gun Creek.)


mixer.jpg (12899 bytes)


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.

We have a Picara finished by Ken Giles, past Mayfly16 master, and into its trials. The hull was built by Vincent Lavender in Massachusetts. There have been other Picaras finished in the past but I never got a sailing report for them...

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:

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.) This boat has been sailed and is being tested. He has found the sail area a bit much for his area and is putting in serious reef points.






1jul16, Ballast Calculations 1, Dorado

15jul16, Ballast Calculations 2, Robbsboat

1aug16, Ballast Calculations 3, AF4

15aug16, Taped Seams, Cormorant

1sep16, Butt Joints, Vireo

15sep16, Old Outboards, Philsboat

1oct16, D'Arcy Ballast, Larsboat

15oct16, D'Arcy Ballast 2, Jonsboat

1nov16, D'Arcy Ballast 3, Piccup Pram

1dec16, Sail Area Math, Ladybug

15dec16, D'Arcy Thoughts, Sportdory

1jan17, AF3 Capsize, Normsboat

15jan17, The Weather, Robote

1feb17, Aspect Ratio, Jewelbox Jr

15feb17, Aspect Ratio 2, IMB

1mar17, Normsboat Capsize, AF4Breve

15mar17, Underwater Board Shape, Harmonica

1apr17, Capsize Lesson, RiverRunner

15apr17, Measuring Leeway, Mayfly16

1may17, Scarfing Lumber, Blobster

15may17, Rigging Lugsails, QT Skiff

1jun17, Rowing1, Mayfly14


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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