Jim Michalak's Boat Designs

1024 Merrill St, Lebanon, IL 62254

A page of boat designs and essays.

(15 June 2018) This issue will feature the 2018 Rend Lake Messabout. The 1 July issue will be about power.



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.... ON LINE CATALOG OF MY PLANS...

...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.


The gear gathers at Rend Lake. I noticed almost everyone brought a bicycle this year too.



Contact info:


Jim Michalak
1024 Merrill St,
Lebanon, IL 62254

Send $1 for info on 20 boats.



Rend Lake 2018


...what I think was the 27th annual Midwest Messabout at Rend Lake in Southern Illinois. The weather was quite good, 70 at night, 90 during the day, mostly light winds but a few hours of brisk, no rain although on Saturday it was everywhere around us.

Our plan to nail down the campsites at the end of the loop worked very well. We had them all and were not scattered at all. One change noticed was that work had been done to the beach area at the end of the loop. The old snags had been removed and the steep bank sculpted and protected with small riprap and wire. We still had a nice beach because the protection was above the water level....

I got there on Thursday but several folks had come on Wednesday. Gene Berry and Craig Dare were already in the water, "not racing".

Gene had his FatFly, his own design. He had a massive black polytarp sail...

Craig had his Skat, pretty much stock to plans except he has added air boxes aft to prevent the swamping he experienced at Lake Stockton last year. (The original old Schock design this was copied from had no flotation besides its wood.) A beautiful job.

Going away, while not racing, shows some differences although both are V bottomed...

Doug Byerly scored a Montego19 last year for $1000 with trailer and motor. Then a few bucks to clean it up. In the foreground is Gene Berry's Paddle Plank. One evening Tom Cole's wife took it out for a good while in stand up paddle fashion and impressed us all by staying right side up through it all. Gene brought the Plank to the meet but Tom took it home...

Tom, hisself, brought his famous by now yellow Bolger Windsprint...

And he took a spin in Tom Burton's kayak, very blue and short...

Not at all blue and short was Paul Ellifrit's CLC...

Richard Spelling brought this Toto. As Tom Cole's wife was voyaging in the Paddle Plank, Richard's did the stand up paddle thing in this Toto. Yes, she stayed right side up. Not sure how and I would not suggest anyone try it except to get wet..

Kay Paul Ellifrit, the elder, brought his very reworked Family Skiff...

Richard Spelling also brought Lulu, a strip built trimaran. Has folding floats this year...

All set up and underway...

Gene Berry tries out Rovie Alford's Piragua18...

And Craig tries out Gene's Larsboat...

What's this?? Tom Burton tries a reboarding experiment with his Mayfly14...

He takes a thoughtful look at it. A small rope ladder attached to the rudder head, to be unfolded by the swimmer who can push against the rudder to reboard. A rope ladder that just dangles in the water won't work well as your feet will simply swing under the boat...

I get my picture taken by Craig who tried out every boat, here in Spelling's Toto...

Doug returns from a voyage in the Montego19, brand new sails. He only had a trolling motor this trip and for one day nothing as the motor's prop decided to unscrew itself. The marina had a replacement. Note the new old pallet "dock"...

On Saturday it got overcast, rained everywhere but at the inlet, the wind picked up and another nonrace broke out...

Most reefed down as did Tom Cole in his Windsprint...

Dick Scobbie brought along his restored 1957 Texas Maid complete with period tailfins and 35 horse Johnson...

Doug did the cooking again this year, best cook in the Navy except he was a submarine tech, not a cook...

Eveyone dug in...

The rain stayed away. We got lucky...

And a good time was had by all. Let's do it again next year. I will try to get the word out in December so we can quick steal the proper campsites again.



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.






1jul17, Rowing2, Viola14

15jul17, Rowing3, Vamp

1aug17, RowingSetup, Oracle

15aug17, Taped Seams, Cormorant

1sep17, OliveOly Capsize Test, OliveOly

15sep17, Plywood Butt Joints, Philsboat

1oct17, Sailing OliveOyl, Larsboat

15oct17, Water Ballast, Jonsboat

1nov17, Water Ballast Details, Piccup Pram

15nov17, Scram Pram Capsize, Harmonica

1dec17, Sail Area Math, Ladybug

15dec17, Cartopping, Sportdory

1jan18, Trailering, Normsboat

15jan18, AF3 Capsize Test, Robote

1feb18, Bulkhead Bevels, Toto

15feb18, Sail Rig Spars, IMB

1mar18, Sail Rig Trim 1, AF4Breve

15mar18, Sail Rig Trim 2, Harmonica

1apr18, Two Totos, River Runner

15apr18, Capsize Lessons, Mayfly16

1may18, Scarfing Lumber, Blobster

15may18, Rigging Sharpie Sprit Sails, Laguna

1jun18, Rigging Lug Sails, QT Skiff


Mother of All Boat Links

Cheap Pages

Duckworks Magazine

The Boatbuilding Community

Kilburn's Power Skiff

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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