Jim Michalak's Boat Designs

1024 Merrill St, Lebanon, IL 62254

A page of boat designs and essays.

(15 June 2019) We cover the 2019 Rend Lake Messabout. The 1 July issue will review scarf joints in lumber.



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.


Rovie Alford says a prayer before taking the kids for a Piragua ride at Rend Lake.



Contact info:


Jim Michalak
1024 Merrill St,
Lebanon, IL 62254

Send $1 for info on 20 boats.



Rend Lake 2019


...RAIN, RAIN, RAIN, AND MORE RAIN. The forecast kept many folks away from the Rend Lake Messabout this year. Not just us though. The campground was not full as in other years. Our usual loop had several vacancies including a premium site on the water. It hardly rained but was pretty much overcast the four days I was there. The wind varied a bit, never really strong. Anyway, Rovie Alford was there with many family members and his Piragua18. Off he goes with his grandkids (or were they great grandkids?)

Then to launch...

...to a successful return and a chance to pick up the next in line...

Here Tom Cole ghosts back in his Richard Woods dinghy rigged as a trimaran, Gene Berry's Walmart kayak in the foreground...

...and on to the shore (the lake was high and there wasn't much "shore")...

Here is a closer look at the boat. The hiking seats/floats lash in place but there is no need to remove them in towing as the floats fold inward just outside the seats. I take it that Richard sails this without the floats, just hikes out on the seats.

Gene Berry brought his weeks old Piccup...

Richard Spelling brought two to add to the small lineup...

The big one comes back each year in a different disguise. The center hull is a cedar strip canoe (he added one strip a day he says) with the folding amahs in use with previous boats plus a rig taken from a sunfish type. He has other interesting thoughts in store for this boat.

And the little red canoe is my Toto except it was cut by Richards's homebrew cnc machine...

Don Wesemann brought a new Weekender from St. Louis...

Don rides here in the bow seat of Tom Burton's Mayfly14. You see the situation with the wind. Tom has the boat reefed for sailing in the open lake but needs the oars to get back home in the shelter of the large campground inlet.

Tom's Mayfly is quite a veteran of the Rend Lake meet...

This year we sort of had an abundance of geese, shown here about half of the local fleet. They rest here but normally cruise in a large formation...

Well, Saturday is usually cookout night but the rain was quite in the forecast again. Richard Spelling noted by his radar we had maybe a 40 minute window for a rain free meal, not enough time for the usual charcoal fire. So our little group had a pot luck dinner with burgers and dogs cooked on a propane stove. It all worked out quite well. Gee, it looks like the sun is shining in this photo, but Richard's radar was right on. Right after the ice cream dessert was finished, it rained....



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.






1jul18, Horse Power, Vireo14

15jul18, Motors per the Coast Guard, Vamp

1aug18, Propeller Pitch, Oracle

15aug18, Propeller Slip, Cormorant

1sep18, Measuring Prop Thrust, OliveOyl

15sep18, Taped Seams, Philsboat

1oct18, Plywood Butt Joints, Larsboat

15oct18, Small Boat Rudders, Jonsboat

1nov18, Sink Weights, Shanteuse

15nov18, Piccup Spinoffs, Piccup Pram

1dec18, Electric Boats 1, Ladybug

15dec18, Electric Boats 2, Sportdory

1jan19, Sail Area Math, Normsboat

15jan19, AF3Capsize, Robote

1feb19, Bulkhead Bevels, Toto

15feb19, Leeboard Issues, IMB

1mar19, Hollow Spars, AF4 Breve

15mar19, Underwater Board Shape, Harmonica

1apr19, Polytarp Sails 1, River Runner

15apr19, Polytarp Sails 2, Mayfly16

1may19, Sail Shaping, Blobster

15may19, Sail Shaping 2, Laguna

15jun19, Capsize Lessons, QT Skiff


Mother of All Boat Links

Cheap Pages

Duckworks Magazine

The Boatbuilding Community

Kilburn's Power Skiff

Dave Carnell

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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