Jim Michalak's Boat Designs
1024 Merrill St, Lebanon, IL 62254
A page of boat designs and essays.
(1 January 2017) This issue will right a capsized AF3. The 15 January issue will talk about the weather.
THE BOOK IS OUT!
BOATBUILDING FOR BEGINNERS (AND BEYOND)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.
"Look Ma, no chine logs!" Not totally sure how he bent everything to shape but Greg Hall's taped seam Riverrunner looks slick and correct. Taped seams make for a boat that is lighter and probably longer lived than a nailed together boat but not everyone likes epoxy mess.
1024 Merrill St,
Lebanon, IL 62254
Send $1 for info on 20 boats.
AF3 Capsize Tests
This is a rerun of a 1999 issue which featured a capsize test done by Herb McLeod on his then new AF3. I want to keep this one up front because it demonstrates what you need to do when you capsize a sailboat which is not self righting, but rather is self rescuing. That is you can get it back upright and going again if you are properly prepared and if the boat, like AF3, has ample built in flotation or airboxes to keep it floating high on its side as you recover. A few things I'd like to point out. 1) Herb's tests were done in very benign conditions and if you capsize in really bad conditions recovery could be a lot more difficult or impossible. 2) If you tinker with a design such that you remove flotation or airboxes or enlarge hatches or move them off centerline, etc., the recovery system may not work and the boat may swamp to the point where you cannot recover. 3) If you have a design with no flotation or airboxes at all, such as most any traditional open boat, recovery is about impossible because the boat will swamp completely and be unstable even if it doesn't sink.
And now on to our story...
AF3 CAPSIZE RECOVERY...
Herb McLeod has been sending me some great scans and also some results of capsizing his AF3, both intentional and unintentional. Early this summer he wrote:
I now have 14 days of sailing in on the AF3. Alas, no pictures yet of it sailing on the water for the same reason as ever, no one else around to take a picture. Most days I am the only boat on the lake. Had one sail where we traveled 20 miles in one day. We did a 6.5 mile section that day in 1 hour 10 minutes with the small sail (69 square feet) on a beam to broad reach (lots of wind). Also managed to turn the AF3 on its side that same day. The AF3 floated well was easily uprighted, boarded and bailed out. Everything in the cuddy stayed dry and we managed to not loose any of our gear. But that is not what I am writing about....."
That whetted my appetite and I emailed for more info about the capsize.
"I'd like to hear a bit more about the AF3 capsize. In particular: About what angle did it go over?"
"I do not know because we were not sailing it at the time. We were both standing on the cuddy deck fiddeling with the sail in a good blow and it went over real fast. We have regularly sailed the hull at up to 20 degrees of heel and it does not feel unstable although I like it best at 10 degrees of heal. I have an inclinometer on the boat(overkill I know) so I know that the angle of heel is a real measurement not a guess. When sailing I had one puff that almost caused a knockdown because I had accidently cleated the main sheet. What happened is he boat healed over dramatically and the sail depowered enough that equilibrium was reached and I was able to uncleat the sheet in time to prevent a capsize. Unfortuantly I did not look at the inclinometer, but I was busy at the time.
" How did you right the boat? (Did you use the leeboard?)"
"Gord the fellow I was sailing with uprighted the boat while I swam off after our cooler that was quickly blowing away. The water was shallow so he was standing on the bottom. His comment after was that he was amazed at how easily the boat came back up. The second set of plans for the AF3 that I purchased was for Gord as after that experience he was convinced that he wanted to build himself an AF3 this winter. We will see..."
"How did you reboard the boat?"
"I climbed on from the stern. I have a small step on the stern that also doubles as a support for my mast cradle. Iput my hands on the stern deck and placed my foot on the step and climbed on board. I must take a photo of this step and send it to you. With the step it was easy to reboard and I could walk around in the cockpit with the water in it and bail it out. Gord then reboarded over the side, which was much more difficult and his choice not mine."
"What I will have to do the next time I am out sailing will be to dump the boat in deep water while watching the inclinometer and get you an answer. The water should be warm this week as it is again over 30C today. Unreal for us as it is usually cool, no one has air conditioning here. We were at a folk festival today but came home as it was too hot.
At summer's end he wrote:
I was glad that I caught you in the other night. It was good to talk to you after so many emails.
I did get out "sailing" this Sunday. I rolled the AF3 solo both ways in deep water. The AF3 seemed stable to well over 30 degrees and I had the distinct feeling that I could have pushed it back upright until the point was reached that the water started to come over the combing of the cockpit. I had my large sail on the boat at the time of the test (103 square feet, 24-foot mast). Winds were almost non-existent. When it was rolled with the leeboard down in the water righting the boat was an easy task as all I had to do was put light pressure on the board. When the leeboard was up out of the water I "walked" with my hands along the chine log (it makes a good grip) to the leeboard and then pulled on the board to pop the boat upright. The comment from the yacht club spectators on the dock was that it came up too easy. They wanted to see me struggle for a while. When righted the boat had 6" on water in the cockpit against the center bulkhead. I pulled myself on board via the stern. I found it easiest to board directly in the middle of the stern because the boat would tend to wallow with the water in the cockpit if I was off to one side or the other. I found turning the rudder 90 degrees and using it as a hand hold helped to reboard. For those with limited arm strength a step on the rudder or a rope step on the stern near the midline would be a great help for reboarding. My son was taking photos I hope some of them turned out. Also asked another boat to take a few photos while sailing maybe we will get you a picture of the AF3 sailing.
I am now off for a week to Jasper Alberta with my son for some hiking and canoeing.
WHAT I THINK IT ALL MEANS....
Herb McLeod seems to be the most energetic and organized person I've met.
The scenery of his sailing lake is certainly picture book beautiful. He has warned me that the mosquitoes don't show in the photos.
The capsize with two men on the cuddy deck is no surprize. The boat was not designed for that. In fact the idea behind the slot top cabin is to do all sail handling from inside the slot. You can do that if the snotter attachment is kept within reach of a person with his feet on the boat's bottom. I suspect the high snotter attachment Herb is using is to gain more sail efficiciency. That is true enough but after having snotter tackles fail in one way or another I learned to keep the them well within reach.
Actually the AF3 capsize seems very similar to my experiences with capsizing my old Jinni. Both boats capsize well before they take water over the side. Jinni had less flotation and I think took on more water. I was able to reboard Jinni over the side. It had lower sides and there seemed to be a trick to rolling over the side just as the boat was rolling upright. Then I had to be very careful to not recapsize the boat because of the sloshing cockpit water. And like AF3, Jinni couldn't quite roll upright until I put some weight on the leeboard. The Jinni had three skid/stiffeners on its bottom which I used as a toehold to regain the capsized boat in the same way that Herb used the AF3 external chines as a finger hold. I may add some similar skids to the AF3 drawings.
Herb looks to have gone through all his tests without disturbing any gear because he had it well stowed. Very important. But a tight well secured fabric cover of the cabin slot would be a good idea in rough going. It should help keep a big wave from sloshing into the cabin and upsetting your day. You must remember that in the conditions that might cause a real capsize things will be a lot more trying.
NORMSBOAT, 18' X 5-1/2", 600 POUNDS EMPTY
Normsboat was designed for Norm Wolf of Washington D.C. to join a group of trailer traveling shallow water sailors. He wanted the ability to motor and self rescue in a knockdown. Simplicity of rigging was also of importance. The prototype was built mostly by Richard Cullison of Cullison Smallcraft with some items done by Norm. Richard has presented a fine photo essay of the construction at his web site.
A real motor mount is the first reality that you face with almost any boat that is supposed to be on a schedule. Normsboat has a very short motor well in the stern that is full width. Small fuel cans can go there too, as can the extra anchors, boots, etc. Actually Norm hasn't used the motoring ability of his boat (yet) and uses a 12' long yuloh oar instead which you can see lashed to the deck of his boat - it looks like a bow sprit but it isn't. I show oarports on the drawings, another way of getting around without a motor in calm conditions. That, by the way, is the achilles heel of the idea of using oars instead of a motor on a sailing boat. The oars will work in calm conditions but they can't save your butt in really bad going like a good motor might.
Just forward of the well is a buoyancy/storage chamber. Very important in a knockdown, a chamber like this is supposed to hold the stern up when the cockpit floods, keeping the boat level and preventing flooding in the cabin. Forward of that is a 6' long cockpit with bench seating giving Normsboat the capacity to sail several adults. Forward of that is a 7-1/2' cuddy cabin right out of AF4. It has a slot top which allows you to walk right to the bow of the boat. In bad weather you cover the slot with a tarp. There is room to sleep two but they have to be great chums, the idea is for it to be a solo cabin. And finally there is a small well in the bow for a messy anchor.
Norm did a practice capsize in calm conditions. It worked but I think most of us hoped the cabin slot would have more freeboard when the boat was on its side. I thought the AF3 capsize test went a lot better in that respect. I'm not sure why there is so much difference between the two. Anyway, I'm hoping for an AF2 practice capsize before making any decisions about it. Normsboat righted very easily when Norm grabbed the bottom and very little water inside the cockpit and none anywhere else. But I would be worried about a wave washing into the cabin slot in rough water and would make an effort to fit watertight hatches over the slot in rough going. I hope to write more about this in a later issue (if I figure it out).
The sail rig is right out of AF2 except here it is rigged as a balanced lug sail to make the rigging quicker. It also allows a lighter mast. On the downside, the mast must be stepped in the cabin but it won't be a bother to a solo cruiser. The boat could be rerigged as a gaffer as with AF2. Pivoting leeboard and rudder make sailing in shallows very easy.
Norm used to have a Dovekie. Phil Bolger, who designed Dovekie, would point out that the idea behind Dovekie was that it be non motorized and he would be disappointed that no one wants to row and everyone adds a motor. But almost every feature of Normsboat is something I learned from Bolger ..... the highly rockered sharpie hull, the double planked bottom (strength and weight where it is needed), the draining wells bow and stern, the emergency buoyancy system, the slot top cuddy, the lug sail with off center mounting, and the single pivoting leeboard.
Fourteen sheets of 3/8" plywood with simple nail and glue construction. No jigs, no lofting.
Plans for Normsboat are $40.
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:
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.) 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.
AN INDEX OF PAST ISSUES
THE WAY BACK ISSUES RETURN!
MANY THANKS TO CANADIAN READER GAETAN JETTE WHO NOT ONLY SAVED THEM FROM THE 1997 BEGINNING BUT ALSO PUT TOGETHER AN EXCELLENT INDEX PAGE TO SORT THEM OUT....
THE WAY BACK ISSUES
15jan16, Sailing For Nonsailors 3, Robote
1feb16, Sharpie Sprit Rigging, Laguna
15feb16, Trailering Plywood Boats, IMB
1mar16, Hollow Spars, Slam Dink
15mar16, Bulkhead Bevels, Frolic2
1apr16, Capsize Lessons, RiverRunner
15apr16, Wood Vs Aluminum Spars, Mayfly16
1may16, Scarfing Wood, Blobster
15may16, Prismatic Coefficient, Roar2
1jun16, Figuring Displacement, Mayfly14
15jun16, Rend Lake 2016, Mixer
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
Mother of All Boat Links
The Boatbuilding Community
Kilburn's Power Skiff
Bruce Builds Roar
Rich builds AF2
JB Builds AF4
JB Builds Sportdory
Puddle Duck Website
Brian builds Roar2
Herb builds AF3
Herb builds RB42
Barry Builds Toto
Table of Contents