Jim Michalak's Boat Designs

118 E Randall, Lebanon, IL 62254

A page of boat designs and essays.

(1July2015) This issue is about the 2015 Rend Lake Meet. The 15 July issue will take a second look at Jukebox3.



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.


The Captain calls for her crew at Rend Lake. See a youtube video of the messabout by Tom Burton at https://youtu.be/GskCDye3cmI



Contact info:


Jim Michalak
118 E Randall,
Lebanon, IL 62254

Send $1 for info on 20 boats.



Rend Lake 2015


...Well over 20 years now. The weather forecast for the weekend was terrible but usually there is a chance to sneak in a few hours of good boating in the two days of the meet no matter the forecast. Let's see, I got there on Friday morning with my AF4 in tow and took a quick walk around the camp loop. At the end of the camping loop Steve Tyree was unpacking his custom sailing canoe, somewhat inspired by Bolger's old EEEK design where the driver lies flat on his back while sailing to keep that cg down. I forgot to get a photo of this boat sailing.

Found a pair of old regulars down by the waterside, Rovie Alford's modified Harmonica and Dave Seaburg's custom WindIGo...

And seeing this Campanoe down by the waterside is always good news - means Mike Zenker is here. No, not a homebuilt but just as strange...

Chris Feller was here again roughing it with his Philsboat. He uses it evenings as an air conditioned camping trailer....

The St Louis Skiff Americas were there again, designer Kilburn Adams in the foreground and Bill Dulin in the background...

Out at the ramp area Mike Walsh was prepping his Weekender for a go. A perfect new RED paint job too...

And also from St Louis this houseless Devlin Nancy's China ...

And at about the same time John Nystrom with his PuddleDuck. John recently returned to Indiana from a long time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over breakfast we quizzed him a bit about real life in those places and that got him started....OH MY!

Eugene Dixon brought his prototype Jukebox3 from Oklahoma. He spent the winter adding a mast tabernacle and we spent Friday morning rigging it up. But he also had a new motor with new remote controls, engine and steering, on it and the remote installers had drilled holes through the (supposed to be watertight) aft bulkhead. We convinced him to take it out with the sail rig left on shore for now. Then we spent some hours decyphering the engine controls as she would not start (electric start). After a bit of disection Bill Dulin grabbed a loose linkage in the engine and said,"What's this?" Turned out to be a disconnected choke linkage and the choke was forever closed. Flopped it open and away it went. But that took a day...

Up on shore was the CLC kayak of Paul Ellifrit, son of Kay Paul Ellifrit...

And Kay Paul Ellifrit's modified Family Skiff sits for its camping trailer duties...

What's this?? It is DC Brown's CanduEZ powered by a Honda 10. This is DC's second boat, his first being a Catbox a few year's back. He learns fast...

Later, with the engine sorted out, we took a ride on the Jukebox3. I suppose four of us had it pretty much maxed out weight wise. The Tohatsu 10 had no trouble pushing it up to hull speed at part throttle and we motored around for an hour or so. I will be writing more about this in the future. I suspect (maybe) I learned a lot in this short jaunt...

For a while we were trailed by Alford's Harmonica. That is Tom Burton with camera in the bow. His video of the meet can be seen at https://youtu.be/GskCDye3cmI. Tom came with his dad and brothers with their veteran Mayfly14. I got a good sail in it but forgot to get a photo! This Harmonica had an Evinrude 10 that looked exactly like Dixon's Tohatsu 10....

Mike Sandell and wife really are the sailing veterans of the meet now, shown here returning in Fatcat2 with a double reef in after coming off the big lake. Nothing broke this year and the engine always worked, must be getting boring...

Curry Bishop brought his AF4, a good family boat for his growing bunch of kids...

They got into the CanduEZ and mutinied over a bag of animal crackers...

They inspected every inch of the thing...

I guess that is what happens to the cutest boat of the meet. By the way, the water level was all the way up to the top again this year. The dropoff here was straight down at least four feet complete with thorn bushes on the edge. Luckily the shore at the rest of the area was pretty gentle...

No rain yet, after two days under a rain forecast. The Tstorms were around us though many times. The Burtons edged one in their Mayfly14 out on the big lake but brought it back alive. Saturday evening and we set up the cookout...

We had a moment of silence for that great messabouter Steve Lewis who passed away this spring. Steve traveled all around with his fleet. He always was trying out some new idea, never boring. Even as this cookout was forming the ranger drove by asking if we knew Steve Lewis since the campsite he had reserved very early in the year was not being used. Here is a photo of Steve in his modified Stevens boat in 2011...

Right after the moment of silence Steve Walsh got this photo of the group. (I guess we were still looking glum.)

Well, as often happens, the two day all day rain forecast came true right after the end of the cookout. Then it rained big every day for a week.






Musicbox3 is about the same size as the Bolger Micro and is clearly derived from it. I've sailed on a couple of Micros. Amazing boat in a lot of ways, especially in the amount of room inside a 15' boat. The volume is the result of a 6' wide beam and flat bottom.

I thought that in most ways Micro's strength and weakness was in its keel - about 450 pounds of lead casting permanently fixed for a draft of about 18". The strength is that Micro is very stable and selfrighteous. The weakness is in the difficulties in launching and using a boat with that much draft, and in making the casting. For all the griping about making the casting, I never heard of anyone trying one with internal ballast, or using a leeboard on Micro, both mods would be quite possible. So I tried both on Musicbox3. The ballast shown on the plans is in the form of a water box which holds about 500 pounds of water. That could be replaced with lead or steel bolted to the bottom of the bulkheads if you didn't mind trailering the ballast - it would give more room inside, too. So Musicbox3 should float off the trailer in just 5" of water, and float in 7.5" with the ballast tank flooded, and about 9" with two full sized adults with their junk.

The pivoting leeboard and rudder allow the boat to be driven full tilt over shallows or onto a beach, something you would never do with Micro. But keep in mind that the ballasted Musicbox3 weighs about 1300 pounds and you will have to lift and push that back into the water. I suppose in a tough situation you could pump out the ballast water to float her, as they used to throw cannons overboard in Columbus's day to refloat a grounded boat.

I used a gaff rig on a tabernacle on Musicbox3 to improve on Micro's set up time, and I think Musicbox3 would befar and away the better of the two if you had but an afternoon for sailing. I didn't show a gallows but you could add one such that you can fold the sail rig with the yard, boom, sail, and mast all in a neat package, with all the rigging ropes left installed. Micro's yawl rig is superior for cruising, especially for anchoring in open water. I think Musicbox3 could be tinkered with to add the mizzen mast. To me the best cruising rig might be this gaff with a shortened boom, a small mizzen sail, and a very good outboard motor. Musicbox3 has a small well in the stern for the motor, and a small well in the bow for anchors.

The capacity of these boats comes at the expense of weight and materials - after all, they are 20' boats compressed to 15'. Musicbox3 requires 5 sheets of 1/4" plywood, eleven sheets of 3/8" plywood, and one sheet of 1/2" plywood. She is more robustly built than Bolger's drawings show Micro, but I suspect most Micros are built heavier than the drawings show.

Plans forMusixbox3 are $25 until one is built and tested.


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...






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

15jun15, Thailand Mixer Cruise, Mixer


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

Table of Contents