Jim Michalak's Boat Designs
1024 Merrill St, Lebanon, IL 62254
A page of boat designs and essays.
(1 May 2023) We discuss capsize recovery. The 15 May issue will be about mast tabernacles.
REND LAKE MESSABOUT 2023...
...Lets try it again. Rend Lake 2023 will take place on June 9 and 10, always on the weekend before Father's Day weekend. I promised to remind all of us to try to get the good campsites. They are sites 24 through 30 and especially 26 through 29 if possible, this at the North Sandusky campground at Rend Lake.
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.
ALSO...In addition to the Duckworks downloads I also now have access to a large format inkjet printer which is making very nice full sized prints on paper. So I can return to what I started 30 years ago, you order direct from me by snail mail using the address above only with cash or check in US funds with the prices shown on this website, and I mail you full sized 2'x 3' paper prints. The price includes first class mail to US and Canada.
Great photo of a great building job by Eduardo in Uruguay. He says he got a lot of help from Chuck Pierce who has been in this section many times with his own Mayfly14. Eduardo says his mast and boom are built hollow. I love simple things that work well and the Mayflys fit that bill.
1024 Merrill St,
Lebanon, IL 62254
Send $1 for info on 20 boats.
AF3 Capsize Tests
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. I put 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.
BLOBSTER, SAILBOAT, 16' X 6.5', 750 POUNDS EMPTY
Blobster has a lot of features I like in a boat. Lots of volume for its size, sort of like Micro or Scram Pram. The multichine shape is almost exactly like Scram's but this one does not have a Birdwatcher cabin. It has the more traditional cabin with a raised watertight deck behind. Also it has one feature I would love to have in my personal boats - a step-through bow so that when you beach you can go forward through the cabin and out the front without going into the water or climbing over the bow. The cabin also has a slot top roof.
This shape of boat with multichines has proven good in rough water and with fair speed in spite of its blobular proportions. Blobster has about 600 pounds of water ballast in its belly and should be OK to 90 degrees heel although such depends mostly on weight distribution of the crew, something the designer has little control over. On the other hand, if the crew jumps overboard the boat will be almost assured of righting without their help. Then the problem becomes reboarding. Be prepared!
Sail rig is a large but simple 139 square foot balanced lug on an 18' mast. Mast is stepped off center to allow you to walk upright down the slot top and out the front. Should be rigged in an instant with no one going on deck ever. All very low tech built with common materials but effective.
The prototype Blobster was built by Miles Bore in Australia. He had built several boats prior, including a Micro, and did a great job of it using very nice materials.
Outside and on its trailer for the first time, the likeness to Micro is clear. But you can see it was meant to be much easier to trailer and launch.
Then he used it for a while as a low power motor cruiser while he finished the sail rig. You can see how easy the boat was meant to use from the beach with its step through bow transom.
Then for the rig and off for a sail, shown here with ballast tanks full. Miles reports it sails with no vices so far. No, he hasn't capsized it yet.
Miles got this photo of the inside. The living platform you see is 7' long and 6' wide max and about 42" at its deepest from platform to slot top. With the slot top cabin and step through transom it is a pretty airy home. Maybe not the little cruiser that Micro is but clearly much easier to use in general and a good choice for a daysail when you have but a couple of hours at the lake.
Great job, Miles!
Blobster uses taped seam construction. Five sheets of 1/4" plywood, eleven sheets of 3/8" plywood and one sheet of 1/2" plywood.
Plans for Blobster are $45.
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.
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
15may22, Mast Tabernacles, Laguna
1jun22, Underwater Board Shape, QT Skiff
15jun22, Capsize Lessons, Mixer
1jul22, Scarfing Lumber, Vireo14
15jul22, Rigging Lugsails, Frolic2
1aug22, Horsepower, Oracle
15aug22, Sharpie Sprit Sails, Cormorant
1sep22, Measuring Prop Thrust, OliveOyl
15sep22, Leeboard Issues, Philsboat
1oct22, Prismatic Coefficient, Larsboat
15oct22, Figuring Displacement, Jonsboat
1nov22, Lugsail Jiffy Reef, Mayfly14
15nov22, Sharpie Reefing, Piccup Pram
1dec22, Making Oars, Batto
15dec22, Taped Seams, Sportdory
1jan23, Rowboat Setup, Normsboat
15jan23, Sail Area Math, Robote
1feb23, Bulkhead Bevels, Toto
15feb23, Trailering Boats, IMB
1mar23, Small Boat Rudders, AF4B
15mar23, Making Sink Weights, Scram Pram
1apr23, Sailrig Spars, RiverRunner
15apr23, Water Ballast, Mayfly16
Mother of All Boat Links
The Boatbuilding Community
Kilburn's Power Skiff
JB Builds AF4
JB Builds Sportdory
Puddle Duck Website
Brian builds Roar2
Barry Builds Toto
Table of Contents