Jim Michalak's Boat Designs

1024 Merrill St, Lebanon, IL 62254

A page of boat designs and essays.

(1 September 2017) Herb McLeod does a test capsize of the prototype OliveOyl. The 15 September issue will review butt joints.


Fellow Messers,

July 4th is behind us and mid-September is closing fast. We just wanted to send a short reminder that the 26th occurrence of the Lake Monroe Midwest Messabout will be September 15, 16, & 17 -- mark your calendars.

Go to https://sites.google.com/site/lakemonroemidwestmessabout/home for additional information and feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions. If you're planning to attend, and want us to add your name/boat/homeport to the website's "Who's Coming" list just send us an email.

Hope to see all of you in just a few weeks. We have the ice cream maker standing by!! Pass the word to all your boating friends. Regards, John & Susan McDaniel



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.


Herb McLeod works hard to test capsize his new OliveOyl.



Contact info:


Jim Michalak
1024 Merrill St,
Lebanon, IL 62254

Send $1 for info on 20 boats.



OliveOyl Capsize Test

Builder Herb McLeod built the first AF3 a while back and gave us a nice essay on capsize recovery . He has completed the protoype OliveOyl and here he gives us another great capsize test report. His boat is at this time rigged with his old AF3 sharpie sprit sail. He has not had a chance yet to give Olive a good sailing workout. He lives in Canada and, yes, that is a midsummer wetsuit.

"August 2, 2017

Hi Jim,

A couple of days ago I tried turning OliveOyl on its side. I asked my neighbour Bob Huson to take some photos of the event.

Unlike the AF3, OliveOyl was very unwilling to fall off its feet. To roll the AF3 on its side was easy and once tipped far enough it would hit a point of no return and quickly lay over. Not so with OliveOyl. In fact I had to put most of my weight (170 pounds) on the off-centre board slot to get the boat to even start to roll over. Once it was mostly on its side I had to continue to use my weight to make sure it did not pop back upright. I continued to pull on the slot top to get it to fill with enough water so it would not pop back up. The boat was easily righted with my pushing on the off-centre board, not the light finger pressure as needed on the AF3 but still not much of a push was needed. I was a little concerned that the massive wall of plywood might come crashing down on my head as I pulled the boat up but that was not the case. The boat righted itself in a controlled manner. There was about 3 to 4 inches of water in the foot well when I righted the boat. At this point I did not bail out the foot well.

I then tried rolling the boat with the off-center board on the upside. On this side the boat bottom is almost perpendicular to the water surface because of the off center mast. Sorry I did not think to ask for a picture to show how the slot opening is relative to the water surface. To right the boat from this side I tried to hang on to the center keelson but because of the taper this was not a good hand hold. (The keelson is tapered to fit the rollers on my trailer). As the keelson was not a good handhold I next got a hold of the chine by pulling myself up the transom of the boat using the rudder and then by the outboard motor mount. Without the motor mount it would have been much more difficult to grab onto the chine log. I then started hand over hand pulling myself up towards the off-centerboard. I never reached the off-centerboard because with my weight on the chine at the midpoint of cockpit the boat then righted itself. This was a rather athletic maneuver and required a fair amount of arm strength to hoist myself that high out of the water. To make the boat more easily righted from this side I am planning to next try out a rope tied to the forward edge the off-center board slot and attached by a clip the bow ring. If I am easily able to reach up to the bow ring when the boat is on its side I hope that I might find this rope more useful to haul the boat upright.

I re-boarded the boat using the foot slot in the rudder. This was again a somewhat athletic maneuver. It was OK for me but I could see others with less arm strength not being able to re-board the boat in this manner. Another item on my to do list is to build or buy a boarding step that will work on the port side of the transom and see if this facilitates re-boarding with more ease than the foot slot in the rudder does. I still think the foot slot in the rudder is a good idea and would recommend that this feature not be ignored by future builders even if they come up with an alternative way of re-boarding. The foot slot is a handy holding point when inserting the rudder pintels into the gudgeons.

When I righted the boat a second time there was about 5 to 6 inches of water in the foot well. As I bailed the boat I measured 15 US gallons of water was removed. With the water contained to the middle of the boat there was no sloshing from side to side and no stability problems were noted. In fact I doubt that it would have been a problem to sail away at this point and bail the boat our later. (I will try this next time.)

I have the main sheet attached to the boom with a snap clip and detached the sheet from the sail while in the water before righting the boat. Even with the sail swinging free the boat tended to sail away as soon as it was upright. I will install a small 3 x 5 rope float on the end of the main sheet so that the sheet may trail out behind the boat if it should start to sail away before I am able to clamber on board.

I was also curious to see if the rudder would float if it came off its gudgeons. This concern goes back to a long time ago when I was partly responsible for a fleet of 404 sailboats that were used for a learn-to-sail program in Alberta. The rudders on these boats do not float and every year we would lose one or two despite warning the students to insure they were properly attached. I am happy to report that the rudder as I built it with the block of lead in it floats nicely."



OLIVEOYL, Cabin Sailboat, 15' X 6', 500 pounds empty

OliveOyl was designed for someone who likeD AF3 but wanted more cabin room and comfort, but not more length. So I actually had some AF4breve drawings handy when I drew the lines for the new boat. Although Olive is the same length as AF3 the cabin is deeper and the bottom a foot wider. One thing the owner did not want, which made the larger cabin possible, was a large cockpit. So I've drawn a bridge deck which extends into the cockpit, reducing foot space there, and also just borrowed length from the cockpit and put it in the cabin. So the floor length in the cabin is over 8'long but you will probably sleep with your feet stuck under the bridge deck. I suppose the downside is that the cockpit is less than 5' long so two adults would fill it. I am guessing an empty weight of 500 pounds but it will take 2000 pounds to put its stem in the water so she should take a fair load.

I suppose I've learned a bit since I drew AF3 a while back. One thing I've learned is that when beached a boat like this is much easier to board if the bow is not too high, thus on this boat I've cut down the bow enough so you can sit on it anD swing your legs around right into the cabin entry in the bulkhead, I hope. The owner did not care about that and I don't think she beaches much in her area.

Now, the owner wanted a conventional cabin with sliding hatches so I drew that. And with it went a mast mounted on a tabernacle. I drew the mast off center as I normally do, attaching it to one of the main cabin deck beams. That moves it out of the center of the boat where you will be sleeping. But this boat could be simpler if it had my usual open slot top with a one piece mast. Such a layout would be a lot better I think for a boat which would be sailed off a beach too since it would allow the skipper to hop on the bow after pushing off, and then run upright back to the cockpit. As is he would have to creep down and tHrough the cabin or go over the cabin but I should warn you that, with AF3 at least, standing on the cabin top is an invitation for capsize. After all, these are not large boats.

The rig shown is pretty much right out of the AF3 experience, in particular with AF3's balanced lug rig. The spars are short and cheap and the mast short enough that the tabernacle won't be required if the open slot top is used.

But I doubt if OliveOyl would stay with an AF3 in a race. She has the same rig but she is wider, deeper and heavier and bound to be slower. On the other hand she is a much better overnighter since the AF3 has a minimal cabin suited for a backpacker.

In a lot of ways I think OliveOyl is more of a shortened Normsboat and if you don't mind the extra length and the weight and cost that go with the extra length, Normsboat would be I think a lot more boat for the buck.

Conventional nail and glue construction. She needs seven sheets of 1/4" plywood, two sheets of 3/8" ply, and four sheets of 1/2" ply.

Prototype plans for OliveOyl are $35.


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.

Herb McLeod in Canada has finished the first OliveOyl and is now testing..






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

1jan17, AF3 Capsize, Normsboat

15jan17, The Weather, Robote

1feb17, Aspect Ratio, Jewelbox Jr

15feb17, Aspect Ratio 2, IMB

1mar17, Normsboat Capsize, AF4Breve

15mar17, Underwater Board Shape, Harmonica

1apr17, Capsize Lesson, RiverRunner

15apr17, Measuring Leeway, Mayfly16

1may17, Scarfing Lumber, Blobster

15may17, Rigging Lugsails, QT Skiff

1jun17, Rowing1, Mayfly14

15jun17, Rend Lake 2017, Mixer

1jul17, Rowing2, Viola14

15jul17, Rowing3, Vamp

1aug17, RowingSetup, Oracle

15aug17, Taped Seams, Cormorant


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

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