Jim Michalak's Boat Designs

118 E Randall, Lebanon, IL 62254

A page of boat designs and essays.

(1Jul03) This issue recaps the events at the 2003 Midwest Homebuilt Boat Messabout at Rend Lake. The 15 July issue will talk about "what is horsepower". (Lots and lots of photos in this issue and it may take a while to load!)



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.


They gather at Rend Lake.




Contact info:


Jim Michalak
118 E Randall,
Lebanon, IL 62254

Send $1 for info on 20 boats.



2003 Rend Lake Messabout


...in the best of times so if I miss your name it isn't your fault, it's mine. Next year I will take What's His Name's suggestion and have on hand a supply of "my name is ...." stickon name tags!

We'll, what can I say. This year's messabout at Rend Lake was like the others times two thanks to the efforts of the motor guru Max Wawrzyniak. Thanks Max! And thanks to all who attended, especially those who made long drives! We counted 30 boats of which 25 were homebuilts.

There are a few that I don't seem to have Rend Lake 2003 photos of. But I found other photos of those boats. Here is Ben Scobbie's Piragua (finished when Ben was a lad but now he is old enough to drive):

And Rhett Davis' Piragua18, the photo taken in Georgia:

Might as well dive right into the newer photos, most of which were taken by John Sellers (who attended the very first Rend Lake Messabout in 1989). Here is John in his Bolger Teal which also made that first messabout:

Here is the AF4 of the motor guru hisself, Max Wawrzyniak:

Max also brought this Oracle shown here being rowed by Bob Peckham (who regaled us at the cookout with stories of teaching the deaf for over 30 years). Bob is building an RB42 which is about the same boat stretched to 18'.

You can see we had no wind to speak of on Saturday, a rowboat delight! Me, I brought a Bolger boat, my Birdwatcher. You can see it crammed onto the little beach (high water again at Rend Lake) in the photo by the table of contents. Now powered by a quiet outboard Birdwatcher has proven to be a great all around camping boat. The long cabin slot can take several men at once making it a great photo boat too, with its deck at a height similar to your tavern's bar. Here the slot is covered for drizzle we had on Friday, with Max hisself at the tiller as we motor in quiet water.

Another early arriver was Richard Spelling from Oklahoma with his Bolger Chebacco Light Cruiser:

Kilburn Adams brought his Skiff America and three of his buddies brought theirs for a total of four! This photo shows the Skiff America of Glen Myrick but the other three are identical right down to the colors and trim. Bill Dulin and Nelson Spencer brought the others:

Phil Lea had his Arkansas Junebug+. Almost always the fastest sailing boat at these meets and for some reason he always has some breeze while the rest of us sit in the calm. This is a Bolger Junebug scaled up about 10%.

Bruce and Elaine Hector came all the way from Ontario with this Bolger Nymph. He has two Micros in the shed to go with it. He wrote an article about this meet for www.duckworksmagazine.com and I lifted a few of these photos from that site. (Rust on the truck is actually a custom paint job.)

Dave Seaburg brought this beautiful D4 down from Rockford. His first boat but not his last, says he. Here he is working on his sunburn.

Here is a two for one. The Micro is a stretched to 18' job (but not a Longmicro) now owned by Tom Cole. The canoe is from Henry Laurent of Iowa and has a history of long voyages. The sail rig is still in testing.

Here Max directs traffic to make room for an unusual boat called Church by Guy Boyce from Chicagoland. ("I spend my Sundays in Church," he says.) It is actually a very modified old fiberglass runabout taken from the dumpheap and rebuilt a lot better than new.

And it has a jetski power unit buried inside.

Really clean, huh? The whole boat was like that. Larry Pollon also was there with his Jetfish, also powered by an old jetski motor. These two guys didn't stay long and I didn't get to photograph Larry's boat. On the outside it looked the same as it did two years ago but he says only the front 40% is the same. It runs very smooth and quickly now.

Bill Paxton brought this rare (the only one?) Weekender without a cabin. Looks like a good idea with lots of bench seating and a way to keep the crew weight forward.

Rex and Kathy Payne from central Indiana bring a perfect boat to all these meets, this time a stripper Melonseed. The sail if just for shade on days like this.

This is a modified Selway Fisher sailing design. We saw this one on its trailer covered and spent a while guessing until the builder showed up. I remembered him from a few years ago when he brought an Acorn Skiff. In true fashion I've totally forgotten his name but remember all else about him. From Columbia, Mo.

Roger Harlow came up from Corpus Christi to visit his folks and sailed this Piccup Pram originally built by Bob Williams.

Old motor buff Jeff Hoesel brought this 11' Glen L runabout with a 1956 Johnson 15 and it all ran very well. He built the boat a couple of years ago but the design may be as old as the motor. It ran like blazes.

Rhett Davis and Marina Duncan came all the way from the Georgia coast with this AF4 and his Piragua18. Wish I had more time to spend getting rides in all the boats!

Here is a 6 Hour Canoe by Barry Papke. Didn't get to meet him.

Paul Brunkow showed up again for a few minutes with his Cartopper. This year he had the sail rig done but I think it was only used for shade.

Mike Zenker brought this Campcanoe down from Chicagoland. It is a factory boat but is stranger than the homebuilts. Two canoes stuck together with a folding frame, a platform in the middle (with kitchen table), and a screenhouse on top. To trailer you fold up the house and flip one canoe on its hinges on top of the other. Very very clever.

I don't present too many photos of myself on this website but this is what I look like when I'm tired and sunburnt.


...We'll think about horse power.





Rhett Davis brought this prototype Piragua18 to our Midwest Messabout, hauling it strapped to the roof of his compact pickup while towing his AF4. This is the basic 14' Piragua stretched another 4' to gain a good amount of extra capacity. The shorter boat is a bit loaded by two adults but this longer one can handle them.

I had a chance to try the Piragua18 for a brief time at the messabout. It was about what you might expect. I paddled it solo so it was far from fully loaded. It feels "longer" than the shorter boat of course, tracks straighter but is harder to turn. It might be possible to reduce the depth of the bottom skid to get faster turning but then again a lot of people want the straight tracking. I'll bet it is faster in calm conditions but maybe slower on windy days where the windage of the extra 4' becomes a bother. I was able to stand up in it but wouldn't do that regularly - it is too tippy as would be any boat this narrow and light. Want to make it more stable by going wider and heavier? Go ahead but then it will be too wide to use a double paddle with any comfort.

Construction is of the simplest variety using nails and glue. Three sheets of 1/4" plywood.

Plans for Piragua18 are $20.


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.

Here are the prototypes abuilding that I know of:

The Alabama Skat now looks very boatlike:

This Seal Cove Skiff was completed a while back, built within a few weeks of when the plans were released. There was a delay in launch until the Canadian ice melted. Write up soon.

The Texas Ladybug builder prepares for taping seams:





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

Hullforms Download (archived copy)

Plyboats Demo Download (archived copy)

Brokeboats (archived copy)

Brian builds Roar2 (archived copy)

Herb builds AF3 (archived copy)

Herb builds RB42 (archived copy)

Barry Builds Toto

Table of Contents