Start to March 2002
Simply put, the Mixer is a 2-chine ply design with a plumb bow
and stern that makes construction uncomplicated. The whole thing
can be done with 4 sheets of 1/4" plywood. But since I had
some scraps left over from Egia, the bulkheads were cut from 3/8"
ply and the transom was made from 1/2" ply.
Assembly went pretty well. But there were a few head-scratching
moments. The first was over the bilge panels. The designer gives
the dimensions for the bottom panel and the sides but not the
bilges. So I was forced (like any builder) to stitch and glue the
sides and bottom, then carefully measure the remaining section.
Carefully measure...yeah, right! I just held a sheet of plywood
against the boat and ran a pencil line where I needed to cut.
Awkward? Yes. Accurate? No. But I'm not building a Concordia Yawl
Next head-scratching moment: what to do about the copper wire
stitching. Since I did all the twists on the outer part of the
hull, that really hampered my idea of taping the outer chines
first. I wound up putting an epoxy fillet on the inner part of
the chine, then snipping off the wires on the outside. The fillet
held the panels together well enough to get the tape glued in
place. Then I could breathe a bit better.
Third head-scratching moment: how to leave the forms in when I
fiberglass the outside of the hull. There are 2 temporary forms
that help define the shape of the hull along with the built-in
bulkheads. These forms are screwed in place and then removed
after the gunwales are installed. I wanted to fiberglass before
installing the gunwales, so that left me with taking out the
forms. Somehow they'll have to be back in place when I glue on
April 2002 - October 2002
It's fair to say that building boats is best left as a winter
pursuit. Other outdoor activities always seem to eclipse that
project in the garage. But I've still plugged away here and there
so progress is not totally inconsequential. Completed are
installing the gunwales, fiberglassing the hull, installing and
fiberglassing the decks (gosh, this is so easy and quick!). Still
left are fiberglassing the cockpit, making the sailing rig, and
then painting the whole mess.
Here's the most recent shot of the whole boat as it rests in the garage. Distortion
of the camera lens makes the stem look angled; it is
actually vertical. So is the transom.
A closer shot of the hatch detail. The two hatches will be secured by line similar
to kayak hatches. Some rubber gasket material around the
edges will ensure some degree of water resistance. Also
visible here are the butt blocks for each of the hull
What you're looking at here are 2 plugs. The plug on the right will become the
leeboard for the Mixer; the one on the left will be for...well,
I don't know at this point. Instead of being built of
several layers of plywood as described in the plans, I
decided to laminate them with alternate poplar and pine
strips. They were then planed and sanded to somewhat of a
foil shape and then coated with 6 oz. fiberglass. A
little additional sanding and that's what they look like.
I've done plywood laminating before, like for Egia's rudder,
so I thought I'd try something new. Besides, I think
these boards are stronger than a ply laminate.
Now I'm plugging through the various pieces
needed for the sail rig. Mast partners, leeboard attachments, and
so forth. Pretty soon I'll be ready to start making the mast and
November 2002 - February 2003
It's fair to say that building boats is best left
as a summer pursuit. Well, when doing finishing work anyway. I'm
to the point where I'm waiting impatiently for a daytime
temperature over 50 degrees so I can prime, paint, and varnish.
At press time the mast and spars are done and varnished, plus
there are 2 coats of paint on the hull.
March 2003 - Stop the Presses!
Okay, so I'm finished with the painting, just a
few more things to varnish. I've started putting some of the
hardware on. The most significant was the leeboard. I attached it
with the pivot bolt, and then stepped back to take a look at it.
Like a proud father inspecting his newborn, I looked at it from
this angle, from that angle, wiggled it a little, moved it up and
down a little.
The more I looked at that leeboard, the more uneasy I became. The more uneasy I
became, the more I fretted. And the more I fretted, the
more I looked at that leeboard again to begin the cycle
For months I've been thinking about that
leeboard. There's no doubt that the idea is a good one.
It is fixed so that it will work on either tack unlike
traditional leeboards. But I've always had a nagging
voice wonder about the strength of the gunwale and
whether it would stand up to the torque the leeboard will
exact upon it. There was no doubt that the gunwale would
bend, since there is no structure in the cockpit to
prevent it. Michalak specified a thicker gunwale,
probably to offset this bending force. But how much bend
was too much? I wouldn't find out until I took it out in
My next nagging voice was over capsize. The
leeboard is installed on the starboard side. What if I capsized
to port and fell out of the boat in the process? Righting the
boat would depend on getting to the leeboard, which would now be
3 ft. above the water. Could I reach it while treading water? If
I could, would it withstand 170 lbs. of man gristle hanging on
the end? Then we're back to the gunwale bending again. Ach,
Now that I'd installed the leeboard, the nagging
voices had turned into the chorus of an angry mob. The issue now?
When retracted, the leeboard hovers away from the hull,
especially the aftermost end. It is unprotected from coming along
side another boat, unprotected from waves, and unprotected from
capsizing to starboard on a beach landing. All of these scenarios
could have catastrophic effects on the leeboard, the attachment
points, the gunwale, or all of the above. Hence the deafening
Right. Now it was prime time to make a mockery of
the designer's hard work as mentioned on the previous page. Scrap
the leeboard! Build a daggerboard trunk! Lengthen the building
process another 3 months! Shiver me timbers.