At long last, my Michalak Mayfly is finished. Pictures below.

I deviated in the plans in these respects: I added cockpit frames, cockpit seating and side decks. I went with a standing lug rig and jib instead of the balanced lug, for reasons noted below. This ended up working great in the end, although I wasn't the happiest camper when I had to bid adieu to the balanced lug as noted below. I also used a different style leeboard bracket than is called for in the plan.

Initially, I was torn between a centerboard and leeboards. I went with leeboards. I built a centerboard box, but didn't like the way it looked, and it took up a lot of cockpit room. It was very heavy, too. I made the leeboards from 1/2 inch marine ply. I wish I had used 3/4 inch. I don't know if the 1/2 inchers will stand up under use or not. The 1/2 inchers work fine so far, but I have not been in a heavy blow yet. Even if these snap, I now have a pattern on hand, so making replacements would not be so bad.

A nice shot of the leeboards. Note the frames and sidedecks. I needed the frames to support risers for the seating. Once the frames were there, adding sidedecks was easy. The blue, interior seating pivots upward and is removable in one piece. This should make cleaning and upkeep easier. I built the seating mainly for my boys. If I were out sailing with older folks, I might leave it at home. I still have a lot of sawdust to clean up, as is evident from this picture!

I used luaun plywood for the sides, but marine ply for the bottom and decks. Other wood parts are made from oak, cedar, and some pine. The construction grade wood around here was very bad. It cracked and fell apart very easily. I ended up using wood from the "good" stuff as needed.

For glue, I used Titebond II, epoxy, PL polyurethane (thick and immediately very tacky), and Gorilla polyurethane (thin, but easily spreadable). Each has advantages in certain situations. I found the Titebond II only worked well for wood to wood joints where the fit was very good. Titebond II failed on some wood to luaun bonds, and I redid those with Gorilla glue. Epoxy was used for all fillets and some parts up by the stem, etc., where I wanted tried and true performance. The PL glue is messy, but forms great, gap filling bonds between decks and the chines/gunwhales. I edge trimmed the resulting bond and edge capped the joint with 1/2 by 1 inch oak strips held on with Gorilla glue and lightly countersunk screws. It is not a glue to use where the joint will be visible or not edge trimmable. In fact, when PL glue fully cures, it is tough to sand even with a belt sander. Screw holes were filled, fairing, etc. was accomplished with Bondo autobody filler per the advice of Stevenson Projects. Polyurethane caulk was used at all corners where epoxy fillets were not used.

Well, here it is August 12 and she's finally done. And I thought I would be done by the end of April! The head sail has a brail line to close it against the forestay. A cheap guy's version of roller furling. It works nicely in light winds. I have not been out in heavy winds yet.

I used a standing lug rig and a jib as shown in the pictures. Basically, my 11 foot boom and yard for the balanced lug called for in the plans each had nasty bends in them after gluing up. Fortunately, the worst curvature was toward the end of each. After trimming off the nasty parts, I was left with a 9 foot boom and an 8 foot yard. The boom is pretty straight now, but the yard has about 2 inches of curve in it. Because of the way the leeboards are adjustable, I have good balance sailing with both sails or with main alone. Lowering the standing lug can be tricky! That yard likes to move about! Any techniques here?

I made the hatch on the foredeck too wide as I look back. Will water get in during a capsize? I have a couple thoughts on how to fix this, e.g., using some filler pieces in the wider hatch corners, or perhaps wedges to compress the hatch downward onto its framing. The lower part of the hatch has a 1/8 foam laminate bonded to it, and this foam could act like a gasket.

The rudder blade is held to the rudder housing using galvanized gate strap hinges. All you can see from this side is the through bolts. The strap hinges are seen in a picture on the last page below. A trick was to contour the top of the blade and the inside of the housing to provide a solid foundation for these bolts while still allowing the blade to pivot up and down between stops. This took a lot of trial and error to get right. Yesterday, I realized I forgot to build a tiller! So I scavenged a handle from a large shovel. I’ll have to build a real tiller. The leeboard bracket is easy to see here. This does several things, besides mounting the leeboards. The top of it provides a place for halyard jam cleats and bolt pairs (only one set is installed here) to store rope coils. I need two more sets, as I have three coils to store. The leeboard bracket is very adjustable forward and back to get the right helm balance. And, it stiffens the boat.

The seating structure is easily removable to sail with it or without it. Support rails for the seats are firmly braced between frames, so it does not move underway. Yet, it pivots up and lifts out easily. The frames and
sidedecks seem to add a lot of strength to me.

The sails are made from white polytarp and white duct tape, using the technique taught by Stevenson Projects. Note the reinforcement patches at all the corners. I hope the white duct tape is as good as the silver kind in terms of water resistance! Time will tell, but so far so good.

I also used white duct tape to "whip" the ends of my lines as I cut them. This is fast and shows good water resistance to date. Easy to do: identify the spot where the line is going to be cut. Tightly wrap the spot with white duct tape ( a 1 inch by about 3 inch wide strip of tape makes a good wrap. Then, cut through the middle of the wrapped section. Squeeze the tape on the resulting two ends after the cut is made. Seems to work well.

I made real capable, compact halyard leads from double pulleys and eye bolts. I can handle up to four halyards in a real compact area. These halyards are for the main, jib brail, and jib. The halyards head out to jamb cleats on the leeboard bracket. See the big pivoting pin behind the mast? It opens to make mast stepping and unstopping easier.

Note the halyard leads at the base of the mast. These are double pulleys secured onto the shaft of an eye bolt. A stack of nuts creates space between the deck and pulley. The pulley is constrained to be horizontal, but rotates freely about the eye bolt. I originally used bolts instead of eye bolts, but the tops of bolts hurt more when you hit them. I used the same set up in the stern deck for handling the jib sheets.

The main sail is sized so it can run boomless if desired. I want to try this, but it took a bit of time to lace that boom on!

A very fun project, and Jim's book made the whole thing approachable at the very outset.

David B. Kagan
Hudson, WI (near Minneapolis/St. Paul)

A nice picture of the strap hinges used to mount the rudder. The bottom of the rudder blade is as rounded as the top. It is funny how just a couple leaves in the way makes the blade bottom look flat.
A good look at the leeboard bracket and the mast partner. The leeboard bracket is very sturdy but weighs less than ten pounds. Look how I crowded all the jam cleats at one end of the bracket. What was I thinking?
A good view of the huge mess of line looped on the leeboard bracket. This is a good reason why I need a couple more places to store coils of line.