by Adam Abrego
For those of you who are just joining this story, This boat started out as
a Jim Michalak 'Campjon'.
When I got the plans and examined them, I realized the cabin was not going
to be long enough or tall enough for me. I'm 6'2" and 240 lbs, with a
sitting height (on my butt) of about 38". The cabin, as originally
designed is 6' long and 36" high at its highest point.
I contacted Jim about raising the roof and lengthening the cabin.
Raising the roof was easy; I just added 6 inches to the vertical
dimensions of the cuddy bulkheads. Lengthening the cabin involved shifting
the aft cuddy bulkhead back 6 inches, and extending the side panels to
match it. I originally wanted to shift the forward bulkhead but Jim
suggested moving the rear one so the same dimensions could be used,
instead of having to totally redesign the front one. His advise was very
good. This made the lengthening process straightforward.
The final modification made to this boat was to fabricate a solid
transom by laminating two pieces of 3/4" plywood together for a total
thickness of 1.5 inches. This had nothing to do with my thinking the
original design was inadequate, it was just something I had done on a
previous boat and it worked quite well in that instance.. So far, it has
proven out well in this application, too.
Total building time was about 120 hour from the first cut to maiden
launch. This is a very good 'first boat' project. The design is well
thought out, and fits together very easily. It's even tolerant of
ham-handed modifications like I made to it. The boat handles nicely, rides
out wakes from bigger boats in reassuring fashion, and packs a lot of room
in 15.5 feet. I think Jim Michalak has a real winner here. Anyway, on to
|Here's 'Aja' sitting on her trailer.
Once I lengthened the bunks on the trailer, she fit real good. Had a
little trouble with the paint on the bottom. The primer stuck fine, but
the other paint came off too easy. Gotta use better paint ;-).
|Here's one from the stern. Thats the 7.5
hp Mercury I've been using. Burns about 2/3 gallon per hour, regardless of
throttle setting. Wide open, it will push 'Aja' to about 8 mph (with three
adults in the boat).
|Here is the first 'A' and the 'J' in the
boat's name (AJA). Amanda (front) is 12 and Jessica (rear) is 14. We had
just put 'Aja' in the water at our local boat ramp. This pic shows the
fold up swim ladder on the bow. When extended, it is about 3 feet long,
and the bottom two rungs are actually under water.
|Here's me, getting ready to put my fat
butt in the back. I'm Adam ( the last 'A' in the boat's name)
|Here is a shot of 'Aja' moving.
|Back at the dock. Boat sits quite level,
even with me and the 7.5 hp Mercury hanging on the back. As shown in this
picture the boat is drawing about 2 inches (excluding the lower unit on
Me and my munchkin, Amanda, and she's driving (better
at it than I am haha)
The 'diva', Jessica, practicing her microphone
technique with the light mast. This pic shows the front of the cabin. With
the extensions I made to Jim Michalak's original cabin, it seems pretty
Only a couple things left to do now. Got to make the cover for the cabing
slot, and rig up some kind of shade for the cockpit.
Thanks again to Jim Michalak for a great design and to Chuck Leinweber for
making those designs more accessible to people like me. This has enabled
me to get out on the water with my girls, and stay within my budget. If
not for this, we would still be land-locked.
Take it easy...
Island Park, NY