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Lil Sister, a Modified Michalak River Runner

Enclosed are pictures of what I did to my River Runner trying to improve its paddling characteristics.

We have enjoyed this version of River Runner. We float the Enoree and Tyger Rivers within the Enoree District of Sumter National Forest. The small rivers and down trees make the use of a motor and oars impractical.

I have a copy of BOATBUILDING FOR BEGINNERS (AND BEYOND) by Jim Michalak. Great book. Jim has a section about "choosing a design" and "matching your boat to your waters". There are many small rivers that boaters can float with the proper boat.

I would like to thank Jim for designing boats that can be used on small rivers, especially boats that the elderly floater can use and feel safe in. There are many grand adventures on small rivers for those who have a Jim Michalak paddle/driftboat.

Ben Phillips


My first mate and I have decided that our new craft is a stand on kayak. Here in Florida the water is 64% in January but my brave first mate is out on the Indian River braving the 75% air temperature. She has named the boat "cold feet" as they are turning blue. The boat is very stable and easy to handle but Granpa is chicken to stand up. We are loving the good weather.


ECOnomy Cruiser 5.5 Splash

There are a lotĀ of ECOnomy cruisers 5.5 under construction but this is, as far as I know, the first one on the water down under.

Inside almost ready

Out of the sheet


After the first sail

He changed the bow to suit his taste. A good thing about home construction. He told me.

“I have just launched my Eco 5.5. I'm very happy with its first up performance. Tacking in a cat is a learning curve, but I am getting there".

Bernd Kohler


The hull is an Optimist stretched to 10 feet (with a few tweaks). The sail is a scaled from one of Jim Michalak's articles and built by Polysail International. The plywood is AC from a local lumber store (not a big box). The paint is Bulls Eye 123 and Benjamin Moore Aura. I used Marinepoxy and Titebond III



Washington Dan

Here's an actual picture of Washington Dan, the dummy who moved from So Cal to almost Canada. These pictures show the cool little boat he made from an old 14 foot fiberglass hull. Maybe he's not so dumb after all, he has eleven months a year to play at making fun boats cause the snow keeps him in his shop. He says it got warm for one day last week for him to try it out and then it froze over again. I hope this boat inspires some of you to convert something.

Dave Lucas

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