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Thread: Commander #155 'Mephisto Cat'

  1. #1
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    Cool Commander #155 'Mephisto Cat'

    This is the Gallery page for the Carl Alberg-Designed yacht known as 'Mephisto Cat'. She was built sometime late in 1964, or early 1965 by Pearson Yachts of Bristol Rhode Island.

    She is a model known as the 'Commander'. She is Hull number 155. The Pearson 'Commander' and the Pearson 'Ariel' share the same hull but the 'Commander' has a smaller cabin and the best 9' long cockpit on any boat, which is ideal for daysailing. The 'Ariel' has a 3' shorter cockpit and a larger cabin better suited for cruising.

    Carl Alberg was born in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1900 and he grew up to become one of the legendary yacht designers of the 20th century. He drew some of the most beautiful lines for the many (now 'classic') Yachts he called his own. He always maintained his preference for the traditional Scandinavian style of narrow beams and generous overhangs. You can read a bit more about him here:
    http://www.alberg30.org/CarlAlberg/

    A few info bits & historical trivia:
    'The Pearson Commander is a capable and stiff sailing yacht. It boasts a very large cockpit, which makes it ideal for daysailing.

    Carl Alberg owned a Commander as his personal yacht in his final years as a sailor. He kept his hull #302 in Marblehead Harbor, Massachusetts, and belonged to the Boston Yacht Club, where he served as an officer on several occasions. Hull #302 was named after his wife, "Alma". (One of the launches at the Boston Yacht Club is named "Alma" today, in the Alberg's memory.) Mr. Alberg sold his Commander to his friend and fellow club member, Mr. Gene Collard in 1974.

    Mr. Collard renamed the boat, "Hot Spur", and sailed her until 1979, when she was purchased by Mr. Tim Risk and renamed "Out a Gear". Hull #302 was purchased by Dr. Jack Mallett in 1985, and moved to his home harbor of Padanaram, Massachusetts. In 2002, Dr. Gil Stillings acquired "Acadia" (the name Dr. Mallett had chosen), and she now resides on the Kickemuit River in Bristol, Rhode Island -- just a few miles from where she was built and within eye sight of Mr. Everett Pearson, co-founder of Pearson Yachts.'



    I bought the 'Mephisto Cat' in March 2006 for sailing in San Francisco Bay where she has 'apparently' spent most of her life. Lacking anything more appealing, and having learned that this had been her name for all her recorded history, I have kept the name, & hope to find out more about her pevious owners / history. I know very little, but I've heard that she spent many, many years in Tiburon and also on a mooring in front of the San Francisco Maritime Museum. -As evidenced by her appearance on main picture in the museum's brochure... If you have any information, please contact me.

    The Mephisto cat has undergone a complete restoration (2008) and many upgrades since I acquired her. Here you will find a details of the work done on the Mephisto Cat, and also some tall tales of Sailing adventures by her and her salty crew.



    -------------------------------------

    UPDATE: The Mephisto Cat is back in the bay! After the owner's wanderings to Hawaii, Australia, and So Cal... The Mephisto Cat spent a bit of time on the hard, but after some 10 months of working on her (and other adventures) we are now back in San Francsco Bay!

    The Mephisto Cat is still undergoing a few upgrades, but she is now sailing as Carl Alberg intended. (Carl's personal boat was a Commander after all!)


    Picture 1: is one of Carl Alberg And Everett Pearson sailing along in a Pearson 'Electra'. - Mr. Alberg is at the helm wearing the dark suit. (not typically my choice of sailing attire!)
    Picture 2: This was taken during our last sail before I took the mast down and she was loaded onto her trailer while I went abroad for a bit...

    Picture 3: A picture of C-155's restored Hull number plate. (I should have wiped it down!)
    Attached Images      
    Last edited by Rico; 02-23-2012 at 12:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    Going on the trailer

    Here is what I've been trying to find the time to do for a while...

    It was painful to see the little boat mastless... I was not very eager to take it out of the water. This Commander wants to be sailed. This owner is having a hard time finding the time... As you may have read on this board, I've moved from SF to Hawaii, (which greately disliked) then I went to Australia for a while, (which I always enjoy) and now I find myself in LA... (Huh?)

    In any case, I hope to free up the trailer in order to hopefully make it available for transporting other Ariels and Commanders needing wheels. If you are in need please shoot me an e-mail.

    I know of the Commander for sale here in the area.
    http://www.pearsonariel.org/discussi...ead.php?t=1549
    I do not think I can adopt another boat so I hope that someone here is able to save it...

    I saw it and it looked like a very solid Commander. The interior is spartan, but it is good basic shape. I am very interested in its 180 Genoa if the buyer wants to make it available...

    More details soon. As soon as I get a bit of time, I will post the construction data for the trailer as fabricated as well as details on the progress.
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    Last edited by Rico; 09-17-2008 at 04:59 PM.

  3. #3
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    in the yard...

    The work is progressing smoothly as could be expected...
    I hoped to take more pictures, but I was short-handed at the boatyard and quite busy to get everything ready for the trip...
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    Last edited by Rico; 09-17-2008 at 05:00 PM.

  4. #4
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    Finally ready to roll

    After assembling the mast carrier and building the rear mast support.

    All the bits lashed and secured...

    Good news! It seems to have made the initial run in one piece...

    For details on the trailer's design and notes on how to have one built see post #11
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    Last edited by Rico; 06-30-2009 at 09:45 PM.

  5. #5
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    one more for now...

    These little boats are not so little!
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    Last edited by Rico; 09-17-2008 at 05:04 PM.

  6. #6
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    Asst. Vice Commodore, NorthEast Fleet, Commander Division (Ret.) Brightwaters, N.Y.
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    Riding in style

  7. #7
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    Going out...

    My Commander is till in the dry and I've had the itch to go sailing!

    Notice that there was no-one else out in San Pablo bay on this day... you can see the whitecaps up the bay (North San francisco Bay) It was a great sail...

    This is the only picture I have of C-155 sailing (that is not taken from onboard the boat, that is...)
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    Last edited by Rico; 03-16-2007 at 01:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    Good angle for As & Cs

    A nice day to spend in Sausalito...
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  9. #9
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    San Rafael, CA
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    Commander Mephisto Cat

    Picture #4

    An iconic shot. What any boat on any trailer aspires to.
    That IS a really nice set of boat wheels.
    What a trailer ought to be.
    Love the rollers up front.
    Complements the cargo.
    Every eye will turn to admire that rig! And aluminum too! Right?

    That Commander of yours shows once and for all you don't need a swayback sheer to have a classy sailboat that is the quintessence of, that symbolizes, what a pure daysailer really is.

    Commander is a joy to look at from any angle.
    When you need an example of the word FAIR (as in fair maiden) to describe a boat's lines, this Alberg design is the embodiment.
    Mephisto Cat looks stripped of all the glitz we have come to expect as salty and beautyful. Doesn't need any. This is as deft and fresh a sailboat form as ever devised.

    How fantastic that it is a joy to sail as well!
    Last edited by ebb; 02-22-2008 at 09:13 AM.

  10. #10
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    Blushing...

    Thanks EBB!

    More pix to come soon... It has been a year since C-155 has been afloat.

    I am happy to say that I am almost done with an esentially bare-fiberglass restoration and the Mephisto Cat will soon be back in the water. Sailing.

    I'll be posting pictures of the process and some specs that hopefully will be useful to others.

    The Mephisto Cat remains totally glitz free though. The highest tech elements of C-155 are still the original nav lights! (other than the outboard!)

    Basic is beautiful!

    - Where is my sextant and lead-line?!

    Can't wait!
    Last edited by Rico; 03-05-2008 at 08:37 PM.

  11. #11
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    The Trailer... Hull Profile / Dimensions for trailer or cradle

    I had a trailer built when I found out I would have to move out of the country and had to store the Mephisto Cat out of the water for a while...

    It is interesting that the best source for trailers of this sort is nowhere near the west coast...

    The trailer is all steel galvanized with sealed wiring, and flush-equipped brakes for safe dipping in salt water. It is also equipped with an extra axle at the front end. The intent of this additional axle is to be able to launch the boat from the beach... Hopefully somewhere in the gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) someday (sailing down in Baja!) where there might not be a lift or an appropriate ramp available.

    I would probably do the recovery at a location where a lift, or crane is available.

    I have not used it in this manner yet...

    Hull Profile / Dimensions for trailer or cradle.

    The sketches/dimensions on the attached .Pdf will be helpful to anyone wanting to build a trailer or a cradle specifically for their Pearson Commander/Ariel.

    (NOTE that the Ariel and Commander SHARE the very same hull design.)

    This same measurement method is good for any other boat... provided you take these actual measurements for the intended hull!).

    I had my trailer built with bunks for more gentle support while towing, but this information will also apply if you wish to use pads.

    Credit for the ability to take these measurements should go to 'LITTLE GULL' which was on the hard, fairly level, and not too far from me in San Rafael. (And to her owner Ebb, who quickly made her available when I was in a bind to provide these measurements to build my trailer in a rush...)

    Ebb, you may have noticed a few nail holes and pencil markings on the asphalt in August 2006... I used these to lay a grid on the ground below 'Little Gull' in order to take my measurements.

    PICTURE: Sample from document below (attached as PDF)
    -------------------------

    These are some notes on the dimensions and drawings in the PDF:

    Drawings #1 and A1 (1-of-3 and 2-of-3)
    Note the marked dimensions related to the descriptions below:

    (A) Width (Thickness of the Keel)
    The shape of the keel (in horizontal section) is similar to that of a wing. It has a bulbous leading edge measuring about
    9" at its widest (Location 'a2' in Drawing A1). This tapers back to a mere 2-1/2" at its thinnest (Location 'a1' in Drawing A1). This is at the trailing edge as the keel ends to allow for the rudder. This dimensions occurr at a section close to the lowest point of the keel. If your trailer will have 'guides' to float the boat onto the trailer, you will need to allow for this width.

    (B) Transom To back of Keel
    Pretty Self-Explanatory; This Dimension is 82.5"

    (C) Tansom to Center of Keel
    Translation: Location of Center of Gravity (CG) This is a critical dimension for trailers as this will dictate where the trailer's axels are to be located. This will be an important one for your trailer buider. Easier to 'eyeball' on a fin keel; harder with a full keel as the ballast location is not so obvious. I calculated this approximately with a bit of math, but find that it must be fairly accurate as I am able to end up with a tongue weight of about 700-800lbs with the boat nicely centered on the axels.

    This may seem like a big load on the tongue (it is!) but these boats are not light loads! Less tongue weight will leave you with potential uplift to the rear of your tow vehicle in uneven pavement, and this is not good as you might end-up FOLLOWING your boat down the freeway.

    The Land Cruiser's max tongue weight is 900Lbs with a Load leveling device (Highly recommended! As it nicely transfers the load to the front of the tow vehicle and makes for a wonderful tow!)

    Brakes on the trailer are also essential!! The boat and trailer will likely weigh WELL in excess of you & your tow vehicle!

    (D) Bottom of Keel to Hull height
    Not so critical for a full keel boat... Dimension D2 on Drawing A1 may be useful to someone...

    (E) Transom To Bow length
    LOA (Length overall) Dimension: 25'-7" (it really is this; just like the book says!)

    (F) Length of Keel.
    Translation: Bearing surface length of the Keel. I did not want to have the rudder shoe bearing any load as the boat sat on the trailer, so I deducted dimension 'H' from this measurement as noted in Drawing A1. The trailer's steel structural member goes the full length, but the treated 2x6 that actually bears the keel load is shorter, leaving the rudder shoe nicely up in the air.

    (G) Bottom of Keel to Deck
    This should be the dimension from the bottom of the keel to the bow eye. - I decided against installing a bow eye. My trailer has bunks, which in their cradling shape provide quite a bit of resistance to back/forth displacement on the trailer.
    If I ended up relying on a bow eye to hold the boat, I'd have quite a few BIGGER issues to worry about...

    The dimension I used is good for the Bow stop element incorporated into the trailer which you can see in the pictures above. I might have to slam on the brakes -but I do not think that I run the risk of accelerating out from underneath the boat...



    Keel bunk measuring Guide (Page 3-of-3)

    The dimensions listed are pretty accurate, but since Trailers/cradles have adjustable bunks or pads this accuracy is not that critical... although you do not want to be too high...

    If the drawing might not be obvious or easily read; so here: the measurements are the dimensions of vertical lines starting from a horizontal plane at the bottom of the keel to the point where they intersect with the curvature of the hull.

    One set of dimensions is taken from a line offset 20" from the centerline of the hull (inner set of bunks), while the other is at 30" from the centerline (outer set of bunks).

    All measurements (towards the bow) marked 'Side' and those appearing to be missing are points that intersect with the hull plane above the waterline (where the nice paint is), or do not touch the Hull at all. (- For example; at 27' and 30' from the Commander's transom there is no longer any boat for pads/bunks to reach!)


    Other Dimensions (Page 4 in the .Pdf)

    This page adds a few additional dimensions not listed in the previous drawings that may be useful to both Ariel and Commander owners.

    Please let me know if you are using this as reference - Just so I know if it is useful - AND especially if you have any different findings from the dimensions / data that I need to update.
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    Last edited by Rico; 06-30-2009 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Typos

  12. #12
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    Apr 2007
    Location
    Grand Haven / Muskegon, Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebb View Post
    What a trailer ought to be.
    Aw man! You don't find my trailer inspiring???

    (I have huge trailer envy!)
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    Kyle
    C-65 Lucky Dawg

  13. #13
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    On the road

    I just ran into this picture of the tow while at a much needed rest stop...
    I was stopping to check the load VERY often initially. After a while I got a bit more comfortable...

    AND

    A picture of the 'Mephisto Cat' racing down the freeway! (notice the puny prop). No issues with hull speed... had 'er up to some 50-60 kts!

    The Mephisto Cat looks MUCH different now!

    Kyle; Your trailer looks quite sturdy - and versatile. Mine will only haul boats!
    Attached Images    
    Last edited by Rico; 08-07-2009 at 12:46 AM.

  14. #14
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    Mast Base design - Pearson Commander

    My Commander's mast Base was in pretty sad state (the original was some sort of wood laminate). It did its job appropriately enough, but its best days had long since passed.

    I remember reading posts where the Design for the Ariel's mast base (Included in the owner's manual Pg. #166) was confused by some of us with the Commander's. They are indeed DIFFERENT. I myself started going down that route, but was lucky to notice this early on... (Phew!).

    The Ariel's base rests on a level part of the deck, while the Commander's base sits on a slope resulting in a significant angle that the base needs to compensate for... hence the design difference.

    Below is a .Pdf with a fabrication drawing for reference. My submission for the 'Commander' portion of the owner's manual! If you deliver this to a fabricator / Machine shop, they should be able to deliver exactly what you need (as long as you have a Commander - see the manual for the Ariel mast step).

    I do not know if my old mast base was the factory original piece. It was nicely worked out of a piece of wood laminate, but it had not been maintained and the top layers were weathered badly. It was solid and fortunately still managed to do its job properly, but it was not pretty...

    After considering several materials for the replacement base (I considered a similar wood laminate, a solid piece of hardwood, or a piece of high-tech plastic), I decided to go with Aluminum. Apparently, Pearson offered an aluminum replacement base for the Commander at some point. Durability and ease of maintenance ruled the day. I imagine the aluminum base will last longer than I will...

    As I came out of the educational egg as an engineer, it was also a bit of welcome challenge to design and have this puppy fabricated... A few friends in the trades helped keep costs low by helping with finding surplus materials / fabrication / machining skills. Thanks to all!

    In the end I had to buy a NEW small slice of an 8" round aluminum billet the minimum charge was more than I thought it would be initially, but there were not many scrap pieces of 8" round Aluminum billet laying around...

    The hardest part to machine is the slight radius (R= 64") on the botton of the base. (this is true for both the Ariel & Commander bases) This radius was accomplished largely by hand, as proper machining would have been quite pricy $$$... But a great fit is achievable with a bit of sweat...

    My hand written dimensions on the drawing attached are my AS-BUILT revisions. This matches the dimensions of the base currently on the Mephisto Cat...
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    Attached Images
    Last edited by Rico; 06-30-2009 at 10:01 PM.

  15. #15
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    Mast base pictures

    Here are a few pictures (Pics# 1 & 2) of the Hinged Mast Base / Tabernacle plate that I was contemplating on using.

    For reference; the 'Ballenger Spars' part number is HMB M30 - 1/4" SS
    I think that Garhauer makes a similar part.

    This base will allow you to tilt your mast for removal or passage under a low bridge while keeping control of it. Thiis particular plate will accommodate a Mast that is up to 4" x 7"

    This model incorporates the punched flanges on the upper plate as a deck organizer. Very nifty.

    This thing is beautiful solid stainless. I intended to use it, but I decided to go with my plain, fixed, round, non-hinging aluminum base as seen below.







    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Pictures # 3 on... The final outcome on my Mast Base: (Fabrication drawings posted in the Pdf in previous post)

    A few side, by side comparisons with the old base (note the silicone used by some PO), and then a fit test after being acid-etched, primed, and painted with a two-part polyurethane... It is now sitting on a nice bed of polysulfide awaiting the mast.

    I gave the polysulfide under the base about 3 or 4 weeks to allow curing Prior to stepping the mast. It is a bed of polysulfide that is at least 1/16" thick which is there to eliminate point loads on the cab itself. This is important as the polysulfide cures very slowly and will tend to squirt out under load if not properly cured when loaded.

    I was sure to include a the tradidtional coin for good luck under the mast. I actually added two... One is a 1 (French) Franc piece with the female figure of France in a flowing dress and a nice Canadian (or was it from the UK?) coin with a pretty Sailboat on it. In any case, if anyone else unsteps the mast in the future, they are surely to be confused...
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    Last edited by Rico; 06-18-2009 at 01:27 PM.

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