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Thread: Commander #155 'Mephisto Cat'

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Northern MN
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    1,100
    That is one of, if not the best fix I've seen in a long time. Besides, anyone who so aptly uses the word 'smothered' gets my vote.

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco - or Abroad
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    430

    Comments on outboard performance - experience so far...

    Thanks TonyG. It was not to hard to do... and I think that the rod will certainly help the coambings.

    Here is a bit on the issue of outboard performance addressing some of the most common issues brought-up on the board:

    The 'Mephisto Cat' is a 'Well in the lazarette' / outboard model' from the factory. I am happy to not have to deal with an oily bilge! Although I could learn a thing or two about diesels... And I salivate a the big & handy storage space that is available in the lazarette to those of you with inboards... Hmmm...

    I can only dream of the day when a nicely suited electric motor is available!

    In any case; So far I've used a 2003 NISSAN 6HP, 4-stroke outboard engine with the long shaft (20”) on the Mephisto Cat. This NISSAN model, as well as some other brands (Mercury?) is apparently made by TOHATSU so they share the same mechanicals - only the marketing bits are different...

    I’ve used this motor for a handful of seasons in San Francisco Bay, as well as at Marina del Rey (Santa Monica), and on coastal voyages from Ensenada, MX, to San Francisco as described in previous posts on the Mephisto Cat gallery thread.

    I can only wish that a 2 piston motor will become available soon - for reduced vibration!

    The typical issues faced with outboards on Ariels & Commanders seem to be the following:

    1.- Will the motor fit in the outboard well?
    The 6 HP Nissan fits quite nicely in the well being able to rotate pretty much throughout its full range. The lazarette cover closes, clearing the top of the motor by two to three inches. (I am unsure if the internal tank version of this motor would fit as the internal fuel tank cap is located at the top of the motor cover, and sticks out at least a couple of inches...)

    The bottom unit is thin & slender (unlike some other brand's models) allowing for an easy fit in the well (there are maybe 3" inches to spare around the widest part of the lower unit as you lower it thought the well...) The slenderness of the bottom unit also helps in reducing hydrodynamic resistance while sailing with the motor in the motor well – which I often do….

    This motor only weighs 55lbs (Per Nissan) which makes it easier to handle. I think that this is the heaviest you can go while still being able to (relatively) easily handle an oddly shaped mass as an outboard motor - especially at the point where you are lowering it into / pulling out of the lazarette.

    2.- How much power do you need to power an Ariel / Commander (HP)?
    I find that this motor moves the boat quite well. It will cruise at about 4 to 4.5 knots at ¾ throttle, and will reach hull-speed (~6kt) at a bit less than full throttle.

    While sailing in SF bay in the past, where the winds and currents are not to be ignored, I have found the need to use the full power of this motor while fighting a strong current, or while motoring into a channel with a strong wind on the nose.

    While using the motor during coastal cruising, I found that when faced with strong winds on the nose - and the resulting long-reach wind swell - the going gets slow... Mostly because out in the open, the wind swells easily kill your forward momentum.

    In these cases a bit more horsepower might help, but these are unusual circumstances for these boats. AND I would argue that if you find yourself in this situation at that point you’d be MUCH better off sailing-off with a reefed main and a storm headsail as this will improve your ride and likely progress as well, so the benefit of a bigger outboard in these cases may never be enjoyed… while you’d ALWAYS be burdened by the big outboard’s weight. **

    However, in my time spent in coastal marinas, such as Marina del Rey / Santa Monica Bay where currents are negligible, I found myself wishing for a little (maybe 2-3 HP at most) two stroke motor that I could pull out in a jiffy… This would be more than enough to get in and out of the marina when the winds were blowing. If I were still in this environment, I’d definitely go with the tiny motor. If you are in a lake environment doing mostly daysailing, I'd really consider this route...


    ** As I've learned more about this issue, I found that the solution in this case (from a hydrodynamic standpoint) is not really more horsepower, but rather a larger prop diameter at a lower pitch to increase efficiency of the available power... Providing what is known as increased 'bollard pull' -the equivalent of more torque in a car engine- with the same horsepower...
    Unfortunately, these motors will not physically acommodate a prop much bigger than what comes from the factory...

    Another wishlist item: An outboard with a BIG - FOLDING prop!!


    3.- How fast will the boat go?
    6HP will get you to hull speed in most conditions. There is no need for more horsepower. - 20HP will maybe give you hull speed PLUS maybe 1 or 2 knots more, PLUS a big bow wave in front of your boat… and this while using MUCH MORE Fuel. In short, there is no need… (unless, as I described above, you will be ONLY sailing against very strong winds in sheltered waters -with no wind swell. These conditions would allow you to enjoy the extra horsepower to fight the wind, but these conditions are unlikely…)

    4.- Shaft length
    My motor has the 20” long shaft. (Note: For 2009, Nissan is offering a 25” extra-long shaft.)

    I found that the 20” long shaft works really well on these boats. The steepest swells faced were while motor-sailing around Point Conception where we saw 8-10 ft ocean swells that were far apart enough to not present a problem (11-14 seconds). Big swells are not a problem for the motor, but when these swells are reflected by the concave coast between Point Conception and Point Arguello, and become 4-5 ft swells coming in opposing directions, plus toss in a 1-2 ft wind swell… All of these combining at random can present a tall chop which can be a challenge, mostly for your comfort.

    Even in these conditions the prop managed to stay in the water but did suck in some surface air for an instant a couple of times as the conditions above combined to produce a steep/deep chop. Note that when the cavitation happened, it was quire unexpected based on the behavior of the boat at the time, and never due to a severe pitch or roll - the prop seems to stay in the water while pitching /rolling. What seemed to do it was simply a very tall / steep chop, in my case, resulting from a combined wave/swell.

    The cavitation was only for an instant causing the revs to increase, but only for an instant. I do not think that the motor had time to reach max revs. I do not think that cavitation is an issue for the 20" shaft length based on the amount of time that the motor had to work in these conditions...

    In short; If I were in the market for a motor, I'd stick with the 20" version...

    The 25” shaft would provide a slightly increase in the safety margin against the above situation, but most of us would not be in this stuff as a matter of routine… (hopefully!!). The down side of this extra length would be a bit of additional drag while sailing, a small bit of added weight, and the 5 extra inches increasing the required storage space.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Rico; 08-14-2009 at 12:13 AM. Reason: Typo

  3. #78
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    Sep 2001
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    San Rafael, CA
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    3,549
    Hey Rico! That's the spirit - great report!

  4. #79
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Birmingham, Al
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    66

    Spinnaker on the last page!

    Hey Rico, your boat looks great! That spinnaker looks familiar. I guess the sails are working ok? Where you get the storm jibs outfitted. Looks like they did a good job.

    mike
    mike A-233

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco - or Abroad
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    430
    I got the UK-Halsey loft in Venice, CA to put the hanks on. They seem to be doing pretty well. I tested out the Storm sail briefly when we had a bit of a blow. I have not used the 135%, but I did try it on for looks at the dock...

    I have to get my act together and complete the installation of the Genoa tracks to be able to use all my sails properly... I know I'm going to regret not having this done soon, but it has been wet recently and I somehow have been lacking the motivation to dive into this project...

    I am glad this 'lazyness' did not hit me when the boat was all torn apart!

    I am currently rigged for my working jib & storm sail (tracks on the cabin top) and I can also rig up my 180% Genoa (with a NOT-very-elegant arrangement involving my greatly reinforced stern cleats) I took advantage of this rigging arrangement in the Three Bridge Fiasco race (See relevant thread for the story of that race here: http://www.pearsonariel.org/discussi...ead.php?t=1930).

    BUT Yes - my sail shape and ability to trim the sails suffers with my limited set-up, but I am happy to be sailing, and seem to not be so eager to keep working! I just seem to want to sail

    In any case, I' sure will get on top of it shortly... I'm sure that a bit of nice weather will get me on top of it! (I hope!)

    I already have the track and hardware, but I need to look into the different rigging arrangements out there to get some ideas... I got some simple track blocks on cars, but I am wondering what the options are...


    Second picture below (Picture after the B/W aerial shot) is a big zoom shot of me going out into the Carquinez straits in a light breeze recently... I am singlehandling with the 180% Genoa. This was taken from the bluff at the point where the Napa River joins the Sacramento River at the Carquinez straits.

    This sail is big... (The clew is just behind my shoulder in the picture) I bought it used in almost new condition. It was tailor made for a Commander. I really like it, it is well made, clean, and the price was right... - It works great in a light breeze as you can see by the bow wave, but quickly looses efficiency as the wind picks-up above 12-13 kts.

    I guess it won't see much use in the summer!

    Aerial Picture (B/W) and Picture of the Mephisto Cat at the Cove Docks
    I recently landed at Ayala Cove (on Angel Island in SF Bay) for the first time. We only spent an hour or so there as I wanted to figure out the rules of the park, docks & Moorings... You can use the docks only during the day, but you can spend the night on a first-come-first-serve mooring for $20. It is a beautifully sheltered little cove and is a great place to spend a quiet weekend hiking, picknicking, biking, while the boat is a mooring!



    Picture of other Commander (Below on the right)
    While on the island, we walked around for a bit. and while dissapointed that the beergarden was closed, we just happened to run into 'Wave' - another Commander! (Which I have not seen on the board...) I do not know the Hull number, but the owner is from Argentina and is based out of Sausalito! He had a bunch of kids out for a fun day...
    Attached Images      
    Last edited by Rico; 07-28-2009 at 05:06 PM. Reason: typos / Add Angel Island Pic

  6. #81
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Asst. Vice Commodore, NorthEast Fleet, Commander Division (Ret.) Brightwaters, N.Y.
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    1,823
    WOW!! Great pics

    Do you have lazy jacks and pulpit running lights now??

    Sure would like to hear about the installation

    The Mephisto Cat looks sweeeet

  7. #82
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Forsyth GA
    Posts
    396

    what is it?

    On post 19 photo showing the replated hardware, what is that thing that looks like an offset wrench under the hull ID tag? I bought some used tiller hardware and that piece was in the parts bag I didn't recognise it so I threw it away, now I feel foolish! Thanks

  8. #83
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    grand rapids mi
    Posts
    91
    Part of the lock/latch for the forward hatch

    Mounts on the roof, then the screw and wing nut on the hatch itself slips into it to allow snugging it down.

    Ken.

  9. #84
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Forsyth GA
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    396

    Thanks

    Thanks Kendall, since you pointed out what it is and where it mounts, it's embarassingly obvious Now that I've discarded it I'm sure I will need it!

  10. #85
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco - or Abroad
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    430
    Kendall go it right Carl! Do you have one on your boat currently? (Other than the one you tossed?)
    I had mine re-plated in the batch along with the screw & nut, but I did try to find another sort of fitting for this application and nothing turned up...

    Commanderpete;
    Thise are indeed lazyjacks... The PO had them made by a rigger - who did an excellent job of them. They have a nice plastic covered wire for the tops, and a single line for the jacks themselves. The little blocks even have little leather booties!

    They are growing on me... I was not so convinced at first. They are a simple install. I will look through my pictures and post that.

    The Pulpit nav lights are the handheld emergency LED set that I have mounted while I sort out the originals. They are ready to go, but I am stubbornly scheming to convert these to battery powered LED bulbs. The unit on the bow squeezes about 4-5 full nights out of a set of batteries and they are quite bright. This is the direction I'd like to go. Original nav light fixtures, but with an LED adapted into it...

    Does anyone have any insight on this?

    The old bulbs in the nav lights are adecuate enough, but they run down my battery. I am trying to get away from using the main battery for anything other than my future autopilot.

    This idea will bring me to a conflict when I get to the nice original light fixtures... The little shades grip onto the actual light bulb... I hope I do not end-up putting an LED inside a light bulb in order to be able to keep these fixtures!

    UPDATE: For a description of my solution on LEDs see posts further down this thread. For more details on the specific bulbs look at the 'Navegation lights' thread here:
    http://www.pearsonariel.org/discussi...read.php?t=913
    Last edited by Rico; 05-04-2011 at 11:10 AM.

  11. #86
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Forsyth GA
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    396

    Rico,

    I think I have one, I haven't been too concerned because the boat came with two new Bomar hatches.

  12. #87
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco - or Abroad
    Posts
    430

    Install of compression pipes at the Spreader brackets

    I am slowly catching-up on posting the many little projects that I've undertaken. Here is one more:

    I have noticed that some boats come with Spreader brackets that are made out of aluminum, or some sort of alloy.

    My mast came with nicely stout Stainless Steel spreader brackets. I found it odd that there was no compression pipe spanning the gap inside the mast, but it is most likely that the design did not require these.

    Pearson did build these little boats with a proportionally large mast that has a very strong section... I do not think that Alberg's drawings, or Pearson's production design included compression pipes in our masts, but I thought it prudent to install these as an upgrade...

    The Spreader brackets are fastened by 2 bolts that go right through the mast. The lower bolt also secures the upper end plates of the forward & Stern lower stays. The role of these fasteners is not an unimportant one, so one would like these to be stoutly in place, but tightening excessively will weaken the mast at the mid-point (where the spreaders are located).
    The idea behid the compression pipe is that this pipe will act as a strut and take the compression load that comes from tightening the bolts at the spreader brackets relieving the mast from this pressure & avoiding the risk of weakening the mast ...

    The installation is quite easy. The hardest part is perhaps finding the correctly sized pipe, as your average hardware store does not carry stainless steel pipe - you'll need to look at a rig shop, or industrial supply shop.

    - I went with stainless to match the material of the bolts that will go inside the pipe. I was lucky to find a 14" or so scrap piece in the stainless scrap pile which I got without charge from a friendly rigging shop. - If well isolated, I suppose aluminum pipe will work... but you have to take care to use plenty lanocote to isolate the different metals.

    Picture #1
    The pipe that tightly fit my fasteners came with an 0.75" OD (outside diameter) which gave me a nice thick pipe-wall as pictured. Pipe is sold by specification of the inside & outside Diameter.

    I had a machine shop cut the pipe for me as it is important to have paralell cuts at the ends. I made the cut marks a bit generous as I needed a close fit. (Cannot make the pipe longer after it is cut!!) I used a grinder to fine-tune the length, and to achieve the appropriate bearing radius at each end.


    Picture #2
    It is important that the inside diameter of the pipe matches your fastener's diameter closely, the outside diameter dimension can vary more as long as you get a nice stout pipe... but not too big... I'd say the size pictured is about as big as you'd want to go... Half that thickness would be strong enough... Note that the pipe-end in this picture remains flat as I had not curved the end to match the mast extrusion curvature.

    After painting the mast, I covered the base of the brackets with several layers of vinyl tape to avoid scratching the painted surface and to isolate the Aluminum from the stainless. I then cut the pipe to the appropriate length and added a curve to the ends to match the mast's profile.

    I drilled the hole in the mast that is just big enough to insert the 0.75" pipe into the mast. Enlarging a hole can be tricky - you do not want to 'move' the hole - just enlarge it. I used one of those sheetmetal drill bits that have a number of stepped diameters and I found it to be the ideal tool to do this as it keeps you well centered when using a drill motor by hand.

    Picture #3
    You can see the old hole and a new hole with the pipe & bolt in it. (I did them both the same way) -It is hard to see, but the pipe end now matches the outside curve of the mast. See folowing post for a close-up of this.

    (I used red paint to cover-up the bare aluminum as all the white paint I had was two-part - I did not loose any fingers on this project, I am happy to say!)

    Picture #4
    This is essentially how the whole thing fits together... (I took this picture at the time of testing for pipe length and you might notice that the end of the pipe is still flat at this point.) When complete, the pipe only extends out of the mast by only a bit and matched the mast's profile curve.
    Attached Images        
    Last edited by Rico; 04-28-2009 at 01:50 PM. Reason: typo...

  13. #88
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco - or Abroad
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    430
    Picture #1
    Shows the pipe with the appropriate end profile for final installation.

    Picture #2
    Final assembly of the mast in progress (that topic posted earlier in the thread); the Spreader brackets/spreaders are installed and include the lower stay plates and are now well torqued into place with a nylock nut and a bit of thread-lock for good measure.
    Attached Images    
    Last edited by Rico; 03-16-2009 at 10:43 PM.

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco - or Abroad
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    Weekend at Angel Island / Commander 'reunion'

    We spent a beautiful weekend at Angel Island (mid 80's -at least- and bright blue skies...) and ran into TWO other Commanders. I've never seen so many Pearson Ariel/Commanders in one place at once...

    Unfortunately, I spotted them as we were returning from a hike on the South side of the island and did not get to chat with the group, who'd apparently tied up at the dock for the afternoon and sailed off on a course in the general direction of Berkeley...

    I do not know if I they even saw the Mephisto Cat tied-up out on one of the moorings at Ayala cove... (See Angel Island map on post a few posts up). It was a busy day and there were MANY boats out there, both at the dock AND on the moorings.

    Picture #1 I think I see 3 crispy new sails among the two. Hopefully We'll see them out more often. Note the tripod style winch bases... I'd never seen this type of base on these boats before.

    They are both early-ish Commanders as it appears they featured the full companionway opening. (I am sure about the blue one - 95% certain about the white one.)

    Note the transom O/B mount...

    - While Posting this I noticed the Pennants on both boats' rigging. On other pictures I can make out the letters 'CSC' and looking at the 'Cal sailing club', website, they do list the Commander in their fleet list... So I imagine that this is where they come from...

    Picture #2
    While we are at it, here are a few more pictures...
    Here is the Mephisto Cat settled in for Sunday evening's rest. We stayed until Monday and we essentially had the whole mooring field to ourselves come late afternoon on Sunday... I took the picture from the trail looking towards Richmond.

    Picture #3
    A view from the 'perimeter road' looking towards the Golden Gate. I was REALLY HOT at this point... We may have been into the 90's - Rare for the bay...

    Picture #4
    View towards the west end of Racoon straits. Belvedere Is. and Sausalito in the back. The Angel Island Ferry from Tiburon is visible.
    Attached Images        

  15. #90
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Camden, NC
    Posts
    283

    Thanks for the quality photos and updates

    Rico,
    Thank you for taking the time to post photos and great naratives of them. I, among many others I'm sure, really appreciate it. Plus you talent and love that you have and continue to bestow upon Mephisto Cat help keep me motivated.
    Respectfully,
    Chance Smith
    (Formerly) Sea Sprite 23 #760 (Heritage)
    (Formerly) Commander #256 (Ceili)

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