Join Date: Feb 2010
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Re: Running wire down a mast...
I second the comment about taping the hook end of the flat fish tape. I (attempted to) use one to run the new radar cable (from mid-mast no less) through an internal conduit (a slit PVC pipe fitted over a "T" on the inside corner of the mast extrusion).
Two problems - said PVC pipe was not one continuous run, apparently about halfway along the tape exited the conduit in the gap between one section and another, then went the rest of the way somewhere in the middle of the mast. Then when trying to pull the fish back it became clear it was stuck for good, and eventually I had to resort to cutting the fish and going back to "plan A" (which apparently everyone else does), namely pulling out the nav/deck light wire and using that to pull through a string, then the radar cable and replace nav/deck light cable. My concern about losing the existing cable (as the original poster did) was what prompted me to try the fish tape instead. In the end, the "old way" worked better.
I hate to admit that, as the mast was laying on the boat on its cradle, with the bottom end hanging about 4' aft of the the stern and some 14' off the ground, I did not notice when the fish tape reached the bottom... and hooked on the end of the mast itself. It had in fact exited the conduit about half-way, but I missed my measurement and hadn't realized I'd fed enough fish to reach the end, which was on the "far side" of the mast, between the furler, shrouds, halyards, and all that "stuff" that gets bundled with the mast when it's stowed for transit, and so invisible. Was kind of surprised when the cut section slid out the bottom so nicely. So I now have two fish tapes.
In short, tape the end, watch that hook, and if you have a conduit, it may not be a single piece.
1998 Jeanneau SO45.2