Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bellingham, PNW
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When I installed my Raymarine Radar unit - I opted to install it on the mast above the spreaders.
Somethings to be concerned about:
1. Regardless how good of a sailor you are - the Genoa will always get snagged by it - at the worst opportune time. In hindsight - I really - really - really wished I would of spent the extra money for the pole for stern mounting. The drawback to the stern pole is that it doesn't get the range that mounting on the mast gives.
2. If you have an aluminum mast - make sure the bracket is pop riveted to the mast. Using screws - it will only be a matter of time before the stresses working on the mast - start popping out the screws.
3. The cabling - your original question.
a. If possible and you can mount it through deck plate - a far better route to go. However, make sure you or someone that has experience splicing the radar cable - can give you a disconnect. The drawback is cost - being both the splicing and having to lift the mast.
b. If you decide to go with the out of the mast and into the deck approach... Another set of problems.
First being that you now have another deck obstruction (Maybe for some that is not an issue - was for me) - and you most likely will have to do a pretty hard angle on the cable to avoid the cable interfering with any of the blocks for your lines.
Second - most of those watertight deck cabling systems - simply do not work. I used three major brands that I got from Fisheries and even using the proper sealants etc - after one summer - every single one had leaked. It doesn't last long for the exposed silicon or other sealants begin cracking due to weather, and UV etc, rather rapidly and water always find a way to get in...So, if you must do the deck (and even in mast) - then do the piping were the water can not get in and build a box around it... (again refer to issue #1) - however, again considering the size of the connector for the cable - it almost is impractical to do so...Lastly, on this note - the hole to feed the cable through will be generally way bigger than the cable diameter due to the connector (cable is less than .5 inches but a 2 inch or 2.5 inch whole will be needed to feed the cable if no disconnect).
Thirdly - at some time you will have to dis-mast. If you never had it spliced with a disconnect - figure on a good 20 minutes to pull back the cable from wherever you installed the main display unit. No matter if you did 1 or 2.
Personally having done the mast install method - I will never again do so with a fractional rig setup. It all looks good on paper but the real world issues of constantly having to work around the limitations, especially when under sail and tacking - far outweigh the costs of the stern mounted options.
If going with a stern mounted option - look at also solving the issue of whether or not you want dingy storage, hanging solar panels etc... spending just a bit extra - will go a long way as now you will have a radar arch with davits and the likes... If you plan on or are a blue water cruiser - you will most definitely reap the rewards and investment costs off making that decision.
That has been my experience having done the mast install - and not being able to run it through the mast, unable to get someone to do the proper disconnect, and having to do a budget cable thru-deck approach.