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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-01-2008
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Mast De-Stepping for Radome Mount, Proactive Maintenance ?'s

I will be de-stepping the mast for the first time since purchasing my boat. I am taking it down to have a radome mounted. One of my aluminum spreader boots has a piece broken off (how does that happen?), so I plan to replace that. Aside from repairing this piece, what other pro-active things should I consider doing while it is down?

I'm considering adding an AIS antenna, but I'm told that I shouldn't use a splitter to share the antenna for both AIS and VHF (Seems logical), which likely means having the AIS antenna somewhere on the transom. Has anyone added an antenna or other communication devices directly above or below the radome?

What else?
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Old 04-01-2008
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Thoughts:
Add a TV antenna
Add a spare halyard
If the wiring to mast head is old...pull new stuff
Add a windex
Replace anchor lamp with LED lamp
Lubricate entire sail track
Inspect all masthead and spreader rigging swages/pins
Install mast steps
Have radome installed with split wiring so you can remove the mast easily in the future.
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Old 04-02-2008
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Clean the sail track before lubricating it. Use McLube Sailcote to lube the sailtrack.

Check VHF antenna, and replace it and the wiring if it is questionable.

Inspect the spreaders, spreader bases and spreader tips.

Check the masttop exit slots for burrs or damaged areas that may fray or chafe the halyards.

Replace spreader boots with ones that don't trap moisture against the rigging. Prefer the woven synthetic ones over the leather or plastic kind.
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Old 04-02-2008
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Sail/Cam - Excellent advice, thank you! What are your thoughts on stainless steel rail guards for the radome? I don't like the idea of the jib free-bashing the can, but the quote for the "custom" mount bracket and rail guard is $800. I guess my overall question is how much impact a flogging jib has at that part of the leech. At the tack, you'll get your head knocked off, but 30' up the mast is a different story. I don't mind paying the fee if it isn't over-kill to protect the $1600 radome. However, if the radome gets pummeled, isn't that why i pay an insurance premium?
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Old 04-02-2008
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Depending on your "rail guard"...The one thing that having a Radar dome mounted is that there is a gap between the mast and the widest point of the dome... your Genoa will sometimes get snagged in between...(especially if single handling... and it is quite annoying). The rail is to prevent the sail from getting into that area not so much to protect the dome...
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This may not be practical for your situation, but I wrap onr or two layers of drafting Mylar around the shrouds where they come in contact with the tips of the spreaders (assuming they're aluminum, as mine are). They get covered with the boots anyway and ride up and down, held by the boots when on a 'lee tack'. Also, since I'm in a Mylar mood, I put a shim of 0.005 Mylar between my tangs and the mast as well.
Howard Keiper
Sea Quest
Berkeley
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Howard - Do you have any pictures of that? Sounds like an interesting and logical preventative measure that I will investigate when the rig is down.

Artbyjody - I know the genoa always has the risk of getting caught in that mast/can gap. The thing is, I have a baby stay that goes from the deck to just below the steaming light (roughly 25' up). The can would be mounted just above the light. So I'm really wondering if the jib really gets a good shot at whipping or getting stuck on the can. I'm 90% convinced it's needed. I guess I am looking for some solid "overkill" justification.
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Old 04-03-2008
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My Raymarine dome does not snag the jib unless we are sailing downwind in light air. If we get backwinded while running wing and wing it will hang up sometimes but again it's only seems to happen when the wind is light and there is not enough wind pressure on the luff to pull the sail away from the mast. When it does hang up it is annoying because with each collapse of the jib it will want to cross the mast and catch; so we try and hold the sheet out so it will re-fill and not fall down against the mast. Of course a whisker pole would prevent this but it's usually only short distances that we are in light wind on SF Bay...

My question is why pull the mast down to install it? Couldn't the install work be done by a rigger or yourself while aloft? OK; I can see the potential for dropping an expensive radome into the drink but pulling the mast seems like a big expensive job also. If you did an aloft installation you could run the wire and have the mount ready to bolt on (pre-drill/tap the mast) prior to attaching the dome.

Last edited by KeelHaulin; 04-03-2008 at 12:29 AM.
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He is probably trying to run the cable through the mast plate... I did it the way you described and I deplored having the cable running through the deck on the side of the mast - it was just a PITA...looked terrible and not a clean install...but it was a heck of alot cheaper initially...
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I was not thinking in terms of a deck-stepped arrangement Jody; but yeah I could see how you might want to go internal through the deck.
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