Masthead light no workee - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 08-25-2009 Thread Starter
Senior Member
n0w0rries's Avatar
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 240
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 7
Masthead light no workee

Just bought a 1980 Cat 27 and the masthead light doesn't work. Any advice on the easiest way to repair it? I used to Rock Climb and still have my harness... should I get an ascender to go up? I imagine I could have somebody winch me up--but how do you control the descent? Any issue with everything supporting my 190lbs, or do I need to find somebody lighter to go up?
n0w0rries is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 08-25-2009
Chesapeake Sailor
wwilson's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Herrington Harbor, MD
Posts: 579
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 16

Before going up the mast check (with a continuity tester or multimeter) that 12V is going up the mast. If it is, then you may be very lucky and need only to change the bulb.

!90# will go up the mast, my 225 did - but make sure that you have similar heft and muscle at the base of the mast controlling the halyard (and you life). The descent will be controlled by the deck level tender, carefully tailing the halyard from wraps around the main halyard winch.

You may as well take the multimeter up with you and be sure that there is current at the lamp fitting.


Last edited by wwilson; 08-25-2009 at 06:44 PM.
wwilson is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 4 Old 08-25-2009
Just another Moderator
Faster's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 16,713
Thanks: 112
Thanked 327 Times in 311 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Having someone winch you up on a 27 footer is always tough, the winches are not really up to the task and it's very difficult to flat-out grind a 200 pounder up the mast.

If you have external halyards, you can cancel the load by pulling on the descending part yourself as someone on deck tails the winch, with assist from a grinder. That can go quite quickly.

Be sure to tie on, rather than rely on the shackle that may be on the halyard already. Use a second halyard as a safety if you have it available.


1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Faster is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 4 Old 08-25-2009
Senior Member
AdamLein's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: SF Bay area
Posts: 1,936
Thanks: 6
Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 8
You can totally get somebody to hoist you. Sending the lightest crewmember is nice if you happen to be the lightest crewmember...

If you have the option, choose an all-rope halyard. If you don't have that option, carefully inspect the rope-to-halyard splice before going aloft. Also, like Faster suggested, it's very helpful to pull on the descending part of the line. I can almost hoist myself up doing this (but it's nice to have somebody tailing the line on a winch). This only works if it's an all-rope halyard, unless you're comfortable hauling a wire rope in your hands.

Assuming you have two crew members on winches, I find that the easiest thing is for them to alternate tensioning the halyard and then taking up the slack created by the other's tension. A small ratcheting motion is good for this and you can get into a nice rhythm to the point where the hoist is almost continuous. Use the smallest winches that will take the load: for a given size winch handle, a smaller-diameter winch provides a larger mechanical advantage.

Here's an idea I've heard but never tried: take a rope with loops in both ends with you. When you get to the top, put the rope over the masthead and put your feet in the loops. I guess the rope should be about one and a half times your height. Now you can stand in the loops instead of sitting in the chair.

Plan which side of the mast you want to be on and plan how you'll have to switch halyards when you get to the spreaders. Ditto for the trip down.

The descent, as Wayne mentions, is controlled by the deck crew.

I should reiterate that you should take your multimeter with you. And a spare bulb. And some duct tape. And a set of screwdrivers. And a camera, so you can take pictures of the other things you realize you'll need to fix.

s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
s/v Essorant - 1972 Catalina 27
AdamLein is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
LEDs afloat GoodOldBoat Good Old Boat 56 12-19-2014 01:23 PM
Orca Green LED Masthead Light capecodphyllis Gear & Maintenance 7 02-02-2007 12:31 AM
Light Lists, Lighthouses, and Visible Ranges Jim Sexton Seamanship Articles 0 06-19-2003 08:00 PM
Light Lists, Lighthouses, and Visible Ranges Jim Sexton Her Sailnet Articles 0 06-19-2003 08:00 PM
Performing in Light Air Brian Hancock Learning to Sail Articles 0 01-15-2003 07:00 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome