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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-23-2010
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Mast Wiring

I plan on dropping the stick on my P30 for the first time this winter (overdue!) and will be replacing all the current wiring in the mast; replacing coax; inspecting and replacing as needed any fixtures (maybe switching to LEDs); changing the sheeves to accommodate all-rope halyards (replacing current wire-to-rope halyards which are in poor shape); installing the ST60 AWI that's been sitting in my basement; good clean and wax, professional rigging inspection, etc. While I'm at it, I may add a mast plate to run my control lines aft -- depending on budget... (I could add the plate now and run the lines back at a later time, of course). Looking for best practices on mast wiring, lessons learned, recommendations, recommended materials (wire recommendations?), gotchas, etc.

Current situation is spreader and steaming light wiring FUBAR (corrosion), badly frayed wire-to-rope halyards, mast mounted winches for main and jib halyards (need to be overhauled, but working fine).

Thanks in advance for sharing Let `er rip.

Chris
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Old 08-23-2010
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When we rewired our mast, we found the wires had been wrapped in chucks of foam every 3- 5 feet before pulling them up the mast. While this made the wires quite, it did not make for easy replacement. The foam was old and rotting and got hung up on everything in the mast. The biggest issue took a while to figure out, there is a bolt all the way through the mast at the spreaders which blocked up the foam. In hind sight I should have figured that one out quick, but for some reason it did not register until I fought with the foam and wires for quite some time. I must admit also that I believe it was my wife who finnally came along and said "Looks like there's a bolt through here, could that be your problem?"

Also, I would advise pulling two messenger lines if you can, that way you will have a backup if something goes wrong and the first one gets goofed up.

Good Luck,
Bryan
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Old 08-23-2010
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I would consider putting PVC conduit to silence the cables if there hasn't been one previously installed.
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Old 08-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor50 View Post
I would consider putting PVC conduit to silence the cables if there hasn't been one previously installed.
Oh yeah, this is a good idea as well. When we re-did our mast this was recommended by the riggers working on the standing rigging, but do to time and budget constraints we opted for a different route. Rather then a conduit, we put large zip ties around the wires, with the tails sticking of at different angles. Groups of 3 - 5, 3 - 5 feet apart. This was cheap and quick, holds the wires so they do not bang, and still allows us to easily pull new wires through the mast (Using the messengers which are not tied into the bundle). In fact, I believe a new line pulled through the tails would also not bang around, just do to the jungle of zip tie tails all over the place.

This has worked well for us and I would recommend it if time and budget do not allow for a real conduit. However, I know it is far from idea as there is more opportunity for chafe as the wires can move a bit, etc. It is better then all the wires free hanging in the mast and banging around, but not as good as a real conduit.
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Old 08-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IslanderGuy View Post
When we rewired our mast, we found the wires had been wrapped in chucks of foam every 3- 5 feet before pulling them up the mast. While this made the wires quite, it did not make for easy replacement. The foam was old and rotting and got hung up on everything in the mast.
Ugh. I bet it *seemed* like a good idea to the PO. I've heard of PVC conduit, aluminum conduit, zip ties with long tails at 90 degree angles and even styrofoam peanuts used to silence wiring...

Do you recall what wire you used? Still need to do some homework on this front, but was thinking something like Ancor Marine Flat Safety Wire.

Quote:
Also, I would advise pulling two messenger lines if you can, that way you will have a backup if something goes wrong and the first one gets goofed up.
Great suggestion! Thanks.
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Last edited by CLucas; 08-23-2010 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 08-23-2010
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Islander Guy: real conduit, REAL conduit, PVC pipe, is really cheap! Get it from the sprinkler company or Home Depot! Saves lots of sleepless nights!
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Old 08-23-2010
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I would install a conduit as well. And the wire you linked to is expensive. I pay about $30 Canadian for 14/2 tinned duplex (100' roll) in Victoria and that is $38 for 18/2. In the US I'd recommend GenuineDealz for a good price. Not sure if I would use single strand or duplex. But I would certainly use a heavier gauge than 18. Maybe 12 awg. And use a separate ground for each light, not a common one.
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Old 08-23-2010
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CLucus, sorry, I do not remember what we used, just whatever they had at westmarine or another local shop.

Sailor50, yes, PVC is cheap, and given more time I would have done that. The riggers had metal conduit whch was more spendy and either way, I was unsure of how to install it. I assume it needs to be secured inside at several places along the way. The whole rewire was a last minute idea as the mast was down for rigging replacement just after buying the boat, and a five hour drive from home. I did the whole project the day before the mast went back up, so time was my biggest concern. Having the conduit installed for me was just a liittle to much with all the other expenceses at the time. Three years later I have not heard the wires banging around with the zip ties. Good enogh for me.

Again, if time and budget allow it, I do think conduit is the best option, but in a pinch I have found the zip ties to work well, cheap, easy and fast.
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Old 08-25-2010
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First, if you can, add a wiring conduit inside the mast using some PVC pipe. You can add it in two sections if having an opening for the spreader lights is a necessity. Pop riveting the conduit to the mast isn't too difficult a task and makes changing/replacing wiring much simpler than does the foam or wire-tie solutions.

As for wiring, I would recommend buying wire from either Berkshire or Pacer, as they have a better product for less money than does Ancor IMHO. Pacer sells direct to the public and their outlet/remainders section has excellent pricing. Genuinedealz.com also has pretty good pricing on marine grade wire.

For the running rigging, you might want to contact Cajun Rigging. They have pre-priced packages for a lot of different boats.
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