Mast wiring for tricolor - need help - SailNet Community

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Old 04-15-2012
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Mast wiring for tricolor - need help

Hi everyone. I did some searching and I couldn't apply what I found to my own situation so I am starting a thread.

I have a C&C 32, the masthead looks like this:





The top is sealed and does not have holes in it. Mast is keel stepped. I didn't look in the bottom deep enough (didn't have a flashlight at the time) so I can't say whether the cable for the VHF is in a conduit or not, but I hope it is. Anyway, it seems that the BNC (is that what it is?) for the VHF takes up all the space in that hole, and that the end is too big for the hole to pass back down .. seems the thing to do is pull the VHF cable down with a messenger line attached and then pull it back up with wiring for the lights and another messenger to have for future use. Is that little hole going to be enough? Am I going to have to take the end off the cable and crimp a new one on after all the fishing is done?

I want to purchase the Aqua Signal series 40 tricolor, seems popular and there are LED retrofits available. I've read these are USCG approved but please correct me if I'm wrong. I don't need to retrofit them this year or anything. Anyway, the instructions for the Aqua Signal mention screwing into the top of the mast .. do I really want to do that? Seems there are no holes up there, if I put holes in I guess water can get in the mast? Is that bad? Sorry, new boat and never done anything like this before.

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Old 04-15-2012
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Re: Mast wiring for tricolor - need help

If you have conduit in there you should be able to see it from the base of the mast. If it were me, I would drill a new hole for the lighting wiring then feed a fishtape down the mast and pull the wire with the fishtape or a sentinel line. Of course if there is conduit in the mast drill over the conduit so you can feed the wire through. I'd rather use a fishtape than fiddle with that vhf wire.
As far as mounting the light, I'd drill and tap holes then seal the screws. There's a compound (I can't remember the name of the stuff) that will keep the stainless steel screws from galling in the aluminum.
If you do pull new wire, also pull a sentinel line (nylon masons line works well) at the same time and leave it in place so when you add an anemometer or something else you'll have something to pull the new wire with.

By the way, are you on the seacoast or the Great Lakes? The reason I ask is that a masthead tricolor light may be preferable on the ocean where big swells can obscure low-mounted nav lights, but on the Great Lakes I think they're actually much harder to see- nobody is expecting lights 40+ feet up. I prefer pulpit mounted nav lights in the Lakes.
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Last edited by msmith10; 04-15-2012 at 05:02 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 04-15-2012
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Re: Mast wiring for tricolor - need help

The compound is Tef Gel

Clean masthead - not even a Windex.
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Re: Mast wiring for tricolor - need help

Thanks. I have no idea where to get fishtape that's long enough, Home Depot? I've been looking for an excuse to buy one of those tap & die sets from Canadian Tire when they go on sale
I'm in Lake Ontario. Honestly, the reason I want the tri-color is because I just kind of like the way they look but mostly, it's because I have to install an anchor light anyway, so I figure might as well do it once. I really want LED. Like I said, it doesn't have to be this year but the fact that there are retro kits for the Aqua Signal tri-color makes me want one and they seem popular. When out sailing at night I always envied the guys with the masthead nav lights, it's pretty well a superficial thing.
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Re: Mast wiring for tricolor - need help

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
The compound is Tef Gel
Thanks!

Quote:
Clean masthead - not even a Windex.
Windex is packed away in the boat for the winter
New boat, bought it in the fall so just getting to know it/leave my mark on it.
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Old 05-03-2012
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Re: Mast wiring for tricolor - need help

This is all done. Skipped the tricolor, most recommended against it. Pulling the wire just for the anchor light proved very difficult anyway so more wires would have been that much harder. So, new anchor light and new steaming light. Old lamp wire pulled out of mast and replaced with proper marine grade 14ga. All holes properly tapped. Store was out of tef gel so I got something else that claims to do the same thing .. marilube or something like that. Mast is stepped!
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