Leak at mast wiring deck penetration - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 
  #1  
Old 11-01-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bremerton, Washington
Posts: 184
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Rusty123 is on a distinguished road
Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

Yesterday, it rained really hard here. Really, really hard. When I visited my boat, I noticed a damp spot on the settee, and after removing some of the headliner, traced the leak to the hole where the mast wiring comes through the deck (it's a deck stepped mast). Unfortunately, I can't tell from the underside how the penetration is sealed (the wires run up through a small hole in the deck (about 1 inch diameter), and I can't see any obvious sealant), and the topside is obscured by the mast.

I've not noticed a leak here before, and there isn't any sign of water damage inside the headliner. So my guess is that the heavy rainstorm caused an unusual amount of pooling in the mast step, enough for the water to leak through the wire penetration.

Any ideas how I can prevent this, short of removing the mast?
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 11-01-2012
asdf38's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 674
Thanks: 1
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 5
asdf38 is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

Does the hole properly seal the deck core? Water getting into the cabin is an annoyance but water getting into your deck core, especially around the mast step is serious. I'd look into it further and make sure the deck core is protected. If it's not, you'd need to do something about it. Over-drilling and epoxy potting is the best way. I don't have any ideas for doing this while the mast is up.

One thing not to do: Add sealant from below. This just hides the problem and forces even more moisture into the deck core if that's where it's going.
__________________
1979 Contessa 26
Boston, Ma
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 11-01-2012
Alex W's Avatar
always busy with sailing
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,075
Thanks: 2
Thanked 121 Times in 116 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Alex W is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

What kind of boat do you have?

There should be a drain near the base of the mast (or as part of the mast step) that helps the water get out from inside the mast without going into your boat. On my Pearson 28-2 these drains are easily clogged and then water will follow the cables into the boat.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 11-01-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bremerton, Washington
Posts: 184
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Rusty123 is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
What kind of boat do you have?

There should be a drain near the base of the mast (or as part of the mast step) that helps the water get out from inside the mast without going into your boat. On my Pearson 28-2 these drains are easily clogged and then water will follow the cables into the boat.
It's a Spirit 28. I came across a mention of drain holes like you describe on the internet , so I'm going to check to see if my boat has them, and make sure they're clear. If not, that would explain why it only leaks when it rains super hard.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 11-21-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bremerton, Washington
Posts: 184
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Rusty123 is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

Problem solved. PO had sealed mast drain hole with caulk. I removed caulk, and water drained out. Nice.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 12-31-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bremerton, Washington
Posts: 184
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Rusty123 is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

I spoke too soon -- cleaning out the mast drain hole didn't really solve the problem (although I'm sure it helped). Essentially, it appears that rain gets inside the mast, collects on the radar cable, and then the drips migrate along the cable into the cabin.

In looking at photos of mast steps on line, it appears pretty common for cables to enter the cabin through a hole in the step (as mine does), so what is the usual way to keep water from dripping down the cable into the cabin? Applying sealant around the cable is impossible once the mast is in place, so I'm guessing that's not the usual method. Perhaps a drip loop inside the mast? (I might be able to put a loop in place without removing the mast).

Other suggestions?

Russ
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 12-31-2012
chef2sail's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 6,828
Thanks: 28
Thanked 53 Times in 49 Posts
Rep Power: 7
chef2sail will become famous soon enough
Send a message via AIM to chef2sail
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

Scanstrut Cable Clam / Deck Seal

I use this for our Raystar 125 GPS antannae to go through the deck. Not sure this will fit in the sapce you have as by mast cables exit the mast inside the boat

Dave
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
___________________________
S/V Haleakala (Hawaiian for" House of the Sun")
C&C 35 MKIII Hull # 76
Parkville, Maryland
(photos by Joe McCary)
Charter member of the Chesapeake Lion posse

Our blog-
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


“Sailing is just the bottom line, like adding up the score in bridge. My real interest is in the tremendous game of life.”- Dennis Conner
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 12-31-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bremerton, Washington
Posts: 184
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Rusty123 is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

Those deck seals look sweet -- unlike my radar cable, my VHF cable exits the mast above deck, and then goes through a similar device.

But as I sit here thinking about it, it occurs to me that when I first removed the cabin headliner to investigate the leak, I pulled the slack in the radar cable into the cabin. I'm thinking that "slack" might have actually been a drip loop. so while I solved one problem (by removing the caulk in the mast drain hole), I might have caused another (by removing the drip loop). Hopefully, I can put the drip loop back in (I can certainly push the slack back in the mast, but it may take some work to form a loop).

This also makes sense in light of the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that this leak is long standing -- no stains, no deterioration, nothing, even though this boat has been weathering Pacific Northwest winters for at least 15 years.

One good thing about all this -- I was able to identify that the plywood coring forming the deck penetration is rough and raw, and needs to be smoothed and epoxy sealed.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 12-31-2012
Alex W's Avatar
always busy with sailing
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,075
Thanks: 2
Thanked 121 Times in 116 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Alex W is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

There should be a little tube that protects the plywood there. On my mast step (Isomat-brand on a Pearson boat) this tube is part of the step and you can see it from below. The mast is coming down off of my boat today (mostly to remove caulk and clear the drain in ways that couldn't be done from the outside) and I'll take a photo if you like.

The top of the tube sticks up about an inch from the mast step base to keep pooled water from finding this way out of the mast and to have it go through the drain hole instead. Since my drain hole has been clogged I made a wick that I hooked through the tube that pulled the water down to a pot sitting on the cabin table. This is a hacky fix, but is better than having water on the table and floor. This may be a temporary solution that works for you. I made this wick by taking 3 or 4 feet of 1/8" line, decoring it, and running thin wire (piano wire) up where the core was. The top of this was bent like a paper clip and hooked on the top of that mast step tube.

I think that drip loops on the electrical cables can't hurt, but my guess is that most of the water is wicked in via the halyards, not the electrical wires. Rope just makes a much better wick than rubber/plastic insulation.

De-stepping the mast to fix this is a major pain in the butt, but it'll be nice to have a boat that stays dry in the rain. I'm also in the PNW.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 12-31-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bremerton, Washington
Posts: 184
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Rusty123 is on a distinguished road
Re: Leak at mast wiring deck penetration

A few more thoughts for consideration: I wonder if I could use a zip tie to put a 180 degree bend in the cable before I push it back up into the mast. This would then form the top side of the drip loop (or "S" shape). Downside might be that the cable wouldn't like having a semi-permanent sharp bend. Or maybe some sort of removeable wire "hook" to encourage the loop into place?

Too bad there isn't a way to make the cable seek a looped shape by itself (like a self-coiling air compressor hose).
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Where does your mast wiring exit the mast? downeast450 Electrical Systems 0 02-27-2012 08:43 AM
Deck Drain / Fairlead Leak wsmurdoch Pacific Seacraft 4 04-11-2011 09:22 PM
Deck/Steaming light wiring question andyjen Electrical Systems 15 01-20-2011 11:46 AM
Deck Stepped Mast Wiring Connection 1970Columbia34 Gear & Maintenance 12 01-03-2008 08:39 PM
Leak at hull/deck or toerail dennisvetter Gear & Maintenance 7 08-25-2007 11:32 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:03 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.