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travlin-easy 03-07-2012 12:14 PM

Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
My 1973 33 Morgan Out Island has the normal number of wires running inside the mast, anchor light, spreader lights, VHF Antenna, etc..., all of which bang around the inside of the mast with the slightest movement of the boat. Unfortunately, I'm a relatively light sleeper, and while anchored at night, particularly if the weather is a bit windy, the wires banging inside the mast sound like someone is slamming the mast with a hammer.

I talked with a couple marinas and they recommended installing a PVC conduit in the mast, which would really be expensive. Someone else suggested drilling a few 1/4-inch holes on the side of the mast, then reaching inside with a brass hook and grabbing the wires and pulling them against the inside of the mast and anchoring them in place with nylon ties. (Not really sure how this could be accomplished, though.)

Finally, a non-sailor suggested cutting a series of foam rubber balls that are slightly larger in diameter than the mast, attaching them at 8-foot intervals on a length of parachute cord, and pulling them down the mast, thereby holding the wires tight against the mast interior.

Has anyone else experienced this problem, and if so, I could sure use a solution.

Thanks in advance,

Gary :cool:

deniseO30 03-07-2012 12:33 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
If your halyards are external I read somewhere that wire ties along the bundle with the tails sticking out will keep the wires from slapping.

copacabana 03-07-2012 12:43 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Your best option is a 3/4 inch PVC pipe conduit inside the mast, riveted to the inside of the mast wall. This way your wires won't interfere with your halyards and vice versa. I don't know why you think this will be expensive. I did mine last July when I hauled out. I bought PVC pipe at the hardware store and did the labour myself (2 or 3 hours). The hardest part is getting the pipe pressed against the mast wall to drill and rivet it in place. If your halyards are internal, there really is no other permanent solution that I'm aware of.

peterchech 03-07-2012 01:08 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?

Originally Posted by deniseO30 (Post 841435)
If your halyards are external I read somewhere that wire ties along the bundle with the tails sticking out will keep the wires from slapping.

That's the solution that Don Casey suggests, sounds like a simple solution.

At copacabana:
How do you hold the PVC against the wall of the mast for riveting? And why riveting, instead of some other method? ie screws

travlin-easy 03-07-2012 01:13 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
Thanks guys and gals--that will be one of the projects to complete before the boat goes back in the water in mid April.

Gary :cool:

Faster 03-07-2012 01:14 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
Once you get the PVC close enough to grab, the rivet will pull it tight against the mast. Putting a screw in will always be trying to push the PVC away until/if it 'grabs'.

The 'wire straps left long' may even work with internal halyards, but best if the halyards are there first.. threading a new halyard or messenger through might be interesting...

Either method requires pulling the cables and refeeding them - either into the conduit or with the wire ties attached.

Ajax_MD 03-07-2012 01:17 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
The issue is, that the best solutions require taking the mast down.

When I installed some extra accessories at the top of my Coronado's mast, I wrapped all the wires in closed-cell foam pipe insulation. This is not that nasty, black rubber foam that gets wet and disintigrates, this was a plastic-based foam that is extremely cheap at Home Despot, and very durable, and immune to humidity.

I had the mast at home on saw-horses where I covered all the cables, pulled them up into the mast, and voila!- Silence. No drilling, no PVC conduit.

copacabana 03-07-2012 01:20 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
First I removed some mast hardware to have a few free holes available. Then I used screwdrivers to push the pipe against the wall of the mast. It takes 2 people. One holds it and another drills and rivets. Start at one end of the mast and after the second fixing point the pipe stays pretty much in place, although you still need to push it firmly against the mast wall to rivet it. It's not exactly easy, but it's also not rocket science. It just takes patience. Riveting is the easiest and strongest method, but I suppose screws could work (or would they eventualy loosen in the pvc?). I suppose a good glue might also work (like 5200) if you roughened the PVC pipe with coarse sandpaper.

The problem with Don Casey's method is that you haven't eliminated the greater problem of having wires (and now a bunch of wire ties) and halyards loose in the mast together. Eventually the rope chafes the wires or something gets tangled. I replaced all my mast wires when I put in the PVC conduit and all had a few big chafe points. The PVC pipe protects the wires and is a smooth surface that won't chafe your halyards. It's a cheap and easy upgrade.

tommays 03-07-2012 01:52 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
I did the conduit with pop-rivets as told by knothead were you drill one small hole to hold the conduit in place with a bent coat hanger and then drill the second through the conduit and rivit it

It worked really well and i was able to have a hole in the conduit at the combo steam/deck light were those wires exited the mast mid level

JonEisberg 03-07-2012 01:56 PM

Re: Ideas on securing wires inside mast?
If you’re gonna install a PVC conduit, I think securing it with an adhesive like 5200 is a far simpler way to go, and it saves the drilling of unnecessary holes in the mast…

I did this about 15 years ago, mine’s held up fine… Simply assemble the conduit (I did one from the bottom, another from the top, to allow a break at the spreaders for spreader, steaming, and foredeck lights) and run a heavy bead of 5200 or similar along the conduit, then slide it in the mast (keeping the bead from making contact with the mast wall until you have it properly positioned, of course) Then, simply rotate the conduit to where you want it…

Don't forget to run some sort of messenger line inside the conduit, especially if you're leaving a break somewhere, as I did... You'll be happy you did so when it comes time to run the wires, you can trust me on this (grin)

Then, to insure you’ve got a consistent and adequate distribution of the sealant, slide an equivalent length of heavy, black iron pipe up inside the conduit to weigh it down, and ensure a good, solid connection with the mast wall…

Let it sit until the adhesive cures, remove the black pipe, you’re done…

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