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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have my mast down (Islander 30 Bahama) and have a number of maintenance and upgrade projects on the list before she goes in the water. I came across an excerpt from Don Casey's book that described a method of installing a conduit inside the mast using sealant or adhesive to secure the conduit against the inside. This prompted several questions:
  • What size conduit is typical? I was thinking 1-inch
  • What type of sealant or adhesive would be able to hold the conduit? We're talking at least 40 feet!
  • Would the adhesive really be able to sustain a drill coming through the mast and into the conduit without it being pulled away from the mast?
  • Is this whole exercise even worth the effort?
I appreciate any and all opinions.
 

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I used 1 inch plastic conduit, Mine is pop riveted in place, to hold conduit while drilling ,I used a small auto scissors jack rigged with a snow rake handle . I could add more length as I got up the mast , just a twist gave plenty of pressure right where I drilled........Dale
 

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During the last 2.5 years of anchorages, I can tell you that the most obnoxious sound on a pleasant tropical evening, is the boat anchored next to you clanging all night long because his wires are not secured in his mast.
That may be of no importance to you if you don't take your boat out for overnights.
I can not for the life of me understand how those people could even sleep aboard, yet these were full time cruisers!
 

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would standard pipe insulation work instead of a plastic conduit, start at the bottom and slide the insulation up the mast and tape the insulation together at each of the butt ends with the wire inside. The insulation might lower or eliminate the noise of the wire hitting the mast. You will probably will have to pull everything off the mast or at least any through bolts otherwise the insulation may not be stiff enough to push up the mast. I just primed my 50-foot mast and plan to replace the VHF wire which is wrapped in a 1.5 inch outside diameter foam insulation with possible 0.5 inch I.D. but need to verify the inside diameter. The insulation appears original to the 1979 Sabre. The insulation is not secured to the mast but is held against the mast via some of the through bolts for the lower shrouds, spreaders and upper shroud through bolts. Mechanical fastners, adhesive and PVC all sound like a pain in the a....
 

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I hate the idea of drilling rows of holes in the mast. Four or five big nylon ties in a radial star pattern spaced at regular intervals along split loom encased wires supplemented by some inter-spaced foam wrapping has worked well for me in the past. Obviously needs to be done in a way that doesn't interfere with any internal halyards.
 

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Definitely worth it... As capta has noted, few things more annoying at anchor than stuff slapping around inside the mast...

Not a difficult project at all. I used light PVC conduit, and a heavy bead of 5200. filled the conduit with several lengths of black iron pipe to give it some weight. Slide the whole arrangement inside, once you're confident of its placement, rotate the conduit 180 degrees so the bead of adhesive is against the mast wall, and let the 5200 cure, remove the heavy pipe with the messenger line... So far, so good, mine has presented no problems after 15 years...

Using fasteners or the pop rivet method sounds like an incredible PITA, and like others, I hate drilling any more holes in my mast than necessary :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I like your use of the black pipe. I may have to "borrow" some from Home Depot for the occasion....

Definitely worth it... As capta has noted, few things more annoying at anchor than stuff slapping around inside the mast...

Not a difficult project at all. I used light PVC conduit, and a heavy bead of 5200. filled the conduit with several lengths of black iron pipe to give it some weight. Slide the whole arrangement inside, once you're confident of its placement, rotate the conduit 180 degrees so the bead of adhesive is against the mast wall, and let the 5200 cure, remove the heavy pipe with the messenger line... So far, so good, mine has presented no problems after 15 years...

Using fasteners or the pop rivet method sounds like an incredible PITA, and like others, I hate drilling any more holes in my mast than necessary :)
 

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I also recommend the other methods over drilling and riveting the conduit.

If you opt for the "pipe insulation and zip-tie spider" method, make sure you use the modern, plastic-cell foam insulation instead of the old, black rubber foam. The black rubber foam disintegrates over time, and will make a nasty mess inside of your mast, eventually. They're practically the same price anyway.

Make sure you use large, wide zip-ties that are strong enough to fend off the weight of the cables from the inside of the mast.
 

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The beauty of conduit is, if you need to run additional cables in the future, you have a nice, clear shot all the way up/down the mast. No worries that you'll get tangled in a halyard. Plus, if you leave a messenger line or two in there, you'll be very happy with yourself when you want to run that next cable. To me, 1" conduit seems small, but maybe that's just my ignorance. I'd probably go with 1.5" if I thought it would fit. Also, you'll need to figure out how you want to handle the area around the spreaders, assuming you have spreader lights. I've heard of people using 2 pieces, one on either side of the spreader.
 

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I put PVC conduit in my 47' (keel-stepped) mast following Don Casey's system. I think I used Liquid Nails rather than 5200 as it's the same type of adhesive (polyurethane), it doesn't have to make a critical water seal and it's a lot cheaper. Once the glue set, I drilled for pop rivets every 4 feet or so, just for a little mechanical reinforcement. I think I used 1.5 inch PVC. I suggest using the biggest you can reasonably fit, as it can get pretty tough to run wire through it once it gets full. It's been about 4 years now and it's still in place.
I found it no more difficult than the zip-tie spiders I'd put in the year before and a lot more effective. and well worth it.
John V
 

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I really like the adhesive idea. I've done the old pop rivet method, drilling a hole then holding the conduit in place with a hook while drilling the next hole. It is a PITA. The glue idea is great.
 

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I guess my question would be "How do control lines and wire inside a mast interact?" My Lancer 25 has the halyards outside the mast so I don't have to deal with those. When I rewired my mast I used "backer rod" (1" diameter foam rod) cut into 2" slugs and strung them along the wires like popcorn on a string. You can't hear them at all now. I acknowledge that I don't own one of the big girls, and rules of engagement change along with her beam, but it might give an idea.

Don
 

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I put PVC conduit in my 47' (keel-stepped) mast following Don Casey's system. I think I used Liquid Nails rather than 5200 as it's the same type of adhesive (polyurethane), it doesn't have to make a critical water seal and it's a lot cheaper. Once the glue set, I drilled for pop rivets every 4 feet or so, just for a little mechanical reinforcement. I think I used 1.5 inch PVC. I suggest using the biggest you can reasonably fit, as it can get pretty tough to run wire through it once it gets full. It's been about 4 years now and it's still in place.
I found it no more difficult than the zip-tie spiders I'd put in the year before and a lot more effective. and well worth it.
John V
How did you apply pressure on the PVC while the glue set on such a long length?
 

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my Coronado 25 has a 3x5 mast and I will be running internal halyards so I want to run conduit so the halyards don't get tangled. I will run the wiring before gluing it down, I will slot the conduit for the wiring to exit at the steaming/deck light and at the spreaders for lights. I only have a 30' mast so I believe the Liquid Nails will do a good job maybe a rivit or two at the top and one at the bottom. I plan on doing this before June.
 

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How did you apply pressure on the PVC while the glue set on such a long length?
As I recall, I may have riveted before the glue set. I was working from under the horizontal mast and rivets were maybe 4' apart. Drilling 1/8" holes in PVC didn't require much pressure. Use a fresh drill bit and let it do the work--don't push on it. The weight of the pipe, and the fact that the last rivet was holding it down, was enough and the rivet holes stayed aligned. I think in one instance I had to drill a second hole nearby so I could use an awl or something to manipulate the rivet holes into alignment, but all in all the job was pretty straightforward.
FYI, you may be aware that hardware stores sell bottles of cable lubricant, which may help if there's a tight fit. But use it after the glue sets in case it gets on the outside of the conduit. Also, make sure you leave a messenger line in the conduit for future need.
JV
 

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Just ran PVC conduit inside my mast. Wasn't easy (mainly do to lack of experience), but DEFINITELY worth it! So much quieter. Used rivets on the leading edge of the mast.

Lessons learned:

The yard manager predicted that a lot of the slapping noise might have come from internal halyards. Not true.

Used #200 conduit to withstand the rivet. Had to go to a landscape supply. Home Depot etc., only carry lighter pvc. The lighter PVC would probably be okay if you are using adhesive, but I think it might pull trough rivets.

Wasn't sure I could remove the upper halyard sheaves, which made it difficult to feed the new wires through the mast, so I chased the old wires with different colored mason line when I removed them. This was a BAD move. The mason line eventually snagged any screw or rivet it encountered inside the mast. If I hadn't been able to remove the sheaves (turned out that I could), I should have used the electricians pull line available at any hardware. It has a waxy finish and is not prone to snagging as the mason line was. Thought I was being clever using colors to I.D. the different wires. Turned out to not be so clever or necessary!
With the sheaves removed, I was able to use a fish tape to run the lines.

On the horses, I had to flip the mast (leading edge up) a couple of times for access to certain holes, and to get rid of the birds nest I created with the mason line. I forgot that I left it in that position the previous day and wasted some time routing the PVC on the wrong side of the mast before realizing it.
I should have marked the leading edge with some blue tape at the mast base. It sounds silly, but it's not hard to get confused.

The spreader light wire holes in the side of the mast are small and were a nightmare to feed the new wires through. Because they were on the sides of the mast (not in front), I was reluctant to enlarge them without someone's (a rigger, engineer, etc.) OK. In retrospect, I should have obtained that OK. Instead, I struggled.

As tempted as I was to use the adhesive method, I couldn't figure a way to do it without being able to remove the mast head. Knowing what I know now, I still can't imagine being able to do it.

In any case, to answer the question in the OP: Even as difficult as I made the project for myself, every time I step on the boat I know it was worth it!
 

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Did the pop rivet install of 1" schedule 20 PVC water pipe for conduit. Drilled pairs of holes on 2' centers. Used one hole to insert a wire hook to hold the PVC pipe against the mast and then drilled the other hole into the pipe and pop riveted it in place. Stuck a pop rivet into the other hole to finish it off. Worked a charm. Went with pop rivets because it was easy and they could be easily replaced if the the conduit broke loose for any reason.

Used two lengths of pipe, one to the spreaders and then from spreaders to mast head before riveting the pipe in place. Put messengers the length of the pipe for the masthead wires and just to the spreaders for the running light and spreader lights. Left a couple of extra messenger lines in the conduit just in case more wires are needed later.
 

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All that sounds fine and dandy, but in my case I have spot lights that light the deck near the ends of my spreaders. Consequently, the conduit would need an opening of sorts at the spreader height in order for those wires to exit the mast and go to the lights. I'm thinking seriously about pipe insulation, which would completely deaden the sound, while at the same time protect the wires. Fortunately, my halyards are outside the mast.

All the best,

Gary :cool:
 

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Answered your question about the spreader wiring in my post above. Be sure and fish out the messengers before you rivet the conduit in place. If you are very careful with the drill, can pull the wires before you rivet the conduit in place.
 
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