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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, thanks for this resource it is great!
I am hoping that someone might have an idea how to silence the wires/conduit that is slapping the inside of my mast while rocking at anchor.
I really do not want to step the mast at this time. Any ideas?. If you have heard of this problem, I would appreciate any help
Thanks, Dan L.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you're not planning on replacing anything inside there any time soon, drill a small hole in the middle of the mast and shoot expanding foam inside it every 6 feet or so. when it dries, the clanging wire will be held fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
you'll need the mast unstepped and laying flat on its side. Sorry, forgot that part. Otherwise the foam would all travel down to the bottom before it dried.
 

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Goletasailor,

I'm not sure exactly what you mean. There are three possibilities that I can think of...

1. Noise is coming from halyards. Solution = keep halyards away from mast (ie attach them to bow). Do not tighten the halyards. Some slack will keep them from being taut and banging around inside the mast.

2. Wire conduit inside mast has come loose. Solution = take mast off of boat and repair conduit attachment. There will be pairs of rivets going up the mast. One of the rivets in each pair goes into the conduit, and the other one is really just a plug to cover the hole where the tool was used to hold the conduit while it was riveted. Be careful when you drill out the old rivets...drilling into the wires wouldn't be good unless you plan on replacing the wiring anyway. If there's a conduit without rivets, that would explain your problem. You should probably consult a rigger or boatyard in either case.

3. Wires are loose inside of mast without being in a conduit. Solution = Take mast off of boat and put wires into a conduit. Again, you should probably consult a rigger or boatyard.

Easiest solution to any of the above = get used to the noise (just kidding).

If the boat doesn't make the noise at dock, but does at anchor, think about what you are doing differently at each place.

Really, we need more information to provide you with a better answer.

Thanks,

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"

PS Please let us know where you are anchoring so we'll know where it'll be impossible to get a good nights sleep.
 

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Since you are looking for a solution that doesn't involve unstepping the mast, I think this is going to involve drilling a hole. If you know which side the wire/conduit is supposed to be running down, carefully drill a small hole there, fish a stiff wire with a hook into the hole, try to catch the offender, then secure the wire to the outside of the mast. Won't be particularly pretty, and may not even be recommended. I'm just throwing this out there, in case you're desperate (you are saying "Argh" after all).

Of course, you wouldn't want to secure the wire where it would get in the way of an internal halyard or anything. Now I'll step back and let others tell you what a bad idea this is :)
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Since you are looking for a solution that doesn't involve unstepping the mast, I think this is going to involve drilling a hole. If you know which side the wire/conduit is supposed to be running down, carefully drill a small hole there, fish a stiff wire with a hook into the hole, try to catch the offender, then secure the wire to the outside of the mast. Won't be particularly pretty, and may not even be recommended. I'm just throwing this out there, in case you're desperate (you are saying "Argh" after all).

Of course, you wouldn't want to secure the wire where it would get in the way of an internal halyard or anything. Now I'll step back and let others tell you what a bad idea this is :)
Actually, the only thing wrong with your idea is that the single low-pitched banging sound of a loose conduit or wire will be replaced by two higher-pitched banging noises from above and below the fix.. :D

Mast wiring really should be secured the entire way up - unless you're lazy like me and you hang it from the masthead down the center of the mast with internal halyards between it and the mast wall as cushioning... but that's a topic for an entire previous thread. ;)
 

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There is no way on this earth that I would drill a hole in a mast to silence a rattling wire.
An unplanned hole?, in a mast?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A new mast might fix that problem too... I never thought about this until now, but they do wear out, and you could have one of those "replace the mast to fix the broken wire" situations!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
But seriously, what boat is it on?

Most under 30' can be stepped down on the water with the boom, two helpers, a lanyard, mainsheet and blocks and vang and blocks in less than 30 minutes.

I'll explain if you're interested. I've personally done it.
 

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Wow! Thanks for all the responses. I know it seems like I'm making a big deal over some noises ( a guy at the marina told me to have a drink or take a sleeping pill), but it really is annoying. I think its time to look for some help in stepping this mast, another new experience. I just got done havit her hauled and painted, rudder straightened, cutlass bearing etc. Its only money right.
Let me ask what other maintenance should I do while having the mast off?
Does the mast sit on a sleeve of some sort or how is it attached to the boat? In other words once all the rigging is loosened do I have to raise it straight up to get it off?
She's an ericson 30 built 1967.
Thanks again for all your help and ideas
Dan L.
 

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But seriously, what boat is it on?

Most under 30' can be stepped down on the water with the boom, two helpers, a lanyard, mainsheet and blocks and vang and blocks in less than 30 minutes.

I'll explain if you're interested. I've personally done it.
That would be interesting to know how to do it...
I have a 31, but also have the same problem (a "bang" noise inside the mast when on the engine or on very slow winds) and besides I will need to replace the top lights soon.
Thanks.
 

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Dan L.,

If I'm correct, your Ericson 30 mast is deck stepped with internal halyards.

Before you spend the money to have the mast unstepped, try attaching all lines coming from the front of the mast to the bow. Leave them somewhat loose and DO NOT tighten them. Attach the main halyard somewhere on the aft part of the boat (end of boom works well). Again, leave it loose.

If you had external halyards, it would have been obvious if it was the halyards making the noise, so I assume you have internal ones.

If this doesn't fix the problem, then it's probably not halyard connected and you most likely have something loose somewhere inside the mast.

If you decide to have the mast unstepped, here are some things to consider:

1. Inspect chain plates. If yours have already been moved to the outside of the hull, then somebody already took care of the problem for you. If not, you need to know that your model of boat may have problems in this area. Inspect carefully in either case.

2. Inspect beam under mast. If yours has a compression post, again somebody took care of this potential problem. If there is a sag in the beam, you should unstepping the mast anyway to fix this.

3. Inspect mast for corrosion. Where to look; anywhere and everywhere hardware is attached to the mast and/or aluminum may be in contact with other metals.

4. Replace mast wiring. Modern marine-grade wiring wasn't around when your boat was built. It's likely the wiring has already been replaced once. Since we don't know when, it's probably a good idea to replace it when the mast is down.

5. Replace stays and shrouds. Unless you know when they were last replaced, while the mast is down is a good time to do this. Your sailing and DIY experience will indicate what style of ends you'll want.

6. Replace halyards. Consider going to all line halyards.

7. Inspect sheaves and replace if needed, especially if going to all line halyards.

8. Inspect windex and replace if needed.

9. Inspect lights and replace if needed. As a minimum, replace the bulbs and buy back-ups (it'll keep you from having to climb the mast twice when one burns out). Consider changing lights (particularly anchor light) to LED. Inspect antenna and replace if needed.

10. Consider future modifications and run the wires now. If you don't have an electronic wind instrument but are planning to get one, running the NMEA wire while the mast is down will save you headaches later down the road.

I think I covered just about everything. I recently finished a mast refurbishment. The total cost was around $10,000. But, that was on a 50' mast. The entire mast was taken down to bare aluminum, prep-ed, and painted. Half the cost was replacing the rod rigging. I would think you should be able to get by with somewhere around $3,000 if you decided to do a complete refurbishment. If you decide to just take the mast down, inspect it (correct the wiring conduit if needed or whatever the problem is), and put it back up...less than $1,000 should do it.

I wish you the best of luck in finding and correcting your banging mast problem.

Fair winds & following seas,

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"

PS If you're in ithe San Francisco bay area, let me know. Napa Valley Marina is the cheapest if you plan on doing most of the work yourself. Svendsens is probably the cheapest if you plan on paying to have the mast work done.
 

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Wow! Thanks for all the responses. I know it seems like I'm making a big deal over some noises ( a guy at the marina told me to have a drink or take a sleeping pill), but it really is annoying. I think its time to look for some help in stepping this mast, another new experience. I just got done havit her hauled and painted, rudder straightened, cutlass bearing etc. Its only money right.
Let me ask what other maintenance should I do while having the mast off?
Does the mast sit on a sleeve of some sort or how is it attached to the boat? In other words once all the rigging is loosened do I have to raise it straight up to get it off?
She's an ericson 30 built 1967.
Thanks again for all your help and ideas
Dan L.
In my opinion, dropping a stick, (unstepping your mast), is a lot easier than working on your engine or troubleshooting your electrical system.
You can find a local boatyard that has a little crane, gin pole or travel lift with a boom and have them lay the mast on deck. You can then haul it back home if you want to do the work yourself if you want.
I have even pulled a mast by rafting up to a larger vessel and heeling the boat over a little. It's no big thing if you take your time and think through the process.
You can build an elaborate a-frame system and spend a few days doing it yourself. Personally, I'd rather drop a couple hundred bucks and arrange a round trip for the mast with a good yard than stress out trying to do it the hard way. But that's a personal choice.
If your local yards and riggers are anything like me, they would certainly appreciate the business.
If you aren't sure what to do when you pull the mast, then have it inspected by a ....Let's all say it together....reputable rigger. Or even a good surveyor. One who climbs mast and surveys rigs.
We can all speculate about answers to problems that we can't see and questions that you aren't really sure how to ask, and that's all well and good, even fun. But if you really want to make sure that your 41 year old mast is sound and safe, you need to have someone knowledgeable and experienced look at it. And then you're going to have to decide to heed them.
There are threads that discuss and debate every imaginable method for silencing banging wires so I'm not going there except to say that in my opinion you would be well served to emulate the methods use by spar makers and professional riggers.
And having had to remove expandable foam from numerous masts when the new owners wanted to replace or add new wires, I really hate that method.
 

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Dan L.,

I second Knothead! A hundred or so dollars to a good rigger would give you all the answers you need...piece of mind, money well spent, and a tuned rig in the least. Damaging your mast will be far more expensive than prevention.

A good rigger is worth double their weight in gold!

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"
 

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I'd add to J36ZT's post by saying:

You also want to inspect the exit slots for the halyards, since the wire part of wire-to-rope halyards can rip up the exit slots pretty badly. Also, if you're going to be replacing the wiring, you should probably install a mast wiring conduit. The best ones I've seen were PVC, and were pop-riveted to the mast.

I also would second switching the lights to LED-based fixtures or using LED-replacement bulbs. This will lower the maintenance, since LEDs are far more reliable, as well as lower your electrical usage, since the LEDs are far lower power consumers.
 

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Drop your mast. If you don't have a wiring conduit - get one installed. Or in a pinch you can use those foam pipe covers they sell at home depot for about a buck - come in 6' sections - pull the wires with a messenger line - cover them - pull them back.
T
 

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Having had to replace the wiring inside various masts in the last several months, I can say with some authority that adding that insulating foam to the cables--either by tying doughnuts or tubes--is, without doubt, the best way I can think of to triple the cost of replacing mast wires. In time, the foam makes it damn near impossible to remove said wires... You pays for the 'damn near' part.
Howard Keiper
Berkeley
 

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Dan, if sailing is seasonal for you & you'd like to wait until hauling before major maintenance?

Is there an access panel near the base of your mast? Maybe a 3x5" plate surrounded by screws, that the wires all come out of? IF there is, and IF you can figure out which wire or cable is banging, a temporary solution is to get some water heater pipe insulation and slide it in, over the cable that bangs. Keep sliding in lengths and pushing them up, they'll dampen the noise and cushion the cable. Eventually they'll turn to dust, but as a stopgap measure...they'll get you to hauling time.

While you've got the mast down, this is also the time to consider replacing the standing rigging. Even if there are no defects, no meathooks, the "modern" approach is that 10-20 years is old enough to need replacement of the rigging AND the turnbuckles, which can fail suddenly.
 
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