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Date Posted: - Friday - 10/14/11 - 4:50pm
Author: Mark AEOLUS M31
Subject: Mast Wiring

Just wondering if anybody has had any luck running wires "inside" the old sitka mast, main or mizzen? Last time I tried running a fish tape I ran into blocking at the spreaders, anybody else have any ideas? I was thinking of making a bit that would drill thru the blocking of the mizzen, needs to be about 15ft long if I remember correctly.

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Replies:

[> Mast Wiring -- Bruce, - Monday - 10/17/11 - 2:33pm

Hey Mark
What about using the existing wires to pull new ones through? I did that successfully on my old mast - it wasn't easy, but did manage to get them through. I had to enlarge the hole at the top (very carefully so as not to damage the existing wiring coming through)and replace the clam shell fitting with a larger one. Note that this only works if you are replacing existing wires, but NOT if you want to add additional wiring. Then several years after that I dis-masted in a storm and rebuilt the mast with a PVC wire conduit through the center of the blocking. Since I was able to inspect the old mast, I can tell you exactly how the old wires went through the blocking: There were two sets of wires running through (anchor light and steaming light), and each set were located at the perimeter of the blocking, just on the inside surface of the box section. The holes were just barely large enough for the wire - which explains why it was so difficult to pull the new ones through. I had to strip the plastic sheath off of the duplex wire so that when I taped the two ends together, the splice was no larger a diameter than the old wire itself (I also taped an amsteel telegraph line on the bundle, in case the splice broke) Hope this helps. FYI, my old mast also had a triplex wire for the anchor and tri-color lights surface mounted running up the mast adjacent to the sail track. Based on the mast construction, your idea of a 15 foot drill bit will not work. There is no way to get to the the spreader blocking unless you also drill completely through the mast base blocking, which is about 3 feet long. if you did manage to get through the base blocking, and reach the spreader blocking with a very long drill rod, you would likely damage the existing wiring trying to drill through the blocking. Feel free tho email me for additional questions.


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[> [> wiring -- Mark AEOLUS, - Tuesday - 10/18/11 - 1:48pm

Hey Bruce, thanks for the info nice to have a little insight as to the blocking. The drilling idea I'm considering would only be for the mizzen, no inside wires and short enough run it might work.
I too have a vhf wire running up the main next to the track, (wish it was inside), but there's no way to get it through the blocking. I wonder if most of us have an antenna wire externally mounted? Thanks again Mark


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[> [> [> Mast Wiring -- Bruce, - Tuesday - 10/18/11 - 3:16pm

My VHF antenna is installed on top of the mizzen, with the cable ran down the cap shroud. I also have a SSB antenna with isolators on the main backstay, and a Radar dome just above the mizzen spreaders, with the cable ran down the lower shroud. I have no external wires on the main mast, except where they exit out to connect to the associated light fixtures (spreader, steaming light, tricolor/anchor/strobe). I do intend to install an anemometer/wind direction transducer for my auto helm tiller pilot (the tiller pilot is connected to a Monitor wind vane), and so that wire will have to be mounted external, adjacent to the main sail track. It can be done neatly, so it doesn't look bad, and each wire clip fastener has to be sealed water tight with a small dab of caulk. I have come to terms with the fact that our masts have to have at least some wiring installed external. This is nothing new with any boat with wood masts. The trick is to install it neatly, so that in looks good.


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[> [> [> [> Mast Wires -- Mark AEOLUS M31, - Tuesday - 10/18/11 - 4:09pm

Thanks again Bruce for more info. Hows the reception from the mizzen as opposed to the main for the vhf.
I never thought about using the shrouds. If you look at my old pics in the owners section you can see a glimpse of my vhf wire up the main from the top, hull #62. Thanks Again Mark


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[> [> [> [> [> Good reception -- Bruce, - Tuesday - 10/18/11 - 8:43pm

The reception is good. I went up a size on the coax VHF cable. I'll take some pictures and email them.


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