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311 or similar model mast insides? Pulling wires...

Discussion in 'Ask A Beneteau Owner' started by stevemitchell, Apr 20, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    Does anyone have pictures / know what the inside of a 2000 311 mast looks like?

    I need to have a new VHF cable pulled as the existing one is shot, plus my anchor light is tripping the breaker and I'm hoping it is not wiring, and I may want to replace the wind instrument with a wireless or N2K model. I also determined that the PO used a home depot extension cord with the ends chopped off to run to the deck/steaming light, which also stopped working since last season.

    From what I can tell, everything that is going up to the very top of the mast is inside a PVC pipe/conduit in one corner of the mast, but that is just from peering inside one of the holes near the boom where a halyard goes in.

    The wires going to the deck/steaming light are not inside that, and slap around constantly. That I may solve by using a smaller gauge wire and the trick of three zip ties with their ends on to stabilize things.

    What I am hoping is that we can use the existing VHF and wind instrument wires and pull new ones up through the conduit, but I am not sure if the wires are tied off at points, or?

    Any other guidance would be appreciated.
     


  2. Shalesail

    Shalesail

    Joined Oct 10, 2017
    6 posts, 5 likes
    Beneteau 37
    US West River, MD
    Steve -A couple yrs ago I replaced the masteahd ray marine wind sensor cable with an NMEA 2000 to the top of my Beneteau 311.

    I went up the mast and pulled it from the top, using the old cable to pull the new one, with a helper to feed it up from the deck. If I had to do it again, I’d say pay to have the mast Unstepped.

    It was an awful project , the wires kept separating and I would have use the next one (vhf cable, electric, etc...) I don’t think it would be possible to pull up to the steaming light, because of the turn the cable makes to exit out (a grommet) on the front of the mast.
     


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  3. JRacer

    JRacer

    Joined Aug 9, 2011
    807 posts, 252 likes
    Beneteau 310
    US Cheney KS (Wichita)
    On my 310, I replaced all the mast wiring and went with the larger RG213 VHF cable. I did it on saw horses on the ground. I would not even think about doing that job with the stick up.
     


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  4. Shalesail

    Shalesail

    Joined Oct 10, 2017
    6 posts, 5 likes
    Beneteau 37
    US West River, MD
    The biggest problem is that the holes at the bottom of the mast (where the wires enter) are so small and are misaligned with the interior pvc conduit).

    This means you need to first pull out the existing wire and then bundle it with the new wire and play both through together. (using the mouse line you installed when you pulled the wire out, of course) Otherwise the existing wire puts too much friction.

    This means to even consider it, you have to gamble with first disabling your boat by pulling out the existing wires... if it goes wrong your screwed.

    The other problem is that even if you bundle the two 12v wires and pull them together from the masthead, is that the deck light stops half way up. You would have to pull the bundle half way, then descend the mast and try to fish one of the two through the deck light grommet. (Not sure what tool would work, needle nose pliers too big, cable grabber not strong enough.)

    To install the NMEA 2k (and replace the 12v wire I broke) I probably spent 6-7 hrs at the top of the mast, took at least 5 trips up and down the mast. I’d never do that again.
     


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  5. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    Thanks for all the feedback folks.

    The DC wires for the anchor light is still in-tact. I'm not 100% sure why the anchor light is tripping its circuit, but I suspect a problem at the top of the mast (or I am hoping that is the case).

    The DC wires to the deck/steaming light are NOT inside the PVC - the PO just pulled a wire inside the mast that is slapping around. I don't know if there is abandoned wire inside the PVC for this that comes out mid-mast, but I wouldn't know unless I stepped it.

    The VHF wiring might not need to be pulled - I think the end at the masthead is one of those terrible crimp jobs, and just needs to be done properly. However, I was prepared to pull that again, as I have to have a 100% functional VHF radio and antenna. The reason I was going to pull new wire was that the end at the bottom of the mast looks less than optimal, but I think trying to salvage what is there might be a better idea than ripping and replacing.

    The wind instrument is a bit easier to replace. I could get one of the same model (old Raymarine ST60 series), or I could go with the Garmin gWind (https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/541669) which is wireless back to a display in the cockpit. My mast is only 40' tall - well within the 50' limit of their product. Many other sailors in my marina have this unit and seem to like it a lot.

    So I could start with having someone do a trip up to replace the VHF end, examine the anchor light, and add the Garmin if I go that way. If that doesn't improve it, everything is pointing to stepping the mast. No one I've talked to anywhere says they had a good experience with the conduit and holes or cables therein :)
     


  6. DougM

    DougM

    Joined Jul 24, 2005
    1,551 posts, 162 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Manistee, MI
    For what its worth, The inside of the mast on my 323 has 2 conduits. One side runs to the masthead, the other to the steaming light location. The bottoms of both conduits end a foot or so above the bottom of the mast. All of my cables exit through a grommeted hole in the side of the mast.
    The best way to pull in a new cable is to attach it to the existing cable and ease it through.
    For future needs, pull a messenger line along with at least one cable in the event you have to put in a new one .
     


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  7. Shalesail

    Shalesail

    Joined Oct 10, 2017
    6 posts, 5 likes
    Beneteau 37
    US West River, MD
    One more thing... if you do need to go up the mast, recommend using self ascenders (pretzel makes good ones).

    The coach top winches (Lewmar 16s) on the 311 are really too small to lift a person, and the main winches are not in the right geometry to raise a halyard without way too much friction.
     


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  8. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    Thanks Doug. I can't see very well into the inside of the mast, but I am hoping there is a conduit on the opposite side that goes to the deck/steaming light location. The cable that the PO put in (Home Depot extension cable!!) to that location is free and slaps around annoyingly.

    I would definitely be leaving some pull strings if I have to pull new cable.
     


  9. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    Does anyone have pictures of the top of their mast? 311, 323, etc. would work as long as it is the 2000 or so model year with the same spar.

    I am particularly interested in the space that is available up there. If I step the mast, I am thinking:
    • Pull new VHF cable
    • Replace VHF antenna (mounted on side of mast with bracket) with similar
    • Pull new NMEA 2000 cable
    • Install Maretron WSO or Airmar ultrasonic wind - this is where I will need to know if I can mount a bracket on the top of the mast to accommodate this.
    • Install new anchor light - likely Lunasea
    • Pull new DC wires to deck/steaming light
    • Install new dedicated steaming / deck lights (combo one I have now is not very good)
    Since I will be installing a new anchor light, and an ultrasonic wind instrument, I suspect I may be taking up more space than is available, and need to fab a bracket or something else. I would prefer to do that before I pull the mast down so I am ready with what I need and minimize yard time.
     


  10. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    Also, any feedback on how big the conduits are? I am trying to figure out whether there is room for a NMEA 2000 cable in the one going to the top of the mast, or if I should stick with something that has a thinner cable like a B&G 608 or LCJ Capteurs.
     


  11. Shalesail

    Shalesail

    Joined Oct 10, 2017
    6 posts, 5 likes
    Beneteau 37
    US West River, MD
    The conduit is about 3/4” - 1” ID (iirc). There should be plenty of room, the only problem might be if the original cables were twisted together (or tied into a bundle). (On my B&G wind sensor, The NMEA 2000 cable had a special narrow plug at the top, probably to make it easier to pull up the mast.)

    If If you unstep the mast, I’d pull out all the wires and pull all new ones.
     


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  12. DougM

    DougM

    Joined Jul 24, 2005
    1,551 posts, 162 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Manistee, MI
    Here is a masthead photo of my old 323 mast, after it blew down. The wind indicator was obviously trashed, and the vhf antenna which mounts on an angle bracket on the port side of the mast is gone in this photo C0573A0E-88DE-4708-B294-B89E989ED84D.jpeg
     


  13. DougM

    DougM

    Joined Jul 24, 2005
    1,551 posts, 162 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Manistee, MI
    5ACCE9C0-3572-4EF7-B7AA-B674029EECB0.jpeg
    This photo shows the two conduits that were inside the mast
     


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  14. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    Ouch @DougM those photos make me cry inside a little. Thanks for the details though!

    I've used a flashlight and looked inside the mast from the halyard holes (there has to be a better name for those, I'm sure) and I only see one conduit.

    I have the Charlston Spar mast, not sure if that makes a difference.

    I was able to get a couple of photos of the masthead using a tripod, some rope trickery, and my 360 degree camera:
    8FCC0A41-F1A2-4824-9890-833C318B28F2.jpg
    8FCC0A41-F1A2-4824-9890-833C318B28F2.jpg
     

    Attached Files:



  15. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    The other update is that I am dropping my mast on Tuesday of next week to get everything done all at once. I would like to ask for some guidance/info though:

    Anyone have measurements for the sheaves at the top of the mast? Someone in Europe posted some of their measurements which look like a generic Delrin 50mm. Not sure if they have the same spar though.

    Any other tips for stepping this particular mast? Looks pretty straightforwards with a pretty simple rig, deck stepped, deck bracket with an insert...
     


  16. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,564 posts, 1,263 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Now you are talking! Take down the mast and do it right. If your wiring conduit is like mine it was split and friction-fit to an extrusion inside the mast, that was redone by riveting he conduit to the mast; preventing movement of the conduit. Now would be a good time to have a rigger inspect your standing rigging. Replace any necessary running rigging and inspect the sheaves.
     


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  17. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    I think mine might be similar - from inspection with a flashlight into the interior I can see only one conduit, and it looks at most 3/4" or 1" in size. I don't see any rivets, I suspect it was just friction fit or some other method.

    One could say this is the fastest way because once it is down on sawhorses, you can work on it quickly. Others could say it is the slowest as you have to prep everything before it can come off, and why not just climb it and... I think we all know both methods are about the same - climbing it and mucking around with wires for 3 days is equal to the prep work of undoing all the running rigging prior to a mast removal.

    I am paying riggers to both remove and replace the mast and that includes them reviewing the standing rigging when its down.
     


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  18. stevemitchell

    stevemitchell

    Joined Jan 12, 2016
    140 posts, 6 likes
    Beneteau 311
    US Seattle, WA
    I totally forgot to post an update here on this project: https://sailbits.com/major-mast-work/

    I did have the mast taken down, and in an epic 2.5 day work schedule, completed everything I wanted to do and then some. Its been back up a month now, and on three trips, one for a week long where all aspects of the update/repair were used a ton.

    So happy with the new wind instrument - far more accurate than the one before. A proper VHF antenna has made a huge difference as well, and all working lighting makes for a much safer boat!
     


  19. JRacer

    JRacer

    Joined Aug 9, 2011
    807 posts, 252 likes
    Beneteau 310
    US Cheney KS (Wichita)
    Well done.
     


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