O’Day 40 Mast conundrum

Aug 7, 2015
Oday 34 previous, O’Day 40 current Annapolis
New boat, new issues. My mast has an all around (parking light) but no steaming or fore deck light although there are named switches for these on the electrical panel and I Also want to add a halyard for a cruising chute. Ok, no problem, claimed the mast to spreader height drilled holes for mounting the steaming foredeck/steaming light and what I thought would be the power cable; climbed down & then drilled a large hole at the base of the mast. Then I noticed there are two plastic cable ways maybe 1” dia. on the left and right sides of the mast along the leading edge.

So, now I’ve got a cable hole centered dead nuts in the middle of the mast that won’t contain my cable. While I was debating whether I could live with the noise this will bring, I decided to go ahead and see if I could drop a snake from atop my perch down to the base of the mast. I tried a flat metal snake, I tried a wire snake & still no joy; could not get the sucker headed either up or down no matter which direction I attacked it from.

So last night in desperation I ordered a borescope assuming I could use it to see what /where the obstruction is. As I often drop small parts where I can’t get them, I figured this tool may have other uses over time.

Any insight, please reply, otherwise I’ll let you know it goes.
Jan 7, 2011
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
For the halyard, could you try tying a messenger line on another halyard, pull it through, and then pull two halyards (or the halyard and a messenger line) back up? The you can use the messenger to pull your new halyard up.

I have also read that using a piece of a bicycle chain or a stack of small nuts on a messenger line may fall down through the mast obstructions.

Hope you can get it figured out!

Aug 17, 2010
Oday 35 Barrington
On the 35's Isomat Mast there are two plastic wire conduits that run up from the bottom of the mast. If I recall correctly, they start about a foot from the bottom. One of these runs to the top of the mast for the all-around-white (anchor) light, and the other runs to where the spreader/foredeck light should be. It is quick and easy to chase wires through these conduits IF you pull the mast.

I pulled my mast last year because my foredeck light was not working. The marina where I keep my boat charged me over $1400 for dropping, storing, and then raising the mast in the spring and storing the roller furler in their shed. I did all of the rigging work. While the mast was down I replaced the anchor light (LED!), mast boots, all the wiring and the standing rigging, because it may have been original, to help me justify the marina's fee. I replaced the steaming /foredeck light with an LED fixture several years ago. The cost of all new standing rigging was less than the marina charged to drop, store and raise the mast.
Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Lou. Frustrating when you jump into install a desired upgrade and discover new things about the boat parts your trying to fix.

Those plastic conduits you found are kind of a standard design for many boats. As @eherlihy wisely points out.

There purpose is to hold wires so the wires do not bang about inside the mast. From the outside of the mast you should see a rivet spaced about every 2-3 ft holding the conduit in place.

Depending on your mast step ( on deck or on the keel) the wires get into the boat through the mast base.

Halyards are generally run through the mast and out at the top over a designated sheave. The spinnaker halyard is run through a block hung from a “spinnaker crane” off the front of the mast. There are many designs. Google it and you will get a variety of designs one of which may fit your needs.

Down near the deck you will want to get the spinnaker out of the mast. The usual method is to use an “exit box” attached to the mast. It provides a smooth surface for the halyard to come thru the mast and not chafe.
A simple straight box

Or an exit plate with a turning sheave.
Good luck with your projects.
Mar 24, 2012
O'Day 40 BC Coast
My 40 has the typical spinnaker halyard setup. Totally external. The spinnaker needs to be clear of the jib.
resized DSCF0491.JPG
Aug 7, 2015
Oday 34 previous, O’Day 40 current Annapolis
The borescope is a welcome addition & I’ve already used it to fish out a runaway washer from under the engine. From what I can tell, it appears that my two plastic conduits are a snap in type as there are no external rivets. Will attempt this week to open up the conduit from the 1/2” dia hole I originally drilled for the steaming light cable, it won’t be pretty even if I can get at it. There’s a good chance that 1/2” hole may become a 3/4”.
Mar 24, 2012
O'Day 40 BC Coast
The conduits are in tracks and can be pulled out from the bottom. Unfortunately only with the mast removed.
The shorter one ends where a steaming/deck light should go.