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Question about running mast head light wires.

Aug 22, 2017
1,608
Hunter 26.5 West Palm Beach
I have a Hunter 26.5 that came from the factory without a mast head light. I would like to add one. I have not had the mast off the boat yet. Based on a picture from another H26.5 that I saw, I expect that the mast is hollow, with no channel dedicated for running wires inside of. This leaves me to wonder how wires should be secured so that they don't bang around inside the mast, causing an unpleasant noise for my boat neighbors. I am also wondering how I can keep the wires from getting caught up in the halyards that run inside the mast. I am generally competent to run wires & correctly terminate then, but I have not done a whole lot inside of masts before. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Jim
 
Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Hello JiminPB,
Wire slap inside the mast can be music to one's ears, or not. It isn't as loud as halyard slap, but does cause a noticeable noise as well as the potential for wire wear. I'm sure you know all that. There are inserts that can be added around the wires as you pull them into the mast. (I've seen them, but do not know what they are actually called or where to buy them.) You might be able to make discs from foam board insulation. Those would also need to be applied and shaped to allow the internal halyards to move up and down freely. We have used heavy zip ties around the wires at many heights within the mast. If I remember correctly we put three ties at each location as we pulled the wires inside the mast. The more locations the merrier, and leave the zip ties long to reach the inside of the mast and curl over a bit. Part of the planning process is to account for the anchor light that is higher than the steaming light. Some wires go to the mast top, some do not. Alternatively, maybe you should investigate putting a tube into the mast to house the wires?? Securing the tube with foam shapes would again be necessary. Sounds like a challenge....I hope others have better ideas!
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,087
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Hi Jim. We sailors are an inventive lot. We find a hole and we stuff it.

Early on boats used solid masts. All lines ran down the outside. Then we discovered aluminum extrusion and found we could make a mast with a hole inside. So we put sheaves at the top and ran our halyards down inside the mast. Pretty cool. Them with the advent of electricity we needed light for the foredeck and to show others where we are, we ran wires up the inside of the mast. To stop the wires from banging about inside we put thin walled pvc pipe in the mast and ran the wires inside the pvc so they did not get tangled with the halyards. To stop the pvc pipe from banging about and causing a ruckus we attached the pipe to the inside of the mast with a magical “rivet”.

The pipe is held against the inside of the mast. A small hole is is drilled from the outside through the mast and through the pipe. A rivet is pushed through the hole and used to secure the pipe to the inside of the mast. Repeat several times along the mast. A hole is drilled in the mast near where a light will be attached. Two electrical wires (one positive and one oh so negative) are pushed up the tube to the hole for the light. As the wires near the hole you reach in and snag the wires pulling them out from the “conduit “ neatly inside the mast.

Attaching the light outside the mast and aiming it out in front of the bow we sailors called it a “Steaming Light” so as not to confuse it with a headlight on a car or a light that might be in the “head” so we don’t make a mess in the dark. We turn it on when we are powering or Steaming about with a motor running.

And that is the story of how a sailor brought silent (no banging wires) light to the night, Jim.
 
May 20, 2016
2,992
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
The easy way is to get a bunch of 10-12” zip ties. About every 18” zip 3 ties so the tails are 120 degrees from each other. The zip ties will center the wire and prevent noise while still allowing internal halyards if fitted.

Les
 
Aug 22, 2017
1,608
Hunter 26.5 West Palm Beach
Thank you gentlemen, for the varied perspectives that you have supplied. I seem to have a few things to think about.