Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: ChrisW on April 16, 2019, 03:55:09 PM

Title: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on April 16, 2019, 03:55:09 PM
I have my mast in the yard and want to do some work at the mast cap.  As you can see from the picture there is a really bad and strange hole in it.  The wire cable going through it is a coax to the VHF antenna.  It is almost completely severed.  I installed an anchor light there on a bracket that you cannot see.  The PO had no anchor light.  I bought new coax for the antenna and new cable for the anchor light that I want to run through the existing PVC conduit. 

I have a few questions:

1.  How  would you recommend I cover up or fill in that ugly hole?  I thought about finding some aluminum to either weld or fifty-two-hundred over it.  But I don't know how to weld and I don't know where I'd find a thick piece of aluminum the right size.

2. Should I use that better looking hole to run both the coax and cable for the light, and install a grommet in it?  And if I do that should I put any kind of sealant around the wires?  Or should each cable have its own hole?

3.  Would it be better to drill a new hole(s) for the two cables that is actually on the side of the mast that the conduit is on?  What exists now is a hole through in inside of the mast cap allowing the wires to go from the starboard side to the port side of the mast (the exit holes are on the port side).  I have no idea why they didn't just drill the hole through the starboard where the conduit is attached.

Thanks
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: kh3412 on April 16, 2019, 04:54:01 PM
Perhaps you could drill a hole that removes the problem area and install a rubber plug. Then grommet the hole for the wires and seal. We use big rubber plugs on old police cars when taking all the lights and antennas off.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: Gregory M on April 16, 2019, 08:46:02 PM
Or you could use something like this https://ca.binnacle.com/Electrical-Cable-&-Deck-Connectors/c58_198/p10126/Glomex-RA140-Cable-Feed-Thru-White-Nylon/product_info.html
or this https://ca.binnacle.com/Electrical-Cable-&-Deck-Connectors/c58_198/p1381/Blue-Sea-1002-Waterproof-Cable-Clam-.825-in./product_info.html
I used that type on all cables coming out of mast side, different sizes  for different cables. Easy to attach.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: KWKloeber on April 17, 2019, 06:11:45 AM
Chris a couple thoughts come to my mind.

I ran both mine thru the side, less likely to get water intrusion.

Though not my preference, keeping them thru the top would probably be the easiest for you, using 1 or 2 pass throughs.

If you do cover the top it doesnít need to be really heavy aluminum, you just want to put window dressing over whatís there.  You can get many oddball materials thru McMaster Carr. Probably heavy gauge alum.

You might be able to get a LARGE.Ēwell nutĒ to plug the ugly hole if you redrill it.

Alternatively a rubber cork, drill a hole thru it for a stainless screw to tighten it once inserted (sorta like a plastic wall anchor) experiment with the size screw. A plug w/a shoulder like a well nut would be best but unsure if you can find that at McMasterCarr.com

Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: scgunner on April 17, 2019, 08:16:22 AM
    Chris,

      That black hole with the three screw holes is probably where the original anchor light was, looks like PO broke a couple of screws trying to remove the anchor light. The other butchered hole looks like it was done by a guy sitting in a boatswains chair with a drill who just kept drilling holes until the opening was large enough for whatever needed to be passed through it. I wouldn't be overly concerned about the cosmetics, the only way anyone can see it is to take a trip up the mast in a boatswains chair. I'd just run or install whatever you need, then seal any holes that remain, it doesn't have to be an exotic sealer, Henry's roof patch would work fine.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: sailr4 on April 18, 2019, 02:48:04 PM
Just redid mine.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on April 24, 2019, 06:37:26 PM
Perhaps you could drill a hole that removes the problem area and install a rubber plug. Then grommet the hole for the wires and seal. We use big rubber plugs on old police cars when taking all the lights and antennas off.

How would one drill a hole that removes the problem area?  I assume you mean to enlargen the ugly hole to make it round so a plug can fit.  I'd be afraid to do that and am not sure how.   It seems like it would have to be a pretty big hole, and there isn't a whole lot of room there. 

BTW, my use of the word "ugly" was to distinguish between the two holes in the picture, not that I am worried about the aesthetics of it.  The only thing I am worried about is water intrusion.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on April 24, 2019, 06:49:00 PM
Also I found that it's not easy to find the right rubber grommet that will fit the thickness of the mast cap.  I found some retailers online that can supply them in the exact specifications but they deal in large quantities.  You can't just go down to your local hardware store and pick one up, apparently.  At least that's what I've found.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on April 24, 2019, 07:07:56 PM
Or you could use something like this https://ca.binnacle.com/Electrical-Cable-&-Deck-Connectors/c58_198/p10126/Glomex-RA140-Cable-Feed-Thru-White-Nylon/product_info.html
or this https://ca.binnacle.com/Electrical-Cable-&-Deck-Connectors/c58_198/p1381/Blue-Sea-1002-Waterproof-Cable-Clam-.825-in./product_info.html
I used that type on all cables coming out of mast side, different sizes  for different cables. Easy to attach.

I ordered the first item you mentioned. But now I am wondering how well it will hold up in the sun being that it is made of nylon.  Was it the second one you mentioned that you used?  If I were to use one of those, is there any danger of the cables chafing if the underlying hole in the aluminum is left bare?
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: dfloeter on April 25, 2019, 02:43:38 AM
Maybe try the Blue Sea version with a stainless cap to cover the nylon?  As to the ragged hole, I would try to drill it out with a larger bit and file/dremel the edges.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: kh3412 on April 26, 2019, 03:41:09 PM
To drill a bigger hole you need to backup the area with something solid to use a a guide for the hole saw. Check youtube for ideas. From the picture not sure how big the hole would need to be, but we get plugs upto at least an inch. You would need to remove the cap from the mast to have access to the other side.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: Stu Jackson on April 26, 2019, 03:48:05 PM
Have you considered just covering it?  A small piece of aluminum plate, drill holes in four corners for bolts, drill & tap the four holes, seal it with Bed-It-with-Butyl tape.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on April 26, 2019, 04:27:34 PM
Have you considered just covering it?  A small piece of aluminum plate, drill holes in four corners for bolts, drill & tap the four holes, seal it with Bed-It-with-Butyl tape.

That's what I was originally thinking. KWKloeber suggested a site where I could maybe find a piece of aluminum. Otherwise I don't know where to get a piece of aluminum plate.  I should have done that.  If I try to enlargen the hole to put a rubber stopper the hole would have to be at least 1 1/4 inch in diameter.  I don't want to do that.

 I'm thinking now of just putting some plastic over it and getting it done with so I can go sailing.

Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: Stu Jackson on April 26, 2019, 06:27:16 PM
Chris, I don't know where you live, I usually include it in my signature on this and other boating forums.

I found scrap aluminum at an iron works place in a town near me.  I do, however, live out in the country, where we still have Kubota tractor dealers and service places right out in plain sight!  Can you imagine!?!  :D:D

You might consider asking at an auto repair place, or ask them where they get their stuff.  Could be something close by you that you just hadn't considered.

Good luck, happy hunting.

Don't forget Maine Sail's butyl tape, it'll last forever.
Title: Working on mast cap / drilling out odd shaped hole
Post by: KWKloeber on April 27, 2019, 07:53:31 AM
Drilling out a very ugly hole seems like a head-scratcher, but it's actually straight forward.  However, like the ugly hole for the VHF cable, you can't use a normal twist drill. 

If it's small enough draw a circle using a hole template, bottle cap, whatever works -- and round out w/ a Dremel but.  Finish up with a twist drill if you need it perfectly round (dremel it slightly undersized).

If it's large, you need a template to guide a hole saw, instead of a pilot bit to guide it.  For aluminum, a cheap steel hole works.  Bore a hole thru 3/4" pine or any wood -- doesn't much matter.

"Affix" the template over the odd hole -- clamp it, drill and screw it, even make it a long "bar" that someone else can hold in place.  Or double-stick tape and hold it.  Or gorilla tape it in place.  Or make a "hat" for over the top from three pieces screwed together held it in place with a binding strap around the mast.  Whatever works to hold the template temporarily.

Remove or retract the pilot bit in the hole saw and drill thru the template.  Depending on the material use very light pressure/med speed, or medium pressure and very slow speed -- just avoid "chatter" on the material.
The goal is just to get a groove started -- then remove the template and finish thru-drilling.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: KWKloeber on April 27, 2019, 08:30:00 AM
ChrisW

mcmastrcarr.com does have alum sheet in all thicknesses and widths x 6", 12" long.  Dunno if you were thinking of covering the "hole" or "whole."

The construction of your masthead is way different than mine -- can you get at the underside to slap a piece of Gorilla or T-Rex tape under the "hole" (not the "whole")?  I so, you could fill it with ALUMBOND, or ALUMFAST or ANDAX QUIKALUMINU, or LOCTITE EPOXY WELD, or any such, even just epoxy resin thickened w/ microfibers.  Sand flush.  Hit bare spots with a medium then light sand and IMMEDIATELY (avoid any oxidation) prime them w/ self-etching primer (like Rustoleum alum primer.)   Finish w/ a hard exterior enamel, like Rustoleum gloss white.

If all you want is to sail, slap on a pc of alum flashing/gutter repair tape and splash.

Otherwise, the Gomex deck pass-through is warranted for life so I'd guess that they already have the UV thing figured out.

If you want to drill out the ugly mess, see other message.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on April 28, 2019, 04:40:49 PM
ChrisW

mcmastrcarr.com does have alum sheet in all thicknesses and widths x 6", 12" long.  Dunno if you were thinking of covering the "hole" or "whole."

The construction of your masthead is way different than mine -- can you get at the underside to slap a piece of Gorilla or T-Rex tape under the "hole" (not the "whole")?  I so, you could fill it with ALUMBOND, or ALUMFAST or ANDAX QUIKALUMINU, or LOCTITE EPOXY WELD, or any such, even just epoxy resin thickened w/ microfibers.  Sand flush.  Hit bare spots with a medium then light sand and IMMEDIATELY (avoid any oxidation) prime them w/ self-etching primer (like Rustoleum alum primer.)   Finish w/ a hard exterior enamel, like Rustoleum gloss white.

If all you want is to sail, slap on a pc of alum flashing/gutter repair tape and splash.

Otherwise, the Gomex deck pass-through is warranted for life so I'd guess that they already have the UV thing figured out.

If you want to drill out the ugly mess, see other message.

Good luck!

Thanks for help.  I didn't know what a dremel tool was; I had to look it up.

I decided to go with the Blue Sea cable clam instead.  It looks just like the picture sailr4 posted.  I think it's a better product (even though the internal nuts came apart and I am having to epoxy them back in).

I think the solution of drilling the misshapen hole out like you said would work well if there was more room to work with.  If one of those products you listed like Alumbond or Alumfast that I can pick up at a local store will work, I would rather use that.  I did do some asking around for scrap aluminum but didn't have any luck.

I am thinking I want to take my mast down next year to paint it, so I wouldn't mind some temporary fix for now. I really want to go sailing,
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: britinusa on April 29, 2019, 05:15:24 AM
Perhaps you could drill a hole that removes the problem area and install a rubber plug. Then grommet the hole for the wires and seal. We use big rubber plugs on old police cars when taking all the lights and antennas off.

How would one drill a hole that removes the problem area?  I assume you mean to enlargen the ugly hole to make it round so a plug can fit.  I'd be afraid to do that and am not sure how.   It seems like it would have to be a pretty big hole, and there isn't a whole lot of room there. 

BTW, my use of the word "ugly" was to distinguish between the two holes in the picture, not that I am worried about the aesthetics of it.  The only thing I am worried about is water intrusion.

I favor wires in the side of the mast with rain shields to prevent ingress.

If you wanted to drill out the ugly holes into one you could use one of these.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: KWKloeber on April 29, 2019, 10:47:46 AM
Paul

I fully agree on the side entry, thatís how all mine are run, as well as spreader lights w/ drip loops.

I donít know if you ever tried one of those HF bits on a jagged hole but Iíve found if itís real ugly or the new location is off center (as it would need to be w/ the current hole being right next to the extrusion) the only way to keep them in the right location is clamping the piece onto a drill press.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on May 05, 2019, 12:41:13 PM
I ended up finding a piece of aluminum and bolted it on over the holes along with some silicone sealant.

Thanks everybody for the help.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on May 05, 2019, 04:26:56 PM
By the way, the anchor light I bought is apparently ####.  I installed the goddam
thing several times and it will not stay lit but only intermittently. 

It's a Davis LED all around light.  I thought it was my fault for not making a good connection. I installed with a butt connection several times over and over again, then tried soldering it. No luck.  I took it off and powered it directly and the same goddamn thing happened: intermittent shining. It's a piece of ####.

I have another one of a different brand in the mail. Hopefully I'll have better luck.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: britinusa on May 05, 2019, 05:21:35 PM
Consider checking the voltage at the lamp.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: ChrisW on May 06, 2019, 04:39:57 PM
Consider checking the voltage at the lamp.

Well, I did check the voltage and it was fine. The remote power supply I had was over 15V.  But I hooked it up to my regular battery too back at the dock (sans 50 ft cable) and I got the same result.

I did not, however check voltages internal to the lamp. I wouldn't know how to do that.  Anyways it's on its way to a landfill by now.

Sorry for the cursing, by the way.  This project has been a royal pain in the ass.
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: Noah on May 06, 2019, 06:06:07 PM
You could always hoist one of these up the mast on a halyard. :shock: 8)
Title: Re: Working on mast cap
Post by: KWKloeber on May 07, 2019, 04:11:42 PM
On the subject of lights, make sure new lights you install are sailboat rated, the powerboat-rated ones don't provide the correct coverage.

https://www.practical-sailor.com/blog/Coast-Guard-Nav-Light-Safety-Alert-12583-1.html