Slashed Mast Wires

Ron Samuelson of South San Francisco, California, asks:

“When the crane crew at my yard began lifting my keel-stepped mast out of my boat, the man below- deck hastily took a pocketknife and cut all the wiring free. Now the mast is back in place, and I have about a dozen loose wires going nowhere. Can they be spliced back together, or must the mast be rewired?”

Gordon West replies:

Good thing he cut those wires! It would have been a lot worse if the mast wires had been ripped out of their circuits.

Hopefully you have enough slack in the wiring to reconnect everything. Your wind sensor wires should be color-coded, and you can reconnect them on a Jones block, using the proper crimping tool for each lug and wire. The same goes for all the mast lights. Your masthead VHF connection requires the expertise of an NMEA marine electronics specialist who can solder new PL-259s onto the coaxial cable wires and join the connectors with a UHF barrel adaptor. Self-vulcanizing tape must cover this splice, and flexible sealant should cover your other connections.

Make sure all your connections are clear of any standing water at the base of the mast, then give your systems a test. Your repair job should last for years and will give you the capability to undo the connections next time your mast gets pulled.

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