Quiet Connector

My wife, Gail, and I recently installed a new radar antenna on the keel-stepped mast of our Bristol 38.8. The first part of the installation was easy. We mounted the receiver and then, using a weighted string as a messenger, pulled the cables through a small hole in the mast near the unit all the way down to the bottom, The difficult part—figuring out a way to keep the cables from slapping
Author:
Updated:
Original:

My wife, Gail, and I recently installed a new radar antenna on the keel-stepped mast of our Bristol 38.8. The first part of the installation was easy. We mounted the receiver and then, using a weighted string as a messenger, pulled the cables through a small hole in the mast near the unit all the way down to the bottom, The difficult part—figuring out a way to keep the cables from slapping against the inside of the mast when the boat rocked—came next. It was also an essential part; mast slap could, Gail intimated, very well end our cruising life together.

HR1-081000-KHtech-boat

My first idea was to install a cluster of wire ties every foot or so along the cable, but it didn’t work. I should mention that the traditional solution is to take the mast out of the boat, then run the cables through PVC pipe and attach the PVC to the mast with rivets. This can be an expensive undertaking; the cost can easily exceed that of the new radar set. In fact, the estimates we received ran several thousand dollars.

I was aware of problems with this arrangement. One is that the tubes can come loose, making the problem much worse; it happened to at least two boats we’ve met in our travels. A second problem is that it’s a one-shot fix; in most cases you can’t install any additional cables without running more pipes. Many of our cruising friends had decided they would live with the noise, but that wouldn’t work for us. Finally I came up with a solution I think is robust, can accommodate additional cables, and, best of all, took me only half an hour to install. I might add that it looks pretty professional.

The parts I used were a #8 threaded stainless-steel rod about 20 inches long, a small stainless eye strap—any finished metal backing plate would work—about 2 inches in length, some washers and nuts, and two Nyloc cap nuts. I bent one end of the rod into the shape of a rounded U-bolt and made sure the final shape would fit in the holes in the eye strap. I then wrapped the threads of the bolt with electrical tape to prevent chafe.

I experimented with various U shapes until I got one that would hold the cables snugly against the inside of the mast. It’s important that the rod not grab the cables too tightly because they could be damaged when the locking nuts on the outside of the mast that secure the rod are tightened. As with a PVC installation, the cables can move a little without making noise. Depending on the mast section, it may be helpful to make a template of the mast section and use it to create a shape that will provide the proper clearance for the cables after the locking nuts have been tightened.

Shaping the stainless rod is pretty straightforward; I heated it to red hot with a small butane torch before I bent it. If you don’t, it will break. Next, using the external eye strap as the template, I drilled two small holes in the mast and then fished the U-bolt section of the rod into one of the holes. Heeling the boat slightly made it easier to hook the problem cable; I held onto the long end of the U-bolt while I maneuvered the short end of the U-bolt back out through the second hole in the mast.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 1.18.36 PM

Harken Changes Hands, Stays in the Family

. In a video posted yesterday, Peter Harken cheerfully announced that his company, Harken Inc., the trusted hardware brand bearing his last name, which was formerly owned by founders and their families has changed hands. The owners have sold their shares to employees—"passing ...read more

OceanRace

Newport Hosts The Ocean Race Summit on Ocean Health

Hundreds of participants from around the world tuned in yesterday for the latest installment of The Ocean Race's (formerly the Volvo Ocean Race) Summit Series, which aims to bring the best of ocean racing—leadership, resilience, tenacity, collaboration—to solving the ocean’s ...read more

sp360_fs5-024crop (1)

Highfield SPORT 360

The new 2021 SPORT 360 is the next generation of Highfield boats. Highfield is celebrating its 10th year in the market this year and in this relatively short period of time has now delivered over 30,000 boats to happy customers in 38 countries. Highfield is already the ...read more

sp560_drone-028crop

Highfield SPORT 560

The new 2021 SPORT 560 is the next generation of Highfield boats. Highfield is celebrating its 10th year in the market this year and in this relatively short period of time has now delivered over 30,000 boats to happy customers in 38 countries. Highfield is already the ...read more

Three Props 1772x1181

EWOL Propellers

Ewol propellers make maneuvering easier, increase sailing speed and increase cruising speed under power. EWOL adjustable pitch propellers are made of stainless steel alloys that represent the highest technology in terms of marine corrosion and galvanic corrosion resistance, ...read more

leadership-forum-LGBTQ-email-graphic

Tonight: US Sailing’s LGBTQ+ Panel

Tune in to the latest installment in US Sailing’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Series tonight at 7pm EDT. This week Kimball Livingston will moderate a panel of LGBTQ+ sailors who will share their personal and professional experiences as well as strategies for improving ...read more

200910

Find Your People (Virtually)

Social media offers a world of new opportunities for sailors. I regularly see folks meet their next delivery crew in the comments section of Facebook or decide on their next charter based on breathtaking photos posted by a stranger. It’s a great way to connect with other sailors ...read more