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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
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I next coated all the stainless hardware with 3M’s 4200 polyurethane sealant to prevent corrosion between the aluminum and stainless. Then I put the eye strap over the two ends of the U-bolt and used the washers and nuts to draw the strap up nice and tight. Finally, I cut off the excess rod with a hacksaw, leaving about 1/4 inch on the ends of each bolt so I could put on the two Nyloc cap nuts.

The result looks great, and the cables inside the mast are so snug I’m sure they will never slap again. We needed to use just one strap and U-bolt for our installation—we located it about halfway up our 25-foot cable run—placing a strap about every 12 feet would probably work well for a longer installation. Not long after we installed our U-bolt gripper, another cruiser rowed over to look at our work. He told us his PVC pipe system came loose the very first day he hit some rough weather. We still had a spare stainless rod onboard and were delighted to give it to him. He returned to his boat a very happy camper.

Bob and Gail Phillips are both retired engineers who have been living aboard Star, their Bristol 38.8, for three years. They have cruised the East Coast from Maine to Florida from their home port in Annapolis, Maryland, and spend their winters in the Bahamas.

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