Mast Renewal

Kelly and I have spent most weekends since early March traveling to Fayaway, reviving her from lengthy hibernation. We’ve been staying at a local hotel more recently, and otherwise when overnight, with good friends willing to allow our company at their nearby waterfront home. They’re delightful hosts, letting us join as part of their family bubble for meals. We head “off to work on the boat” in the morning, and eventually return in the early evening for dinner, always with enjoyable conversations to follow.

The past five days were a mix of rain and sun here in New England, allowing comfortable conditions for both indoor and outdoor projects. Nicer weather allowed us to remove the shrink wrap (above photos), remove the old lifelines and start renewing the teak trim. Rain kept us doing indoor work such as installing new batteries, power wiring and fusing. We played with massive crimpers, ultra-sharp wire cutters and melty shrink-tube, mixed with a heavy dose of planning for our new Seafrost refrigeration install.

Kelly readies for installing new spreader lights.

Any new installation or upgrade takes at least as much time to plan beforehand. Internet research, review of various written materials and talking with suppliers eventually culminates to purchasing components and taking deliveries. Sometimes we can’t wait for the UPS guy and so find a chandlery near-enough to just go get the stuff. Time is money, and we’d rather be putting it into our proverbial “hole in the water” than the local Hampton Inn.

Some projects instill more anxiety, such as those never before attempted nor expected. As part of our rigging and mast refit, we replaced all electrical instruments and lighting, and associated wiring. Research dictates to use an ideal low-loss coax cable for the VHF radio antenna, which now is fatter than ever! Fatter wires mean taking up more space inside the mast conduit. Of course, that means no space remaining for heavy radar cables. We sailors know that unrestrained cables flopping inside the mast is quite annoying! So it’s essential to keep them contained.

So what to do if there’s no more space inside the existing conduit? Answer: install another conduit. Hmmmm, another first!Fortunately, others have figured this out long before, perhaps having tried various methods with varying success. We owe the real credit to a book called This Old Boat, by Don Casey, which has many practical answers.

We started by carefully measuring (at least three times) to locate the new CPVC conduit and fasteners. We found thin-wall irrigation conduit at a nearby Home Depot. Since recently also drilling a dozen holes for the radar bracket, adding more holes inspires visions of Swiss cheese, perhaps inappropriate for such an important part of a sailboat! Regardless, we drilled and drilled – two more holes for each aluminum pop rivet. 24 additional Swiss-cheese holes in all!

Inside the mast: new conduit to left.

Kelly held the pipe in place with a coat hanger through the upper hole, while I drilled the second hole, and then added a pop rivet to hold the conduit into position at approximately two-foot intervals. I countersunk the rivet holes to make the heads more flush. I went back and filled the coat-hanger holes with more rivets.

Kelly with her sophisticated conduit location device.

Now that conduit is secured, we were able to easily snake the new power and data cables for a new radar dome. See me here tightening the fancy new radar bracket.

Next up is finalizing the rigging wire. As of this writing, we have only left to mount the furlers and foils onto new wire stays, and install the pretty new running rigging. Two weeks before launch! Yikes… we still have so much to do! Next post: Fayaway’s state-of-the-art 400Ah LiFePo battery, charging and monitoring system.


Kelly and I are fully vaccinated now. And you should be too, so we may all continue to have adventures together!

2 thoughts on “Mast Renewal

  1. Ellen

    I have enjoyed every bit of your posts. My husband Kevin Berube and I are members of the AYC and have had a few chats with you last summer. We are intrigued by all of your plans and places. I am new to sailing and grew up on power boats. My husband grew up sailing around the area.

    I read all your technical detail and chuckle at your comments along the way. I hope to learn something from all of it, but the reading has carried me through the winter!!

    Best to you both. I am excited to see her all complete!!
    Ellen Berube

    Liked by 1 person

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