Thru-deck mast wiring

I had noted during Freya‘s pre-purchase survey that the mast wire connections were not sealed or protected and that some wires were disconnected altogether. Looking closer, it seems a previous owner took down the mast at some point and cut all wires, reattaching them later on with simple blade connectors above deck. Another (or the same) owner also ran a new VHF cable up the mast and had to drill a new hole through the deck. In both cases, the wiring holes were “sealed” with a simple injection of silicone… This had to be redone properly.

In the pictures below you can see the original state of the wiring, followed by the new waterproof thru-deck connectors I installed. This took more work than I anticipated, mostly because the two original holes had been drilled too close to each other to accomodate the width of the connectors (perhaps the reason why silicone was used instead). I had to plug the aft hole with epoxy, wait for it to cure properly, and then re-drill another hole farther aft. Injecting the epoxy was a challenge: the hole goes through the deck, then through a steel mast step with a large cavity underneath, then through another layer of fiberglass above the cabin. All of this is then covered by the cabin liner. Creating support for the epoxy plug from below was basically impossible. Instead, I was able to create a base for the plug from above by pressing and molding a small piece of butyl tape inside the hole.

I used a 4-pin electrical connector from West Marine to properly wire the mast lights. The connector can be easily unscrewed if I ever need to take the mast down. For the VHF I used a pass-through connector with a rubber sealing gland. To splice the wire properly I used a connector from Shakespeare that does not require stripping insulation or measuring – a bit expensive but very easy to use. It can also be easily disconnected if needed.

Since I was dealing with wiring, I also took the opportunity to simplify the old tangled mess of wires leading to the stereo unit. And since that meant disconnecting the old stereo, I figured I might as well replace it with a new WM4000 Bluetooth media player. It streams music directly from my phone or any other digital source, a really nice feature. I can even take hands-free calls from the cabin!