GOR­DON WEST REPLIES

SAIL - - Boat Works Ask Sail -

First, with this kind of job, be sure to num­ber each and ev­ery wire com­ing down from the mast­head. Do the same on the wires they presently con­nect to, so you don’t ac­ci­den­tally re­con­nect them in­cor­rectly. NMEA 1.6.1 ad­vises that slide on/butt splices are not rec­om­mended in salt air. Go in­stead with a com­mon ter­mi­nal block and stain­less steel screws. Use blade slide-on lugs, prop­erly sized, for an eas­ier way to con­nect and re­move the con­nec­tions when pulling the mast. If you first crimp each shiny wire and then sol­der the crimp con­nec­tion, you are as­sured of a pos­i­tive lug con­tact. Don’t crimp any wire that is green with cor­ro­sion. In fact, such a wire may need to be to­tally re­placed, as the cap­il­lary flow of salt­wa­ter can con­tam­i­nate its en­tire length. Use the old wire to pull a new one through. Be aware that the VHF mast­head an­tenna may have a bar­rel con­nec­tor. As long as the con­nec­tor is not sit­ting in wa­ter pooled at the base of the mast, you can eas­ily un-screw this con­nec­tion and then reat­tach it af­ter step­ping the mast.

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