The mast...

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Joined: 2/22/22
Posts: 8
The mast...

So a couple questions about my mast for those with more experience than I:

- The previous owner did not install a wind vane transducer on the mast head, and I'm looking to do one (Raymarine, for those who care).  Which means I have to run a wire all the way down.  I have a non-furling mast; are there any things I should be aware of, or should I just drop a weighted string from the top?  Also, there's only one hole at the bottom; my mast lighting and radar cables come out there, but there's no real room left in the ~1 inch hole for additional cables, or reaching in to fetch things.  There appears to be a pull string left by the previous owner, but I have no idea where that goes.  So...any suggestions on how to feed a new cable down, or gotchas that I should be aware of?  Also, is there a decently good non-mast mounting location for a wind vane?

- The remnants of storm Ian just blew through, and while inspecting yon boat, I noticed a water splatter puddle on the floorboards around the mast.  I bought the boat in Janurary, but never noticed this before (or any evidence of it).  There appears to be a bit of condensation around any metal parts or on the insides of the hatches, but I don't think that it would have contributed to that much.  A picture of the mast-deck joint area (from inside) shows a damp shim.  This suggests to me that some of the silicone sealant around the mast boot has failed.  The hatch next to the mast also shows some mildew as well, but that may be just from condensation (not sure).  Any thoughts on an obvious cause?  The mast boot itself appears to still be in decent condition (no visible cracks), so I am loathe to take the mast down just for this (don't want to spend that amount of money quite yet...).  Also, are there any mast boots that can be put on without taking the mast down (wraps around)?  Just curious.

Here's a picture of the damp shim (starboard side, picture taken looking up in the cabin)


Stars Align
C36mkII, #2038 (Std rig wing keel)

True Wind
Joined: 7/15/12
Posts: 139

Catalina installed a plastic conduit for running wires up the mast that starts about a foot from the bottom of the mast, has an small opening in the conduit where the steaming/deck light fixture is located and continues on up the mast and ends about a foot from the mast shroud cap. I would recommend that the wires be put inside the conduit if possible.   If you have a radar cable that is inside the conduit along with the other wiring, inserting another cable inside the conduit may be a challenge. May be doable with lots of wire pulling gel lubricant. Just my two cents worth of opinions.

2003 Catalina 36

Joined: 2/7/16
Posts: 33

I replaced my mast boot with this one: I think it was the 23-37" one. You have to cut it down to a slightly larger size than you would if the mast was down. Then you cut up the side, wrap around the mast with a bit of overlap and glue together. The boot came with instructions and some glue for the overlapping portion.

Eric Howell
Take Five
Seattle, WA
1989 MKI Tall Rig #1013
C36/375 IA Webmaster

Joined: 9/17/16
Posts: 39

I used a 100 foot fish tape from Harbor freight and PUSHED it UP from the bottom of the mast. I have two holes at the base of the mast exiting into cabin. I used an endoscope camera (Amazon) peeking through one hole to help guide the fish tape into the conduit. Shoved it up 54? feet or so until it hit the top of the mast plate. I premarked the fish tape so I would know when I hit the top of mast instead of the spreaders, etc. Not sure the exact height. Then I drilled a hole on top of mast maybe 1/2" and I believe used another existing hole for endscope and hooked the end of the fish tape and pulled it up and out. Then attached a pull string and pulled it through, then attached new wind vane cable (Raymarine) and pulled it down. I did need my Dad to help pull the cable down as I feed it from a bag into the top of the mast. I installed 4 mast steps and used a harness and a short rope to tie into very top of the mast so I could lean back and use both hands. A bosun's chair won't get you to the tippy top. Here are some inside photos of the mast.
This is what the BOTTOM of the conduit looks like inside the mast. The light in the distance is where the halyard exits.

This is the backside of the steaming light mid mast.

TOP of conduit about a foot down from masthead.

Fish tape sticking out of conduit with a bright colored string loop to hook onto to.


Tad Davis
Simpler Times
1989 C-36 MK I #1004
Redondo Beach, Calif.

Pgutierrez's picture
Joined: 5/14/12
Posts: 224

I bought a roll of 2" wide black gorilla tape, about USD $8-$10, cut 8" long strips that were placed vertically over lapping about 1/2 - 3/4 ".  Then applied vertical strips, starting / ending at the back of the mast (yes, there were some creases due to lip of the mast entry point into the top of cabin).  Then started 1/2" over lapping layers until the top layer was about 1/2" over the top of the vertical tapes.  Where the mast track meets the tape, I filled in the gap with a shot of silicone type putty.  Cheap and effective-will probably last 3 years.  Unfortunately my marina has ten inches of snow, so can't send you pictures.

peter g

2000 C36, MK2, Hull. #1897
wonderful, wonderful, wonderful ! ! !.   5 th Catalina



Joined: 8/11/17
Posts: 74

I purchased the 33' fiberglass fish from Harbor freight (two of them for 66 total feet). These are 3' sections that attach as needed. From the top of the mast, drill the mounting holes. Feed the fish sections down the mast, the first section you feel around until you find the conduit entrance. Continue to add sections and feed until you are at the bottom. Have someone attach a string to the fish from below and pull out the fish one section at a time. Lastly, pull the necessary wires up with the string.

if you are used to mast climbing, it's fairly easy. It was my first trip ever up a mast and took longer than needed. We now go up at least 2x a season,  becomes easy. 

On second thought, I think I fed the fish and string down - easier for the person at the bottom to hook the string - took the fish out while they attached the wires to the string. 

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