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Old 01-06-2010, 10:08   #1
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Water Down the Mast ?

Ahoy, I am plagued by water coming down my keel stepped mast on my Australian built grp sloop, an Adams 31'. It empties into a shallow bilge cavity without any bilge pump and can build up rapidly in the tropical downpours in Sumatra. Is there any way to limit the water getting into the mast, where does it mainly come in?
Water also comes down the wires from the nav lights at the mast top, they run inside the cavity behind the sail track, which is pop rivetted on. I have seen descriptions of dams placed inside the masts and drain holes.
The mast to deck boot is not leaking at all.
Thanks for any advice, from Keith.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:15   #2
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there are holes in the mast that let some water in. could be at the mast head or as you said wire entry points. seems like you could caulk them if you knew where they were. my keel stepped mast has a weep hole into the bilge.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:37   #3
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Thanks gonesail, my yacht has an encapsulated lead keel and very shallow bilges, the one the rain water goes into has to be sponged out! I have sealed up most of the holes but a surprising volume of water still finds it's way down the mast.
cheers from Keith.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:09   #4
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I read last evening in heavy weather sailing recommmendations. Here's what I would do:

1) Create a hole at bottom of mast at deck level for a drain.

2) Pump foam into mast at this level which will make a seal through deck level into hull. Think you may have to remove mast and do it on horses.

3) There are probably some other things you need to do to put something around wires leading into hull - radar, VHF etc., and I don't quite know a way to remove the foam if you needed to add another wire.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:24   #5
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for what it's worth...if you decide to seal mast at deck with weep hole as indicated in
above post...you might consider embedding a fairway in the form of a piece of PVC
with a cap on top for any future installs. Also a placing a wick in the shallow bilge
moving water up and then down may help if other remedies are not 100 % effective.
Good luck, Hugo
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Old 01-06-2010, 13:12   #6
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There's not much you can do to keep water from getting through the entry and exits in a mast. I would not recommend drilling a hole or filling the mast with foam. The foam could hold salt water and corrosion could be severe. Drilling a hole where the mast bisects the partners is a bad idea since it could point load.

I would consider some small reservoir in the bilge even if it requires cutting into the sealed keel.
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Old 01-06-2010, 14:27   #7
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G'Day Surfer,

I expect that you have internal halyards (most of Jor Adams' boats do), and the first point of entry would be at the masthead sheaves, and there is little one can do to limit leakage there. Further down the mast, if your shrouds are attached with "T-balls", there are usually biggish slots at the terminations, and one could use the magic of duct tape to limit the ingress there. Finally the slots where the internal halyards exot the mast are often larger than necessary, and again could be taped up to reduce the inflow. But, in the long run there is little one can do to eliminate the water.

Putting a dam of some sort above deck level is tempting, but is difficult to do and has downsides for future activities. In particular, the foam-in-place stuff is likely to cause a monumental mess, and further it will be difficult to insure a perfect seal for the dam. All in all it's a bugger of a thing -- we've never been successful in stopping it from getting in! So, on our boat the mast drains into the shower sump, and the sump pump gets rid of it. Doesn't sound like that is a viable idea for your boat, but perhaps you can direct the inflow to some sort of cantainer that would either be easy to dump or could be fitted with a very small bilge pump.

It's surely vexing, and we wish you good luck with it!

Cheers,

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Old 01-06-2010, 19:48   #8
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Ahoy all, thanks for the speedy and informative replies. I am tacking down the west coast of Sumertara at the moment, heading to sibolga to check in for Indonesia. The receptacle at the base of the mast sounds like the go, it does have a water trap at the floor level, with a plastic pipe that drains into the adjacent bilg, which is closed off from the rst of the bilges by big crossmembers in the floor. I will put a container under the exit point for the plastic hose and when I am away from the boat install an automatic bilge pump into the small bilge area.
I have sealed up the exit holes for the sheets with duct tape, and they have s/steel shrouds around them, the wire stays are attached via through bolted large plates, except the ones above the first spreaders, which enter the mast, I will go up the steps and check it all tomorrow!
All the best from Keith and thanks for your help.
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