Captin Kirk, Here's a list of the mast wiring
I did a couple months ago on a 34 foot sailboat. The electronics
alone included an NMEA 2000
cable for the masthead instruments, the radar
data cable (Garmin), and power cable. The electrical included a VHF
cable, hailer/foghorn cable, steaming light cable/foredeck light cable (14-3 shared ground conductor), mast head
tricolor (14-3 shared ground conductor). On larger boats, depending on the size of the lamps and mast height, larger conductors may occasionally be necessary. Then there's the option of spreader lights (larger conductors if bright lights are required), additional instrumentation, if not NMEA 2000
, and other toys (FLIR, video cameras, etc.).
The connectors can generally be cut and spliced, but you need to provide enough slack for several iterations. Cutting and splicing saves a bundle on fancy plugs and can be even more weatherproof.
Getting the anaconda of wire and cable into the boat can also be a challenge. Few boats have adequate diameter internal mast conduits. You may have to add one or two more. If the mast step hasn't sufficient capacity to pass the big snake, you have to exit the base, or somewhere just above to get the wire out. If the mast is stepped on deck
, you have to provide some means to enter the overhead. Assume everything is going to leak, then go way overboard
to avoid that. It's still probably going to leak someday, so try to pass the cables
through an area that won't get destroyed by rain and saltwater. Murphy was an optimist.