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Old 27-05-2020, 06:29   #1
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Birdnest in top of mast

I have a 2000 Beneteau 461 with an in-mast main sail furling. The halyard loose when the top splice broke. I had a heck of a time to get the sail out of the mast. It came partially down and bunched up when I tried to unfurl it.
A rigger tried to install a new halyard but was not able to get a feeder line down the mast. There is a large bird nest blocking. It is all caked up and when he tried to clean it out it just got pushed further down. Now he suggested to pull the mast to clean it out.
He had only a thinner then coat hanger wire and my 26" screw driver to work with. I thought maybe a thicker wire 3/8" or 10mm could do it ?
any suggestions are very much appreciated.
Peter s/v BELVEDERE
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Old 27-05-2020, 06:57   #2
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

Sorry, but I think your rigger is correct.


We've had birds nesting in our boom (from both ends) and when a reefing line chafes through or the outhaul breaks, it's a real nuisance to clear things out. Fortunately we don't have to remove the boom to do it. OTOH, we've had wasps nests in the top of the mast. That's no fun!


Cheers,
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Old 27-05-2020, 07:53   #3
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

Pressure washer?
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Old 27-05-2020, 08:16   #4
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

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Originally Posted by Peterbreit View Post
..................He had only a thinner then coat hanger wire and my 26" screw driver to work with. I thought maybe a thicker wire 3/8" or 10mm could do it ? any suggestions are very much appreciated
Ouch!!! I had some success with a high pressure air compressor hose. Ultimately had to use a wire rod and needle nose pliers to pull the next out of my boom and arch light/speaker cavity over a period of time. I also used a water jet to flush my furling mast to remove spiders and dirt that had lodged in my mast while the boat was on the hard for 3 years.
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Old 28-05-2020, 09:05   #5
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

If you are in California, and you are caught messing with an active bird nest there are big fines. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife take an exceedingly dim view of messing with an active nest. So if you can avoid it, please do. Just a word to the wise...
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Old 28-05-2020, 09:24   #6
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

Why am I thinking of moving to California, the land of fruits, nuts, and Sacramento??

Birds love my sail. I have to clean out a nest every couple of weeks. Stupid birds can't seem to figure out they aren't wanted. The sail, even though little used, looks terrible from the stains that the crap they stuff into it leaves on the fabric.

As far as your boat, something stiffer and thicker than a coat hanger like 1/8th inch rod bent into a hook should reef out what's left of the nest. Harbor Freight has a good selection of 'pick' tools that may have enough length to also do the job. As others said a pressure washer would be a good thing to try as well. Taking the stick down would cost you at least $500 and probably twice that.
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Old 28-05-2020, 09:33   #7
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

Quote:
He had only a thinner then coat hanger wire and my 26" screw driver to work with. I thought maybe a thicker wire 3/8" or 10mm could do it ?
Don't know if this applies but on my Catalina with in mast furling main there are two pullies at the mast head to get the halyard over the space where the sail furls and into the center of the mast. I used a short tube and length of bicycle chain to get over the innermost pully. My favorite weight to run halyards is a few inches of bicycle chain.
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:40   #8
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

Thank you All. I am not sure how I can use a pressure wash 60' up the mast. I will try the pressure hose. it is fairly stiff and I can always use it to clean the bottom with a compressor, etc. In Annapolis I got quoted $ 360.00 flat rate to pull the mast (not sure if this includes retuning it too?) and $ 12.00/day for to work on it. I also will try pushing it down, breaking it up with a rod. Glad I am not in CA. Love it but too many restrictions.. speaking as Democrat.. oops, shouldn't say this in this forum, sorry. But again thanks all for the input.
Cheers from the noisiest bang, bang mast in town..
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:54   #9
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

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Originally Posted by Swizzlemama View Post
If you are in California, and you are caught messing with an active bird nest there are big fines. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife take an exceedingly dim view of messing with an active nest. So if you can avoid it, please do. Just a word to the wise...

So curious what are your options then? Abandon the boat, come back next year and hope they have moved on? What if they haven’t?
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Old 28-05-2020, 15:04   #10
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Re: Birdnest in top of mast

Try using tie wire. It is used to tie rebar together prior to pouring concrete.

Not quite as stiff as a coat hangar but stiff enough that I have used a 6' piece to snag a loose overhead line. Pulling the mast should be a last resort.
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