Mast Knocking

Mast Knocking

When my boat was at the marina in the Great Salt Lake, in the beginning, any time I went to my boat, the halyards had been wrapped around the stays. I quickly realized that someone, likely a liveaboard, was wrapping my halyards to stop them from knocking on the mast. As I stood there on a windy day and realized this, it took me longer than it should have to realize why they were doing it.

It took me longer than it should have because I kept being interrupted by a knock, knock, knock coming from my mast. Even with the halyard pulled away from the mast, there was still a steady thump with each motion.

Inside of my mast, the wires were swinging freely, banging against the side of the mast. The long hollow aluminum tube was acting as an amplifier, broadcasting the sound for everyone to hear. I've seen several suggestions for solving the issue. Each had their drawbacks for me.

Pool Noodles

By placing the wires inside of a pool noodle, and running them up the mast, this then creates a soft area for the pool noodle to band against silently. This seems like a simple solution, and it's one I like. But it simply won't work for me. Even the skinny pool noodles won't go up my mast with all of the bolts, rivits,and screws that go throughout.


Another option I often see is running PVC up the mast, to then put wires in. This runs into similar issues with protrusions into the mast, so it wasn't going to really work for me. Also, the PVC then needs to be secured onto the inside of the mast, which just creates a new set of problems.

Cable/Zip Ties

This option involves a whole buttload of zip ties. They are placed every one to two feet on the cable in a Y pattern. The ends are left sufficiently long or are uncut, so they create pressure on the sides of the mast and keep the wire from moving at all. This avoids most issues with partial blockages in the mast, and still does the trick.

Nikki helped me pull the mast off the boat, and we placed it in the garage. It was supposed to rain for a few days, so this was really the ideal timing. The mast barely fits in my two car garage. In fact it had to sit from corner of the garage to corner of the garage. It didn't even leave me much room to work in.

I pulled the masthead piece off, and disconnected my Antenna wire and masthead light wire. Then I taped a long piece of paracord to the end and pulled them through. Well.... I tried to. Inside of my mast is a bar that I added between the two pieces of the spreader. What I didn't realize, or have any control over was the fact that one wire was on one side of the bar, and the other wire was on the other side. So I could only pull them down half-way. I pulled them back to the top of the mast and ran them down separately.

Once both wires were are the bottom I started zip tieing them in the Y pattern. After the first two I determined that the 3 inch zip ties were actually too small to prevent the wire from moving. Because they were smaller the ties were far too easy to bend. I went with 8" zip ties and cut them to about 4 inches. A lot of people have success with not cutting them at all, but I think that the zip ties being too long would prevent it from being pulled easily up the mast.

I decided to zip tie both wire together and run them on one side of the mast, which mean I didn't have to pull zip ties past zip ties. I do however worry about electrical interference from the power cable messing with the antenna cable. Only time will tell on that one.

After a run to the store for more zip ties It was almost no time before I was done. Nikki did help me pull back a few times while I was caught on things as I pulled the now zipties wires up the mast. One person could do the job, but two was easier.

With the wires in place I put the mast head back on and reconnected the wires at the top... only to fine my anchor light top had shattered into a million pieces of brittle plastic. So a new one of those is on order.

I can for sure already tell a difference when I shake the mast around. The wires are not bouncing around and I think it will be a great fix.