Mast heel screws

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Mast heel screws

Post by Polibon » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:07 am

I recently wanted to fit a NASA weather system atop the mast (while down for winter) and stupidly listened to someone at my club who recommended removing the mast heel plate to fish the wires down.

The first screw came out quite easily thanks to my friend De-Walt Impact, 4 others refused to budge and the 5th became stuck halfway out. My efforts on the mast generated a long stream of club sightseers all of which had different ideas, and all insistent on helping. This resulted in the loss of the one screw that did come out as everyone wanted to see it, and no other progress.

Does anyone know if the thread is imperial or metric and the size of these screws so I can replace the lost one? The length would be useful too.

I have succeeded in getting the 5th screw back in, and used the masthead light wiring to pull the new wires in.
Hoping someone can help.

Jolly Roger
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Re: Mast heel screws

Post by Jolly Roger » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:17 pm

The heel screws are only there to hold the heel plate in place. They are not load bearing in any way as the weight of the mast and the rigging hold it all in place. So if you have 5 of the 6 screws fitted, then I would not worry if one is missing. You could always add a new screw close by the hole if you want to, but it is not necessary.

For the future you can pass a messenger along a horizontal mast using a small iron weight on the messenger and a ceramic magnet. ... 1438.l2649
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Re: Mast heel screws

Post by TyroSailor » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:53 pm discussed by Hillary on another thread (which I might be able to find in a minute...). Yep - here: ... net#p16523

I tried to do the same thing two years ago for a similar reason and succeeded only in shearing off the head of one of the bolts before I gave up. I also was the victim of a range of advice, some of which I was naive enough to attempt to follow. In the end I got the new wires in by slightly enlarging the existing hole near the bottom, using a small round file and pulling them in with a length of string, previously pulled in using the old wires.

And, (following someone else's good advice - actually, that might have been you, Roger!) I put groups of three cable ties round the bundle of (2 or 3) wires at intervals of about a foot, leaving all the ends long, to keep the wires from beating against the inside of the mast as the boat rocks at night.
Experience: That which would have been most useful five minutes before you acquired it.

Tyro (Centaur 1361)
at Southampton

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