PBO reader John Anderson has a question about how he can make his boat electrics tidier. PBO expert Duncan Kent has this advice…

PBO reader John Anderson writes: “I have the mast out of my 30 year old Malo to solve an in-mast furling problem, but this has revealed that the electrical cabling coming out of the mast base, through the swan neck and into the cabin, is a mess.

“Some of the cables from the mast are joined just down from the headlining with crude cable joins usually covered by a bit of varnished teak veneered ply.

“Others are longer and pass down through the mast support and are joined in a locker. Choc block connectors predominate and are bulky and tend to corrode with time, so I’d like to tidy things up.

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“Are there any slim joiners I can use to join cables at the headlining?

“Ideally I’d like to make new splitable cable joins (the ones split to take the mast in and out) down in the locker at the mast base.

“I’m keen to make it easy for when the mast next comes out. I wonder if there is something more robust and more unpluggable than the current set up?”

PBO electrics expert Duncan Kent replies: “This is a common problem and you certainly need to get rid of the choc block terminals.

“One problem with fitting quick-release connector blocks is getting the plug through the hole, or swan-neck in your case. Plenty are available but unless they fit through the hole they’re of no use.

“Maybe you’d be better using something like Wago blocks. That way you can keep the wires from the mast bare and connect them simply and quickly again without even needing a screwdriver. They also have proper copper terminations, so they don’t rust like choc block terminals.”

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This feature appeared in the March 2022 edition of Practical Boat Owner. For more articles like this, including DIY, money-saving advice, great boat projects, expert tips and ways to improve your boat’s performance, take out a magazine subscription to Britain’s best-selling boating magazine.

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