Replacing the Mast Head Light


Adding a Tricolor

While I have the mast out of Sea Dragon I decided to replace all wiring in the mast. While I was having the wiring replace, I also decided to have the anchor light replaced with a Tricolor light. This project, like every other project, has taken on a life of its own.

Steve Demas and the team at Alpha Rigging did a great job with this project (as they have with EVERY project).

Out with the Old

The first step was to remove the old wiring. Our mast was so set up like so many other boats of its time. All of the wiring was tied together with wire ties. Then the bundle of wires were wrapped in the foam material plumbers use to insulate pipes. The foam was held on the wiring with more wire ties.

The purpose of the foam is to silence the wires as they bang against the inside of the mast.

Another picture of the old wiring and the masthead.

Sorry I have no pictures of the foam.


We have had problems with anchor light going out for no known reason... Now we know. Notice the base is broken and the wires chafed. Oh well, it is history anyway. Soon to be replaced with nice new Tricolor.
Now you see the nice new (base only) Tricolor antenna, and fitting for the wind instrument masthead.
Nice new, clean wiring.
Next step was to find an open circuit for the tricolor light. As you can see, we have no open circuits. What to do? Add another panel or be creative... Creative won out.

The original configuration had a separate breaker for the Masthead light (Steaming light) and the running lights. COLREGS call for a sailboat under power to display a red / green bow lights and 135 degree white stern light plus a 225 degree white light.

While under sail a sailboat has two options are:

Red/green bow side lights and a 225 white stern light.

So it was necessary to be able to turn on (when under power) or off (when under sail) the masthead light.

Or the Tricolor

With these options, it was decided to combine the "old" running light breaker and masthead light together and call it running lights. This will be used when under power.

The "old" masthead light breaker was converted into the Tricolor breaker. Once again the assumption here is that I will use the mast top tricolor light whenever sailing at night.


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Copyright 2006 Garner Bennett. All Rights Reserved