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Old 19-10-2014, 15:59   #1
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Winter Sail Removable - Why?

A serious question that goes against the standard group think about your mainsail in the off season:

Why do we need to remove our mainsail for the winter? Boats out cruising or in warmer weather leave their sails on all the time. Taking the sail off just ends up folding it in ways that aren't normal to it and sticking it in a bag, just so it is removed. My mainsail has a Dutchman and taking it off just results in the fold memory being lost and all the setup of the lines needing to be done. How is taking it off really any better than leaving it on and covered?
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Old 19-10-2014, 17:20   #2
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

A sail left on the boat is subject to vagaries of weather, both from moisture and UV if the sail cover somehow doesn't cover the complete sail. Most sail covers are not waterproof so moisture gets in. A water proof cover will be great for mold so even that isn't a good choice.
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Old 19-10-2014, 17:46   #3
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

Yeah, I think it is mainly for avoiding mold etc. I don't imagine your sail "memory" will be lost much... I suspect thats a result mostly of the sail finish or threads being repeatedly bent on one area.. they wont cure themselves if off the boat..
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Old 19-10-2014, 17:53   #4
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

I left our main sail on the first year and jibs furled on the advice of the couple taking care of the boat. Terrible advice from a lazy couple, the sails were filthy in Spring. Never again.

Taking down the sails only takes an hour or less, well worth the trouble.
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Old 19-10-2014, 18:13   #5
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

Yes to what others have stated.

As to sail memory and Dutchman: removing the main in the off season will help sailcloth last longer. With Dutchman system in particular, sailcloth will fatigue and eventually fail along the folds. When storing a mainsail fold the sail along different lines than when it’s flaked on the boom.

I recently inspected a main/Dutchman system with exactly this issue. They were preparing to cross the Indian Ocean and had repair work done by a sailmaker. I had a look at the sail after and found that along folds in the lower portion of the sail, the sailcloth was perforated with countless small holes. Folding on the same lines for years coupled with the weight of the sail pressing down rendered the cloth worthless. The owners bought a new sail before crossing to South Africa.
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Old 19-10-2014, 18:28   #6
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

BTW - I've left the mainsail on over the winter once in the past. It didn't have any mold etc on it in the spring.

Do Southern boats leave their sails on all year long. Do cruisers staying at 1 location for months take their sails off?

I know it is the standard accepted line, but ............
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Old 19-10-2014, 18:41   #7
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

We don't have winter but winter or no winter leaving sails on board for an extended lay up is a bad idea.

It's not about the creases and folds. It's about storing your significant investment in a temperature and humidity controlled environment so that water, mold and mildew don't have a chance to do thier damage.

Your sails do what you wish but I wouldn't.
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Old 19-10-2014, 18:43   #8
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

I left my head sail on last year and when I unrolled it this spring I had a really cool lime green tie died mess to clean up. Wasted 2 days scrubbing and wrestling with it. We unfurled both sails to dry out a couple weeks ago and put them to bed for the winter.
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Old 19-10-2014, 18:48   #9
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

But what?
Cruisers don't usually take sails off because they take up a lot of space below. If leaving the boat for awhile, then yes some people stow sails below.
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Old 19-10-2014, 18:58   #10
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
It's not about the creases and folds.
True about the storage environment; and wrong about creases and folds with a Dutchman system.
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Old 21-10-2014, 04:11   #11
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

Also, removing your sails prevents possible wind damage. Down here in the Caribbean, many people remove their sails during hurricane season for that reason. The same thing goes for boats stored in other areas if you are leaving the boat unattended with a chance of winter storms.
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Old 21-10-2014, 04:36   #12
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

For those of us who store our boats on the hard for winter, the primary reason to unbend the sails is to prevent them from toppling the boat off the jack stands. True, it's not likely they will accidentally deploy but why take the chance?
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Old 21-10-2014, 04:54   #13
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

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Originally Posted by cbsura View Post
For those of us who store our boats on the hard for winter, the primary reason to unbend the sails is to prevent them from toppling the boat off the jack stands. True, it's not likely they will accidentally deploy but why take the chance?
If a covered mainsail accidentally deploys it is time for a boat exorcism.
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Old 21-10-2014, 04:56   #14
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

We had that already. It was called Hurricane Sandy!
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Old 21-10-2014, 05:26   #15
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Re: Winter Sail Removable - Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbsura View Post
We had that already. It was called Hurricane Sandy!
reaching don't you think
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