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Old 01-11-2015, 12:38   #16
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
I used to take down my mast every year...and every year there would be some minor damage. Knock the vhf antenna off. Bend a fitting. Drop a turnbuckle body overboard. With rod rigging and a furler, you are far better off leaving it up.
Damage every yeart?? Sounds like you need a new rigging company/hauler/boat yard!

zero damage to my boat/mast in 6 seasons, removing it each year. Haven't lost even a single thing overboard. (if we did, we would just get off the boat and pick it up off the ground)
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Old 01-11-2015, 13:00   #17
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

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I feel that every three years is enough for the mild conditions and fresh water environment of the St. Lawrence river where I sail.
And ottawa has no water at all...so he should be fine.
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Old 01-11-2015, 13:22   #18
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

I join the crowd for leaving it up unless you're going to change the rigging or doing some other project. My mast is keel stepped as well. The boat is in New Bedford on Buzzard's Bay. We have wind over 25 all the time. Last winter 80" of snow in 3 weeks with gusts to 60mph. Lot's of thaw and freeze cycles. Haven't had a problem yet. When I upgraded my roller furler I had the installer inspect the sheaves and attachment points for the shrouds. So the upper hardware has been looked at within the last 5 years. Cost is one factor and the time it took me to build a absolutely dry boot makes me thinks twice. Also I take all my halyards out to stanchion or pulpit bases. Absolutely eliminates slapping.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:27   #19
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

In Michigan and the vast majority of boats leave the mast up. Seems like the only ones that come down are getting work done.


Even if the boat heals when in the water, no way it's more stress on the hard than when the sails are up.


They use travel lifts mostly and never came across an issue where they break things because the mast is up. Of course we've taken the mast down a few times (to get thru the Erie Canal or the River system) and didn't break anything either. So breaking things seems to be a red herring to recommend one way or the other.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:56   #20
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Thanks very much everyone. Decision taken - mast UP !! Thanks for the tips about shrouds and stays. Very useful. A great forum.
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Old 01-11-2015, 15:16   #21
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Tie halyards to a sacrificial line. Tie/tape a towel around the clevises. Hoist to the top and then bring down in the spring. It will reduce some wear and tear and UV damage on the lines especially if they run inside the mast.
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Old 01-11-2015, 15:22   #22
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

This is one of those where it'd pay to talk to the pro's to confirm or deny it.
But I've been told by some, that by leaving the rig up, the vibrations set up in the stays by the wind, are on par with those created when sailing. And in rod, such can/will accelerate work hardening & crystilization (micro work hardening) of the metal. Particularly in the (critical) cold heads.

Think about it, the cold heads are already work hardened - read less; ductile, & able to withstand flexing. So 6 months with the stick spent up in the Winter winds doing nothing, is 6 months off of the life of the rod that could be spent sailing in the warmer months.
So, if you take the rig down, this obviously can't happen.

Yes, Niagra's are more conservatively & ruggedly rigged than high strung racers, but... replacing rod is EXPENSIVE. Pulling the rig, & re-stepping it likely costs about the price of one stay, IF that.

But like I said, give Navtec, plus a couple of Good independent riggers who work with rod a lot a call. That, & try posing the question over on Sailing Anarchy. There are a lot more gents experienced with rod in that crowd, me thinks.

And if you do talk to Navtec, & or a few other riggers, would you please be kind enough to come back, & post what you find out.
Also, good luck with the sad, as in official end of the sailing season, decomissioning process.
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Old 01-11-2015, 16:11   #23
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Mast down is great as you can check, maintain and replace all mast hardware. If you can have a mast down place, probably take it.

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Old 01-11-2015, 16:32   #24
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Originally Posted by barnakiel
Mast down is great as you can check, maintain and replace all mast hardware. If you can have a mast down place, probably take it. b.
Excellent suggestion of practice toward maintaining safety regarding the mast and rigging.
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Old 01-11-2015, 16:45   #25
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

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I'd like to leave my mast up. I have rod rigging and it's susceptible to damage every time I take the mast up or down. I'm in Ottawa, Ontario. Usually 6' of snow, with lots of freezing temps. Occasionally winds over 25 knots. Boat is a Niagara 31. Sturdy. Keel steeped.


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Camper-Nicholson 58 ketch in Muskegon Michigan - Torresen Marine. Almost nobody here takes the mast down. This is common all over the great Lakes. Fresh water/short seasons - little or no damage. Plenty cold here too & lots of snow. Damage to the tarp is a bigger worry. DO take down your instruments & Windex. & antennas. I bundle my halyards with a runner and pull then all the way up.
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Old 01-11-2015, 17:07   #26
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

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I bundle my halyards with a runner and pull then all the way up.
Why not just pull your halyards out for the Winter, & leave some 5mm utility cord as leader lines in place of them instead? It's commonly done on racers all the time, & cuts wear, & or UV exposure to Zero, when they're not in use.

A tail/leader splice takes maybe 5min. to put into the end of a halyard if that. And a spool of utility cord's both cheap, & handy to have around.
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:07   #27
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Why not just pull your halyards out for the Winter, & leave some 5mm utility cord as leader lines in place of them instead? It's commonly done on racers all the time, & cuts wear, & or UV exposure to Zero, when they're not in use.

A tail/leader splice takes maybe 5min. to put into the end of a halyard if that. And a spool of utility cord's both cheap, & handy to have around.
Seems somewhat risky in that if the splice hangs up or fails inside the mast. Then it's pulling halyard through the mast in the spring. Running them up accomplishes the same with little hassle and risk.
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:25   #28
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Thought you guys might enjoy this picture of the Mackinac Bridge in wintertime. "Mighty Mac" they call it. There is a bar/museum in Mackinaw City devoted to the construction of the bridge which I visited on a delivery once.
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Old 02-11-2015, 07:46   #29
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

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Originally Posted by macbeth View Post
I'd like to leave my mast up. I have rod rigging and it's susceptible to damage every time I take the mast up or down. I'm in Ottawa, Ontario. Usually 6' of snow, with lots of freezing temps. Occasionally winds over 25 knots. Boat is a Niagara 31. Sturdy. Keel steeped.


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We get asked this question a lot.

Personally, I unstep our mast every year for the following reasons.

1. Windage is reduced so the boat is less likely to fall off the cradle in a wind storm.

2. A heavy ice storm is less likely to damage the boat or knock it off the cradle.

3. If the boat falls off the cradle, it is less likely to damage another boat.

4. A boat is about 4 times more likely to get hit by lightning in the yard with mast up, than in the water with mast up. (Not too likely in the off-season up North, but very likely further south, especially from about Maryland down on eastern seaboard USA, increasing exponentially as one approaches Florida.)

5. Usually, there is something that I want to do with the mast, furler, or rigging, that is much easier and safer to do on the ground.

6. In our case, sails are up and drawing less than 5% of the season. The other 95% of the season, the working on the boat is sans sails. By unstepping the mast, this sans sails working is reduced by 50% over the life of the boat. ie, everything else equal, there should be much less working damage, and rig life expectancy is longer. (As long as unstepping / resteppping is handled properly.)

7. Shock loads. When the boat is in the water, the rig and vessel is far less subject to shock loads as the ability to heel and bob in the water absorbs/sheds the majority of the shock load energy. When the boat is in the cradle, all shock loads (due to windage) have to be absorbed by the rig and vessel, including through the hull to the cradle where it contacts the pads. (Lots of boats are subject to oil-canning, and one can see concentric gelcoat crazing around the pads.)

8. The easier it is to inspect the rig, the more likely it will be.

9. Some yards / yacht clubs insist on it.

10. You get to know your boat better.

In my experience, some will attempt to justify their laziness or cost savings efforts, while leaving the mast up. In my humble opinion, not unstepping ones mast in the off season, is a false savings.

Note that I am a marine service provider, and a very, very, very small percentage of my income (perhaps 0.1%) comes from unstepping / stepping masts.

Prior to offering professional yacht services, I always unstepped our mast, for all of the reasons above.

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Old 02-11-2015, 07:53   #30
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Forgot # 11.

Your vessel is much more subject to moisture ingress, with the mast up.

If you develop a leak around a keel stepped mast or chainplates in say, November, all that water running down the mast and rigging, runs right into the boat, until detected in about April. (Yes some check their boats in the off-season regularly, maybe monthly, but most don't.)

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