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Old 31-10-2015, 16:49   #1
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Winter storage: mast up or down ?

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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Old 31-10-2015, 16:57   #2
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

The specific yard you store at will probably have the say on this.

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Old 31-10-2015, 17:57   #3
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

The yard doesn't care. I choose.




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Old 31-10-2015, 18:24   #4
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

I'd vote "up", unless it *needs* to come down for refit/paint/repairs. The expense and aggravation of un-step/step is at the least annoying and probably more potential for damage than leaving it up. That Niagara will take vast amounts of abuse (on the ocean) and will˜laff at Ottowa weather.
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Old 31-10-2015, 18:40   #5
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Up for sure unless you have some reason to take it down... like repairs or something. Unstepping and restepping a mast is hard on everything... rigging, wiring, your knuckles, your pocketbook, etc. I wrap my halyards one turn around the mast below the spreaders in the fall. This reduces the halyards slapping all winter and causing excess wear. You can also tie them half way out to the stays to reduce slapping. Just don't leave them hanging straight along the mast all winter... it causes wear that is easily avoidable.
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Old 31-10-2015, 18:46   #6
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Ever since I've been sailing (in Ontario) all the yards I've used were Mast down in the winter. besides it gives you the ability to inspect the rig. and it doesnt cost much to drop the mast each year.
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Old 31-10-2015, 19:00   #7
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Mast down. have to. The power company frowns upon the boat taking out all the power lines between the ramp and boat yard

plus it makes going inside a lot easier!

I do like inspecting/cleaning/polishing every inch of the mast every year
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:24   #8
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

I'm on Lk Ontario, mast comes down. For a number of reasons for me, big one is I've seen too much crane damage hauling out and launching with the masts up. Smashed windex, antennae, spreaders. LOL this was just this falls haulout!
Also have to say the crane operator our marina uses really isn't very good at all.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:16   #9
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Some people say that leaving the mast up when the boat is on a cradle is unwise as it leads to a lot of stress being put on the mast and the boat. I guess particularly at the keel and the mast partner ? They say that when afloat, any wind on the mast will make the boat heel, thus lessening the forces, but that can't happen when the boat is in a cradle. I don't think I agree with this arguement, but I'm no expert in these areas !

My rejoinder to that is that there must be forces at the mast partner in both cases. Would they be different ? For example, let's say the wind is to starboard. When afloat, the stress will be on the port side of the mast partner, and on the starboard side at the foot of the mast. Less forces than when in the cradle ?

Another point, I'm leaving the forestay, backstay, and the two main shrouds attached. Taking off the fore and aft shrouds. Should the remaining stays and shrouds be in tension or loose ? I know (from sleepless nights) that if I leave the adjustable backstay in tension, there is a lot of vibration throughout the boat, which I don't think is a good idea. On the other hand, without the tension, the furler moves about a lot in any wind. Mind you, I have removed the Genoa.

Responses welcolmed ASAP please. I need to put the covers on this week !

No electrical wires in vicinity. All electical lights and covers and spreader protectors replaced in April. Did this in Kingston for 5 years. No problems.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:39   #10
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by macbeth View Post
Some people say that leaving the mast up when the boat is on a cradle is unwise as it leads to a lot of stress being put on the mast and the boat. I guess particularly at the keel and the mast partner ? They say that when afloat, any wind on the mast will make the boat heel, thus lessening the forces, but that can't happen when the boat is in a cradle. I don't think I agree with this arguement, but I'm no expert in these areas !
Me? I'd leave it up...

One could argue the hull forces from the rigging, but obviously most of the weight is on the keel... Or possibly not from your cradle configuration? If she is sitting on the keel, I'd tension the backstay to stop the foil from flopping and wrap a halyard around your backstay to deaden the vibration. Shackle it short forward somewhere?? Can't reason that shrouds would cause enough athwartship stress, but back em off a turn or two if you're concerned...

All of this coming from a guy who's never wintered a boat on the hard...
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:44   #11
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

Leaving the mast standing over winter when the boat is in a cradle causes cyclic loading of the stays and metal fatigue whether or not we are talking about wire or rod rigging.

Unstepping and stepping Skylark's mast every season allows me to keep a constant eye on cotter and clevis pins and the general state of all rigging and halyards.

IMHO, I think that the only reason for leaving the mast standing on the hard is one is too cheap or too lazy.
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:39   #12
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

In Sarnia Ont there are 3 yacht clubs, 2 of them the masts have to come down because of anal neighbours who say it destroys their view, because obviously they spend a lot of time in the middle of winter sitting in their yards, however if I had the choice, would still take it down regardless, it costs nothing to do, make sure there's at least one person there who knows what they're doing, it can be intimidating the first time but is no big deal, I like to be able to inspect everything up close and personal every year, had I not, I wouldn't have noticed that the top half of my backstay needed replacing last year.
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:58   #13
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

I'm in Kingston. We get pretty much the same weather as ottawa, but with more wind, and likely more freeze/thaw cycles.

Leave it up.

Your boat is already 30-40 years old. Niagara 31 is a solid, strong boat, built very well. The forces on the cradle will be negligible compared to sailing in a good wind.

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.

I've left mine up the last 10 years. So much less stress (on me). So much faster to rig up in the spring. I have not had any damage from leaving the mast up.

I do suggest slightly loosening everything to accomodate differences in metal contraction as the temps fluxuate down at the low end. But not so loose that anything is flopping about. Also remove any turnbuckle "boots" or covers, or anything that would hold moisture (snow) against the rig.

Just about everything is out of the water now down here in Kingston. KYC had their haulout yesterday. There is a grampian 23 at a finger dock down at confed, next to where they found the floating body of an elderly man (the owner?). Man's body pulled from water near basin | The Kingston Whig-Standard
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:16   #14
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

No stainless damage in fresh water, if you have a travel lift then why take it out? Top of my mast is about 60' up and no problems in 11 years. In my mast manual they recommend taking the stress (lessening) out of the shrouds for the winter, the load reduction is close to winter wind loads.

PS When is 66 even close to being elderly?


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Old 01-11-2015, 12:20   #15
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Re: Winter storage: mast up or down ?

I have a Niagara 42 with rod rigging. I had to take the stick down two winters ago to bring her up to Ganonoque from Connecticut. I left it up last winter and again this winter but plan to take her down the following winter for inspections/repairs etc... I feel that every three years is enough for the mild conditions and fresh water environment of the St. Lawrence river where I sail.
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