Here in the north winter lasts seven months by international standards. Lakes and seas will be frozen solid for a good part of the winter, so boats pretty much have to be taken to the hard. Prior doing to that, most people take the mast off. With most of the boats that is likely to be the right thing to do, as hull
, spar(s), and standing rigging all compress quite differently when in extremely colds. It can easily drop to -35C / -30F here. With a bad winter it gets even colder than that.
With too much tension on the shrouds, there seems to be a risk of chain plates breaking off. With not enough tension and heavy winds, there is a risk of other kinds of rigging failure. Sure enough, it is also easier to cover the boat for snow when the mast is off.
Owning a steel
boat, I do leave both of the masts up/on when the boat is lifted onto the hard. Alloy compresses more than steel
when in cold, but the difference is very small. I do not have to adjust the tension of shrouds and stays at all. With a steel hull
, I could leave the boat on ice as well, however, I do not want to worry about any hull inlets/outlets freezing over and failing and thus sinking the boat. It is safer to have it on hard. Every spring, there also seems to be something little to do with the hull, propeller
, anodes, antifouling etc. so also that works gets done when the boat is not in the water
The spars? They can be checked out with a bozun's chair - on annual basis as a minimum.