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Old 05-10-2013, 08:23   #1
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to store halyards or leave on mast?

I live in Massachusetts. It is my first year as a sailboat owner and am in the process of decommissioning for the season. I have heard conflicting suggestions as to whether to leave my halyards attached to the mast for the winter. Some say it's not worth the hassle to remove, others say take them off. The halyards run internally appx 2/3 up to the top of the mast and then down the exterior. My same question also applies to the roller furl line? I did replace that line this summer and that was not that difficult to install. If I do not remove the halyards, should I cover them with a tarp or wrap in plastic? Is there a spray cleaning solution or some kind of spray protectant that could be added? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:31   #2
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

We leave ours in place (UK). The only thing that does come off is the sheets which go in the washing machine and come out nice and soft ready for next year.

However, taking them off means you get to inspect them and I suppose you could reverse them. Run thin cord (like washing line) in place for the winter if you take them off. I guess its a time thing, if you have the time go for it. Make sure the furling line is off the deck or it won't dry out after it rains, ours goes green if its on the deck. Don't cover them, that is asking for trouble.

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:39   #3
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

I am assuming that you are storing the boat with the mast up. In the great white north we take our masts down, wrap them in cling wrap, with the halyards on, and store the masts outside. Of course we remove all the masthead stuff and the spreaders. Remove the furling drum but leave the foil on.

If storing with the mast up in freezing conditions, make sure the mast has a drain hole at the bottom if deck-stepped.

Down south we leave everything up when we store for the summer.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:39   #4
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

If the halyards are going to get filthy left out, you might want to take them down and re
-rig them in spring. As suggested above, pull through a light line as you remove them that you will be able to use to pull them back through. We usually sew them on strongly.

For this first year, you might leave one out to see what happens to it, and compare results. We have always lived in sail all year places, and never take them down except to replace or end-for-end them.

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:40   #5
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

When winter comes I try to take down as many lines as I can to wash and inspect them. You will need to buy a 500 foot (or more) roll of 1/4" line to chase the lines through. Place the lines in a pillow case to wash them.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:07   #6
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

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Originally Posted by bgallinger View Post
When winter comes I try to take down as many lines as I can to wash and inspect them. You will need to buy a 500 foot (or more) roll of 1/4" line to chase the lines through. Place the lines in a pillow case to wash them.
Quarter inch is WAY over kill for this application! We (and all the riggers that I know) use something like 2-3 mm cheap seine twine or what is called "Venetian Blind Cord" in Australia for their mouse lines.

Cheers,

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Old 05-10-2013, 10:16   #7
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

I've done both.

One thing that worked for me was to trail cloths line wire in behind the halyards. Then I just ran the old halyards back in using the wire as pull string. The wire is reusable. Pretty easy.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:17   #8
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

It does not take long to run "mouse lines" up the mast. We have a little loop splice in the end of the halyard to attach the line.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:28   #9
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

I'm sure it is better for the lines if they are removed. That said, I've never done it, and I don't know anyone up here (Thunder Bay, ON) who does. We're on fresh water, so perhaps that makes a difference. We're also in a relatively pristine area (although there is a saw mill nearby). All I can say is that after over a decade of boat ownership, with masts left up some seasons, or stored in outdoor cradles (unwrapped -- exposed), I have never noticed any significant impact on my lines due to winter weathering. I'd be willing to bet summer UV exposure does far more damage than winter conditions.

But again, that's up here in northern Ontario. Perhaps way down south in places like Massachusetts or the Toronto area, things may be different.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:34   #10
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

Here in Toronto if you don't wrap (and plug the butt) your mast, it's just filthy in the spring. In addition you might have some friendly urban racoons in it or maybe just some little mice. They seem to love the electrical wiring.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:57   #11
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Re: to store halyards or leave on mast?

Quote:
I live in Massachusetts. It is my first year as a sailboat owner and am in the process of decommissioning for the season. I have heard conflicting suggestions as to whether to leave my halyards attached to the mast for the winter. Some say it's not worth the hassle to remove, others say take them off. The halyards run internally appx 2/3 up to the top of the mast and then down the exterior. My same question also applies to the roller furl line? I did replace that line this summer and that was not that difficult to install. If I do not remove the halyards, should I cover them with a tarp or wrap in plastic? Is there a spray cleaning solution or some kind of spray protectant that could be added? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
Yeah! Leave them on the mast.

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Old 05-10-2013, 18:06   #12
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The sun kills lines. The last 6" see a high uv load all Summer with the sails up. After you pull sails and tie halyards off uv damage is in a very different place on the line. If you are in the great white north the uv load just about vanishes for 6 months.
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