I thought it might be useful to share this summary I wrote (for myself orginally) of the discussion regarding whether to leave biminis and dodgers/sprayhoods up or down when leaving the boat
, whether for a short time or for several months.
Of course the decision depends on many different factors. Things to bear in mind are:
1) how long you are leaving the boat
2) the local wind
conditions eg the Mistral in France
, hurricanes in the Carribbean and elsewhere;
3) what do most other people in the local area do;
4) how quick and easy is it to take down the dodger, balanced against cost of potential damage;
5) the design and construction quality of the bimini and dodger and the supports, can they handle high winds or not;
6) UV degredation of the canvas
and especially the windows in the dodger;
7) dodgers especially are expensive bits of kit, consider using an older cover to protect the decking, instruments
(make sure the cover is properly designed and secured to prevent windage, avoid chafing and taut enough to prevent rain pooling) or can fit a cover/covers over the windows;
8) consider having a cover made for the bimini when it is folded up;
9) always leave the boat prepared for the worst that might happen.
For what it's worth, 8 respondents said they kept their biminis and dodgers up all the time, while 13 took at least one of them down whenever they left the boat or when leaving the boat for long periods or when storms/hurricanes threatened.