Re: Winter storage on Great Lakes
Difference in jack stands vs. cradle is minimal if any. My 2007 Catalina 309 has a factory cradle, which should be correct for the boat, right? Right. BUT...the marina that put the boat on the cradle and raised the cradle at the bow to allow for rain run-off raised it too much, putting big dimples in the hull that resulted in considerable damage. Here's the big surprise... note sarcasm...they said it was customer error.
I switched marinas and now have a totally different level of service.
Think about this. You boat is lifted with lifting straps. They tend to fall into the gravel and get grit on them. Then they get wrapped around your topsides and have a few tons of downforce on them. Guess what happens to your gelcoat if the marina doesn't use nice clean fluffy pads between your boat and the straps?
My previous marina was the biggest in this area, but didn't use any padding.
Moral of story is that to protect your boat in the off season, it's more about choosing a marina that will take care of it. Ask, ask, ask. And don't ask powerboaters, ask sailors. Do they pad? Do they listen to their customers or are they jerks.