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  #1  
Old 10-21-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

I about to have my Ericson 29 taken out of the water to be stored for winter. Is it safe to leave the mast and rigging in place over the winter? The yard said that it may cause stress cracks in the gelcoat because there is no give while the boat''s on stands. It costs $300-$500 to unstep and restep the mast. I''m also concerned about damage to the Harken Roller furling system. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Bob Jasensky
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Old 10-22-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

If your deck hardware is well bedded and there is a good compression post setup below the mast, it should not be a problem. Until last year, I hadn''t dropped my mast (in Maine) since 1995. The yard would probably do more damage banging the mast around stepping and unstepping than could occur simply by leaving the mast standing. Winterize and prevent water intrusion (snow rain) well and it won''t hurt to leave the mast up. You might think about yanking the halyards so they don''t beat themselves to death.....
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Old 10-22-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

I''ve left my mast up for the 4 years i have had my boat. So far so good. The only thing that bothered me was the vibration of the mast when the wind gets heavy. You can feel the whole boat shake under you.
This is why they recommend checking your poppets (stands)to make sure they don''t shake lose and be sure to hook a chain from one stand to the other. This should keep them from sliding out. A new person hauled my boat out last year and when i climbed aboard the boat had settled and was actuall sitting on the poppets and not the keel. I adjusted them lower to put the pressure on the keel where it belongs. Good luck this winter to all of us.
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Old 10-22-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

VIEXILE, Where in Maine do you winter store your boat with the mast stepped? I have not found a Marina up there that allows that unless you stay in the water. What kind of boat are you?/size?
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Old 10-23-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

Devereaux Marine in Penobscot, Great Bay in Newcastle, NH, Winterport Marina in Winterport, ME, Billings Diesel in Stonington, ME. I tend to move around, since I have yet to get into a boatyard that I can say I love. It looks like this year she''s coming down, since I''m in the Carib and the boat''s in SW Harbor. I''ll store it at Pettegrows (the BEST people you can imagine) and have to unstep because they''re out back of town. Don''t want to spend a day in November moving the boat around to Billings or Devereaux''s. The boat''s a 35 Bristol.
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Old 10-24-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

It sounds as if you''ve answered your own question. In Chicago where we have snowy, blowing conditions in winter it just makes sense to take the mast down. With the mast down you can completely cover to boat, stem to stern. This saves weathering of the gel coat, prevents water from melting on those warm days into the spider cracks and freezing again at night which turns the spider cracks into bigger cracks. Bigger cracks must be repaired by costly professionals so as not to damage the integrity of the core. Water also melts and freezes each warming cycle of the winter into the upward facing swaged fittings. Cracks of these fittings and costly replacements will soon follow. One has only to spend a few minutes on a windy winter day to appreciate the big reason why one should take the mast down. It literally shakes your boat apart. The few hundred additional dollars saved by not taking the mast down is penny wise and pound foolish in a northern climate. With all of the damage one can potentially suffer in just one winter season you could get a free mast take down on one of those blustery spring days. The old saying “pay me now or pay me later” applies here. A few weeks lost sailing is simply not worth the pennies saved. Your boat will look better for years by covering it during the winter. Save some money by storing the stick on the boat rather than a spar tree if you want to save bucks! Those that leave their mast up (in the northern climates) are either foolish or lazy!
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Old 10-26-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

Like I said, secure against water intrusion. If you''ve got a boat that''ll give you "a free take down on a blustery spring day" you might consider something with stronger rigging. Winds don''t average any higher in summer than in winter. That argument won''t fly. I used to drop the mast annually, but recall a well-considered article somewhere - Cruising World, Soundings or somewhere - that argued and convinced me that leaving the stick up presented virtually no issues. Of course, folks with an extra $500 or whatever to burn would call us lesser beings lazy or stupid, but hey, me, the yard, my surveyor friend and hundreds of other people that store mast up in Maine must be idiots. ''Course, we ain''t as sharp as some flatlanders.....
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Old 10-26-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

The decision to store your boat with the mast up is not so cut and dry. When a boat in the water is hit by a lot of wind it can distribute the wind load in lot of ways; it can heel over, accellerate and can rotate nearly at will. The loads of the wind are ultimately distributed as water pressure on hull. When a boat is out of the water, it distributes the force of the wind into the jackstand''s small contact patches. With the leverage of the upright mast and the greater area of a mast and rigging left in place, the loads on the jackstands get very large. Over time they can weaken the small areas of the hull where they exert their force.

When I was looking for my Laser 28 I looked at an older C&C that had been left out of the water for quite a few years. The area around the jackstands were dimpled and sounded out as delaminated. Whats more there were two other bad area that we could make out a ghost line which suggested that they were previous jackstand locations.

I have seen other boats that have had damaged areas that suggested jackstand locations. Now these may have been from improperly set jackstands,or from specific incidents but in my opinion storing a boat with the rig up just adds to the likelihood of having damage to you hull during long term storage.

I know its done all of the time, but I am not sure its worth the cost. Here in Maryland it costs about $200 round trip to take a mast for a 28 footer down and put it back up. It gives you the chance to go over your rigging and replace bulbs in the mast mounted lights. All in all its a good idea even if many people elect to leave their spars up.

Jeff
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Old 11-19-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

Just got back from Maine. The Hinckley yard has quite a few boats stored in the yard with the mast up. I trust their judgment. I can''t remember where I saw the article years ago, maybe Practical Sailor or somewhere, but I recall that the stresses imparted by a mast on a boat on hard being termed "negligible."
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Old 11-26-2001
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Winter Storage/Unstep Mast?

I put extra jack stands on my boat and check them often to insure they are not too tight.
The ever changing elements of weather, rain, freezing can cause changes in the ground that the stands rest on and therefore constant readjustment is sometimes necessary.
If you are near your boat yard it is easy as long as you do one at a time.
The great Brewer yards now charges a % extra if you leave your mast up. Their reason is that they must adjust the stands during the winter.
I used them once and that was enough. I was the only one that tightened up the jack stands and believe me mine were not the only ones i saw loose.

ps! Got a nice scratch along the side of my boat and a couple holes drilled unecessarily.
Sorry I wondered off course.
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