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sail on or sail off?

1166 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  PaulinVictoria
There was a discussion on our dock the other evening, as the realization that the end of summer sailing season was inevitable. Among those with in-mast mainsail furlers the question was whether to leave the sail in the mast during outside winter storage (in Michigan) or to take the sail down and store at home with the jib. We took our mainsail down last year and I understand it would be easier to keep it up come spring time, but I felt better taking it down and storing.

Anyone have any experience keeping their mainsail in the mast over the winter?
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No personal experience storing an in-mast main over winter, but I'd probably opt to take it down. At the very least, that allows for a closer end-of-season inspection of the sail and furling gear so there aren't any surprises in the spring. That would also protect the sail from any water/ice that may find its way into the mast track/sail and potentially cause problems.

How hard is it to take the main off?
Definetely would take it down. Although my main was not roller furling the local loft had a great service. Take the sail to them at the end of season, they inspect it and repair as needed, fold it and store it for the winter. Inspection and storage was $25 for each sail. Repairs of course are additional, but most times were minor. Great service, and if for some reason they miss something they come to the boat, take the sail, repair it, and put it back on. In ten years never had a problem.
I can't imagine one single positive in leaving the sail up for the winter. Not one, can you?
I have no personal experience with furling mast.
I'm assuming you leave the mast up during winter.

The mast is not sealed from the elements so dirt and grime in the air will get into the mast and onto the sail?

The clew of the sail will be exposed as you cant get that part into the mast?

We have sail with lazy bag (or whatever you call is :) we take the sail off in the winter and drop the sail off at the sailmaker for inspection/maintenance and storage. They don't charge much for this service.
Take it off, but do whatever it takes to quiet the furling gear. Last winter and spring everyone on our dock got to listen to the in mast gear on one boat clang away. Not to bad for me on the far side of the dock but the guy on the other side of the finger had to listen to that racket until the owner showed up in June.
I experienced winter in Chicago. I wouldn't leave out an army tank in that.
At least spring comes you would get to inspect it before putting it up again.
Off to a clean, dry place. That little space in your mast is neither during a snow storm.

Step the mast and have it stored inside or at least cover it.
I sail year-round so my sails stay on the boat year round-too, but if I didn't, I'd have them stored somewhere cool, dry and safe for the season.
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