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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is that time of year on Lake Erie. Boat haul-out date is mid-October :(
This is the end of my first season at this marina with this boat (1973 Catalina 27). Most people here drop their masts and store them on communal racks separate from the boats, which are on trailers or cradles. It seems an awful lot of work to de-rig drop and store the mast, then raise and re-rig the mast at the beginning of next season. I'm a firm believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", so I wondered about leaving the mast up for the off season.
The thinking behind storing masts off the boats seems to be that it avoids excess wear on the mast during off season boat storage. But (to the eyes of this novice) wouldn't the wear and tear on the mast be miniscule compared to the beating it takes during the sailing season.
What do you guys think?
 

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Yard policy often determines whether boats get stored with their masts in or not. Yards that have had boats blow over in winter storms may have insurance companies that require boats to pull their masts. Our yard allows storage with the mast up, but we pull it every few years so that we can inspect it carefully- inch by inch- for any problems. These would include excessive wear, cracks, corrosion, or chafe of the mast, halyards, stays and shrouds, fittings and fixtures.
 

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I've pulled my mast once every 4 or 5 years. as Paul mentioned, it's a good time to inspect everything. Since this is your 1st season with it, it might be worthwhile to pull it and inspect this year. (Unless it was done recently).
I would also recommend a good canvas winter cover if you don't have one, if your budget allows. That in itself will prevent a lot of wear and tear on the boat. (Especially given your neighborhood) My cover works, both mast up or down.
 

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Dirt Free
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It is that time of year on Lake Erie. Boat haul-out date is mid-October :(
This is the end of my first season at this marina with this boat (1973 Catalina 27). Most people here drop their masts and store them on communal racks separate from the boats, which are on trailers or cradles. It seems an awful lot of work to de-rig drop and store the mast, then raise and re-rig the mast at the beginning of next season. I'm a firm believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", so I wondered about leaving the mast up for the off season.
The thinking behind storing masts off the boats seems to be that it avoids excess wear on the mast during off season boat storage. But (to the eyes of this novice) wouldn't the wear and tear on the mast be miniscule compared to the beating it takes during the sailing season.
What do you guys think?
I wouldn't worry about leaving the mast up on a 27'.
35' and up ... absolutely not ! A vessel in a cradle (thats important) above that size will take tremendous stresses in a winter storm. Go onboard a larger vessel is a cradle during a winter storm and the creaking and groaning can be deafening. It's not the mast that suffers, it's the boat
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yard policy often determines whether boats get stored with their masts in or not. Yards that have had boats blow over in winter storms may have insurance companies that require boats to pull their masts. Our yard allows storage with the mast up, but we pull it every few years so that we can inspect it carefully- inch by inch- for any problems. These would include excessive wear, cracks, corrosion, or chafe of the mast, halyards, stays and shrouds, fittings and fixtures.
great point about yard policy. I will check with them and find out
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've pulled my mast once every 4 or 5 years. as Paul mentioned, it's a good time to inspect everything. Since this is your 1st season with it, it might be worthwhile to pull it and inspect this year. (Unless it was done recently).
I would also recommend a good canvas winter cover if you don't have one, if your budget allows. That in itself will prevent a lot of wear and tear on the boat. (Especially given your neighborhood) My cover works, both mast up or down.
I bought my boat from a guy at this marina at the beginning of the season. The mast was down then, and he and I rigged it (me mostly getting in the way) before purchase. It looked good at the time and has been fine all season. The canvas cover seems like a good idea regardless. I will look into getting one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I wouldn't worry about leaving the mast up on a 27'.
35' and up ... absolutely not ! A vessel in a cradle (thats important) above that size will take tremendous stresses in a winter storm. Go onboard a larger vessel is a cradle during a winter storm and the creaking and groaning can be deafening. It's not the mast that suffers, it's the boat
Thanks boatpoker. I feel more confident about leaving the mast up ...if marina permits.
 

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It really depends more on where you are, and the chances the boat will tip over in high winds. Where we are in Erie, Pa, we're protected from the higher winds off the lake so no big deal and most store mast up. Also, may matter to the marina whether you're on stands or have a cradle. Do look into a winter cover. Well worth the expense in the long term. Pretty much forget tarps. They'll blow off.
 

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I bought my boat from a guy at this marina at the beginning of the season. The mast was down then, and he and I rigged it (me mostly getting in the way) before purchase. It looked good at the time and has been fine all season. The canvas cover seems like a good idea regardless. I will look into getting one.
For many seasons I had a high quality canvas-like deck tent made by ShipShape Products Inc - Boat and Marine Canvas and Upholstery. Excellent quality for half the price.
 

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We stored mast down for decades. Incidences include cut wires, mast dropped on deck and cracking it, thru-cabin pipe for wiring sheared off, vhf coax connector ripped off, masthead light shattered, furling drum dragged through stones, and boat rigged wrong. I’m sure there are others.

this year it’s mast up. 37’ 16000 lbs. on cradle. With a custom cover.

we also previously stored indoors. The difference between outdoors mast up and indoors is $1,4000. That adds up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It really depends more on where you are, and the chances the boat will tip over in high winds. Where we are in Erie, Pa, we're protected from the higher winds off the lake so no big deal and most store mast up. Also, may matter to the marina whether you're on stands or have a cradle. Do look into a winter cover. Well worth the expense in the long term. Pretty much forget tarps. They'll blow off.
I hadn't thought about a good winter cover. Great suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We stored mast down for decades. Incidences include cut wires, mast dropped on deck and cracking it, thru-cabin pipe for wiring sheared off, vhf coax connector ripped off, masthead light shattered, furling drum dragged through stones, and boat rigged wrong. I’m sure there are others.

this year it’s mast up. 37’ 16000 lbs. on cradle. With a custom cover.

we also previously stored indoors. The difference between outdoors mast up and indoors is $1,4000. That adds up.
Some horror stories there. Ouch! And indoor storage doesn't seem worth the mast down hassle and price difference. Outdoor with a cover is sounding better and better. Thank you!
 

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Have done both. Currently mostly store up, as does almost everyone, everywhere. Outside of the GL it seems to be far more common to be mast-up. And I’m talking larger boats, not just small ones.

If it were common for boats to be damaged by this practice, the evidence would be all too clear in the numbers. I’ve not seen any issues.

So store up if you want (and are allowed). Bring the mast down every 5 years for a good inspection.
 

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Herreshoff/Vaitses Meadowlark
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The policy at my yard is that masts must be down unless the boat is in a cradle. If it's on jackstands the mast must be dropped.

The next marina over allows masts to stay up.

The difference? My yard stores boats on gravel and dirt, the marina on concrete and asphalt.
 

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Legend 37.5
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If you leave the mast up, you can still replace your halyards with a less expensive line to avoid having them exposed all winter.
This is a great plan that can’t be stressed enough. Halyards take a beating against mast and particularly spreaders. Attach some thin strong cheap line to the bitter end and pull that through.

though not the primary topic, indoor storage does make a difference over years. Ours stored indoors suffered far Fewer stress cracks, spider cracks, and leaks than those outdoors. If we paid $400k for a new boat darned right it would be indoors.

personally I’d not store mast up on jackstands. Yes I see it done all the time. And I’ve seen more than a dozen boats toppled. As said on hard ground it should be OK but I’m still not comfortable with it.
 

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Herreshoff/Vaitses Meadowlark
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Masts on my own boat are on tabernacles. Getting them up and down takes some time and effort, but I don't need to pay anyone to do it. I can do it with the onboard winch.
 

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Old soul
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The policy at my yard is that masts must be down unless the boat is in a cradle. If it's on jackstands the mast must be dropped.

The next marina over allows masts to stay up.

The difference? My yard stores boats on gravel and dirt, the marina on concrete and asphalt.
Personally, I prefer stands to a cradle. Unless the cradle is exactly designed for your particular boat, it's much easier to position stands properly. Even if the cradle is designed for the boat, it's still harder to get the boat just right. With stands, it's a no-brainer.

I've spent a lot of time on both stands and cradles, in both paved and dirt yards. I don't think stands are any more likely to move and shift than a cradle on soft ground. But obviously, the yard owners must know best what works for them.
 
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