Nov 7, 2019

CYOB Inbox MastsShould you leave your spar up when you haul?

1. Is this a good idea?

2. Is it sensible to slacken your shrouds?

Gregory Stone, Port Credit


To get some insight into this reader’s question, CYOB called on our pal Rob Mazza, Mechanical Engineer and Naval Architect


Ah, one of the two ages old questions about winter storage, the other being whether to use a cradle or jack stands.

When we had Trillium on the Hudson River in Nyack, NY, for eight years we hauled the boat at local yards and all the boats (or at least the great majority) kept the rig in and mounted the boat on jack stands, not cradles. However, keep in mind that we always hauled with a Travel Lift, not a crane. Trillium originally had a cradle when we trucked her to Florida for that previous four-year adventure, but because we had a lifting dock we never hauled the boat and the cradle subsequently went missing. So when we trucked her to Nyack, the cradle was long gone.

The boats at the Nyack Boat Club did store on cradles, not jack stands since the cradles was used to move the boats around the compound. However, the majority did store with masts in place. 

During our eight years in Nyack the mast was never removed and we did not experience any problems. When we returned to Hamilton and started to haul the boat at Royal Hamilton, it was dictated by the club that the rig did have to be removed. I think the rational for that decision was that rigs had always been removed, as well as the fact that a crane hauled the boats. However, I have heard that by crossing the cross bars boats can also be hauled by crane with their masts still stepped. I should also mention that we were the first sailboat at RHYC to use jack stands due to having previously lost our cradle.  

The advantage of pulling the rig, of course is the ability to check all rigging components and more easily being able to change and repair lights and antennas, etc. But that seems more of a convenience question, not a safety question with regard to keeping the mast in. I suppose during hurricanes, having the mast in place could jeopardize all the boats in that row if one gets blown over, and the mast would certainly increase the windage on that boat substantially. 

So it would seem to be an individual or yard preference if the rig stays in over the winter. If left in, then yes, the rigging should be slackened somewhat to reduce the strain on the hull and chainplates. 

I don't think I provided a definitive answer, did I. ;-) 



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