While many experienced sailboat owners have their winter routines down to a science, others are constantly debating what the optimal winter storage situation is. One of the debates regularly heard come the off-season is whether one should store their mast down, or up. Those who support unstepping the stick argue that leaving it up provides minimal benefit but to save sailors some effort while putting your mast and rigging at risk. The argument states that winds, weather, vibrations, and loose halyards will all cause undue stress and potential damage to your boat while it sits in storage.  Here are some tips for storing your mast for the winter. 

Generally speaking, regardless of your preference, the mast and rigging should come down at least once every few years. With at least one inspection in between those times. 

Alternatively, some argue that unstepping and restepping a mast is tougher on your wiring, rigging, hands, and wallet. Keeping mast-up for storage will also save you quite a bit of time. It can be a time-consuming process. Mast-up storage is faster and requires less work, and it will save you money when it comes to annual hauling/storage expenses. Keeping it up is usually the cheaper option (if nothing goes catastrophically wrong).

While there is no hard study that supports which is the “best,”, experts still land on the side of mast down storage if you are looking to reduce potential damage and wear to a minimum. With the mast down you also can clean and polish it more easily. 

Your insurance premiums will be about the same for mast-up or mast-down storage. 

The basic options for storing a mast include:

  1. Leaving it up,
  2. Taking it down and self-storing
  3. Storing it inside a “shed.”

The Larsen Marine Spar “Shed”

While such facilities have been referred to as “sheds” for many years, the Larsen Marne facility is anything but a tiny as the term might translate. This spar shed is a modern marvel with modern technology, and techniques used to ensure the absolute best in quality storage. The Larsen Marine facility is used to both store and repair masts within a heated and fully sealed building. Climate controlled and constantly inspected by security and service personnel. The concrete floor is also going to be a lot better for the mast than grass, dirt and falling debris.

Professional spar sheds are the epitome of safe mast storage.  While you may have to pay more, you will be able to rest easy knowing that as soon as the weather thaws you can hit the water with everything working at peak condition.

For more information on caring for your boat let us help!