Furling Main Winter Storage

Jun 4, 2004
101
Hunter 38 Pentwater MI
Have a Hunter 38 with in mast main sail furling in northern Michigan. When I cradle the boat over the winter can I keep the main in the mast or should I remove it and store it in my basement?
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,734
Boston Whaler Super Sport Pt. Judith
I have had such a main on my 44 DS for 13 years and I always struck it, folded it gently, and stowed in a nice cozy spot in my basemen. I can't imagine leaving it in the mast.
 
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Oct 2, 2008
3,584
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
I have seen them left aboard in Florida since winter is relatively warm compared to the northeast. Even in the Chesapeake last year I saw a few. Check with some of the local boaters.

woops, just reread your post, your boat is in Michigan?
 
Sep 11, 2011
330
Hunter 41AC Bayfield WI, Lake Superior
I have done it both ways. On our 41 the main is a beast. I have stored at home, but generally leave it in the cabin over the winter. Last winter, as an experiment, I left it in the mast. There was zero damage, and my de commissioning/ commissioning life was much better. I have always dreaded dealing with the main. I plan to leave it up this year again. If you look at all the warm water boats out there, many of those never come down for years. I would be more worried about mildew in the summer, but that has never been a problem for us.

I am sure I will get flamed for my opinion, but what you ask is viable.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,807
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
We always take our down fold it and store it in the basement. Every year I rotate the head sail or main goes to the loft for inspection and restitching as required. Last year was the main this off season will be the jib.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,774
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Same question came up on these threads and the concensus was to take it down during the winter in cold climates like yours:
Winter Storage of Mainsail for Selden In-mast furling | SailNet Community
In mast furling / winter storage | SailNet Community
Winter Storage of In-Mast Furling? | Catalina 36/375 International Association
Winter Storage of roller furling mainsail inmast or always Pull Down ? - Cruisers & Sailing Forums (cruisersforum.com)

I wonder whether sailors who take their sails down find dirt and spiders accumulated in the mast prior to re-installing their mainsail and bird nests in the boom? That was my experience when I went to re-install the furling mainsail while on the hard for 3 years while living overseas.
 
Last edited:
May 25, 2004
421
Catalina 400 mkII Harbor
our yard is southern mi (trolls) does not allow sails on boats, they are concerned of falling boats on stands. so all sails need to be removed before lifting.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,080
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I am sure I will get flamed for my opinion, but what you ask is viable.
Fear not about opinions that vary from yours here. All sides of the sailing issue are explored and respected here on SBO.

I enjoy the process of preparing my boat for winter. It is like untying my shoes and putting htem away in the closet at night. Sure it would be faster to just kick them off and leave them on the floor where they fall. What would be the harm?

With the sail down it is a time for a look see inspection. How are the sail lugs? Did that flapping in irons shake any threads loose or is the head board showing any chafe? What about the batten pockets? Should I drop the sail off at the loft or is it good to go for next season?

We all have our varied approaches. When I want to go sailing in the winter, it is not for a day sail. So I just reinstall the sail and go. When I get back I put it back away. The winter storms here can unravel a wrapped sail and shred it. Walking the dock after a winter storm lets you see who has a different opinion from you about sail care.
 
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BrianH

.
Feb 14, 2005
88
Hunter 44 LaSalle, MI
It's not only the sail that is impacted. I took it down so that the 6 months the boat was on the hard, the exposed halyard at the top of the mast was in a different spot. Maybe it didn't make a difference but I felt that it would prolong the overall life of the halyard.
 
Oct 2, 2008
3,584
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
Do any of you pull a cover over the slot in the mast. Those can really scream when the wind is just right.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,908
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
My friends with Hunter 33’s with in mast furling all remove their sails for the winter…one year one if the tried putting tape down the sail slot to keep out the dirt out…worked fine until spring when he had a devil if a time peeling the tape and adhesive off…not sure what he used, but he was cursing it for a week!

Greg
 
Apr 11, 2010
856
Hunter 38 Whitehall MI
Knew someone who left theirs up. Michigan too although I’m not sure that made a difference. After a few years the loop at the top of the main that is used to pull the sail up rotted and let go while out sailing. Sail dropped some. Wind was blowing fairly strongly. They couldn’t furl the main and couldn’t get it down. Was a bit scary for them. When they finally did get it down they had to have someone go up the mast to retrieve the halyard.
After that they took it down every year.

Ive always taken mine down as it’s a good time to have the sail inspected for chafe and needed repairs. Every other year I have the sail cleaned as well.
 
Jun 4, 2004
101
Hunter 38 Pentwater MI
I have had such a main on my 44 DS for 13 years and I always struck it, folded it gently, and stowed in a nice cozy spot in my basemen. I can't imagine leaving it in the mast.
Are you in Michigan?
 
Jun 4, 2004
101
Hunter 38 Pentwater MI
I have done it both ways. On our 41 the main is a beast. I have stored at home, but generally leave it in the cabin over the winter. Last winter, as an experiment, I left it in the mast. There was zero damage, and my de commissioning/ commissioning life was much better. I have always dreaded dealing with the main. I plan to leave it up this year again. If you look at all the warm water boats out there, many of those never come down for years. I would be more worried about mildew in the summer, but that has never been a problem for us.

I am sure I will get flamed for my opinion, but what you ask is viable.
Ice Breaker. I had a Hunter 38 from 2007 until 2019 cruising the Texas gulf, Florida and the Bahamas. I always kept the main in the mast and went through four hurricanes with no damage to the sail or halyard both docked and on to the hard. The fifth hurricane was hurricane Dorian in the. Abaco islands and the boat was totaled and of course dis masted. I now have different Hunter 38 in Northern Michigan and would like to leave the main in the mast but not sure about mildew etc. Any thoughts?
 
Apr 8, 2011
465
Hunter 36 Deale, MD
I pull my sails off every winter on the Chesapeake to have them inspected for needed repairs and be washed by a loft. Not very expensive and helps extend their life. Plus they look better. But as importantly I inspect and service the in-mast and jib furling systems as well. In-mast furling really needs attention every year to ensure it works reliably. Anyway, no judgment, ymmv.
 
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Sep 11, 2011
330
Hunter 41AC Bayfield WI, Lake Superior
Ice Breaker. I had a Hunter 38 from 2007 until 2019 cruising the Texas gulf, Florida and the Bahamas. I always kept the main in the mast and went through four hurricanes with no damage to the sail or halyard both docked and on to the hard. The fifth hurricane was hurricane Dorian in the. Abaco islands and the boat was totaled and of course dis masted. I now have different Hunter 38 in Northern Michigan and would like to leave the main in the mast but not sure about mildew etc. Any thoughts?
Pat:

The only mildew that I have experienced is around and under the spreader patches. This all happens in the summer. Last winter was the first time that I left the main up and when we unfurled for the first time everything was fine. So my experience is limited, but given your first hand experience, in TX, leaving it up in norther MI or norther WI, should be much better. I do wash the sails every couple of years to get the bugs and mildew out. Also, I am sitting on a cradle all winter, so there are no sail stands to worry about. There was another commenter talking about the top webbing rotting out, but at our latitudes, the winter UV is Zero. I believe that you will have good success with what ever you choose to do. And just for everyone to understand I do drop the sail every year to lube the bearings and do inspections.
 
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Jun 1, 2009
1,363
Hunter 49 toronto
Pat:

The only mildew that I have experienced is around and under the spreader patches. This all happens in the summer. Last winter was the first time that I left the main up and when we unfurled for the first time everything was fine. So my experience is limited, but given your first hand experience, in TX, leaving it up in norther MI or norther WI, should be much better. I do wash the sails every couple of years to get the bugs and mildew out. Also, I am sitting on a cradle all winter, so there are no sail stands to worry about. There was another commenter talking about the top webbing rotting out, but at our latitudes, the winter UV is Zero. I believe that you will have good success with what ever you choose to do. And just for everyone to understand I do drop the sail every year to lube the bearings and do inspections.
You are going away on a 4 month vacation, and have 2 choices :
Leave all the food in your fridge (at home) and figure you’ll just clean up the stink when you get back., What’s the big deal?? Just take a hose to it, dump out the stuff that doesn’t walk out on its own, and give a good scrub
Or, take some pride in your surroundings, and do it properly, walking it out to a gleaming box that you’ll be happy to re-stuff at the end of your vacation

why on earth would you do this, other than the fact that it’sLess effort, and a pristine white fridge internet doesn’t mean that much to you
The long term service you get from a boat is directly related to ho well you are willing to maintain all systems, and with how much passion you carry this out.
Why anti foul every year? It’s under water, and who’s going to see it??
Well..
You
The potential next owner,
And a competent surveyor.
Leaving the main in is a shortcut. Out of sight, out of mind.
When you are making a decision such as this, just picture y it yourself as the future buyer. This is a true test of wherher thjngs are willing to do
 

Dan_Y

.
Oct 13, 2008
505
Hunter 36 Hampton
One issue to point out. Our '08 h36 was 7 years old when we bought it. During the sailing survey the main looked good. I dropped it and had it inspected and found the dacron brittle and easily split with finger pressure all along the leach to a depth of about 8-10 inches. It was sunburnt -bad. The sail was always rigged and apparently the mast slot always faced south when in the slip, exposing the dacron to direct UV for 7years. It was more cost effective for the loft to simply hollow out the leech to good cloth and reseam. That got me by for two years until i had them make new sails. Remembering the problem, they added an extra layer of dacon over the leach as a sunshield and it helps reduce leech flutter a little since i didn't have the vertical battens put back in.

While its tempting to leave it up, we take it down for the winter to reduce UV exposure. I like the idea above of taking one sail in for inspection each year. Helps spread out the cost.

The selden tips book shows that there is a strip that inserts into the small bolt rope slot on one side of the mast slot and can be hoisted, but its purpose was to stop the mast from whistling on days when its blowing across the slot. I have emailed and called selden in NC or SC to buy one, but never hear back. I could hoist it with the topping lift since we have a ridged vang.
Dan