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newbie needs help with sail storage


New Member
Hi everyone! My husband and I have just restored a beautiful old sunfish (through you tube videos and elbow grease!) some folks were just giving away. We live on a lake in Maine, so lots of weather. I’ve learned from this forum that it isn’t a good idea to keep the boat in the water overnight/long time between sails....so we’ll pull it up on land between sails. But is it ok to just leave the sail folded up in the boat? Or somehow stretched out over a line? Or do we have to build a shed for it?

In the winter, we have access to good storage. This is just a summer question.

thank you so much in advance!
If the sail has colors, expect the sun to "bleach" random parts of it.

If not, secure it after every use against strong winds. Sudden storms are not the time to "batten down the hatches"! :confused:

If I am leaving the boat close to the shore overnight, I have always wound a line around the sail (halyard or mainsheet) and placed the dagger board on top of it. Sometimes we get very high tides so I might even tie a line from something secure on land to the bow handle.

L&VW is right, if you don't secure things properly when you are done for the day, you will probably be getting up in the middle of the night.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
We don't believe you, we need pictures. You can't just drop in here and say "My husband and I have just restored a beautiful old sunfish...." and not post a picture. Forum Foul!

You need to protect the sail from critter invasions, especially if it is a vintage sail, they only make noisy new plastic sails now. And they will show up in just a few days. Ask me how I know.

Keep an eye on whatever cover you buy, if the sail gets wet mildew can develop, so try to not put the sail away wet. Your area sounds a little drier that the Florida Sauna we live in, we don't keep sails on the boat more than a few days, and when we do we cover the boat with either a SLO Sail and Canvas Spars On Deck cover or SLO Mast up cover. We also have tin roof cover to dolly them under, so we found we liked the Spars On Deck cover more for our setup. And for the Mast Up cover the halyard has to be untied, and retied at the right spot with the right knot. Or take it out of the mast. Then the mast has to come out to put the halyard back in....at that point we decided the Spars On Deck cover worked best for us.

We bring our sail into the garage on the booms, and leave the mast on the deck, the mast acts as a nice ridgepole so water sheds off to the side and doesn't pool over the cockpit. We also leave the rudder and daggerboard on the deck, so a cover helps keep wandering eyes and honest thieves away.

Straps. Get the straps, they are awesome to pull the cover tight.


Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Honest thieves... damn, I guess that counts out politicians, LOL. :confused:

Those are some good suggestions, you could also "build" a small deck using pallets and store your boat atop that deck, using tied-down pool noodles or some other improvised cradle, maybe flip the boat so water doesn't accumulate in the mast step tube. Rattle-can the pallets in OD (Olive Drab) or some other color to lessen the redneck factor. If you store the boat in upright position, you can easily fabricate a "crutch" to fit in the mast step and use that crutch to hold the spars & sail, perhaps with the aid of some other contrivance to hold the spars on the afterdeck. Then a simple tarp will cover everything... probably have to anchor the tarp, depends upon the weight of it. Having those spars to form a ridgeline will ensure that most water rolls right off the tarp, aye? I only include these "nautical ghetto recommendations" because they actually work for those on any kind of budget, LOL. :rolleyes:

The higher the spars & sail are stored off the ground, the less likelihood of critters moving in & setting up shop... and by "critters" I mean rodents, Black Widows, etc. You can easily build a simple wooden rack to hold those spars & sail too, buy the storage bag anyway to lessen exposure. When ya get right down to it, it wouldn't be that hard to build a rack for boat & spars, using two posts, a beam between the posts, a spar rack on one side and a simple cradle for the boat on the other... store the boat on one rail in the cradle, aye? You ever see a hitching rail in a Western? Picture the boat (in her rail cradle) leaning against one side of that hitching rail, the spars & sail (in storage bag) resting on a rack on the other side... cover everything with a tarp and secure it, no worries. Again, I make these suggestions as alternate recommendations, ya might split the difference and leave the hull on shore, everything else stored in the garage. ;)

Okay, I'm back to my cold beer, I'm dealing with some lingering lower back pain from a pinched nerve, and I'm icing that damned nerve down as well... this has NOT been the best year of my life, I can tell ya that much, but I'm soldiering on in true Infantry fashion, LOL. :D

CHEERS!!! And don't sweat it, you'll figure out a good system for storing boat & sail gear, it ain't rocket science... just be sure to use a tarp or cover for the boat and gear if necessary, SOLAR ABUSE is a real thing and will certainly cause problems over time. As one brother of mine always liked to proclaim:


And ya know, he was RIGHT!!! You can lump fiberglass into the plastic category for this not-quite-famous quote... LOL. :cool:
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