It is important to take care in storing your boat and gear for the winter. Derig the boat and coil the lines.  Wash the hull and get all excess grime salt and sand out of and off the boat. Once the boat is clean let the boat air out for a few days, it is important that you make sure the boat is COMPLETELY dry. Standing water will freeze and could crack the hull.

If you have an indoor location for your boat to sit on its dolly or trailer, you are golden.  If your boat is going to rough it outside for the winter there are a few things you can do to make sure that it is a little bit more comfortable.  First of all, we need to make sure that there will be little to no snow build up on the boat.  Shrink wrap would be the best, however most costly, solution.  The next best idea is to cover your boat with its standard cover. Make sure the straps are tight and check regularly for snow build up.  Smaller boats like Optis and Lasers, can be flipped over on saw horses and stored that way.  The biggest rule of thumb is to keep the boat off the ground.

Now that your baby is all tucked in for the winter, what to do with her sails, spars and blades?  The blades and spars are pretty easy and can live with the boat.  I would suggest that the boom and blades be protected by the cover, if possible.  If the mast is going to be left outside for the winter, take the halyards, stays, and blocks off.  It is a pain, I know, but it will help the longevity of your rigging, and save you some cash in the long run.

Last but not least, your sails.  Take really good care of these bad boys.  Unroll and let dry out completely before storage. You don’t want to be that guy on the starting line with a big mildew stain above your sail number. Once they are dry roll the sail up and put it in a safe place, to avoid getting wrinkled.