- Reducing windage is vital, so of course, removing all sails and canvas is a given. Taking the next step, by removing the mast or lowering the vessel into a pit, or even just removing the boom and canvas frameworks, helps reduce wind loads.
Unyielding stands or supports are of no use if the vessel is improperly blocked or if the strapping supports allow for substantial stretch, and it is vitally important to make sure that the anchor points for your straps, chains or wires are spread far enough apart that they are effective in preventing sideways movement.
Employing "soft" hurricane pits with tires in the perimeter might be the most effective manner of supporting a vessel during a hurricane, especially if its mast remains up. But keep in mind the issue of potential storm surge in your area. A vessel in a pit will be more likely to float away than one firmly blocked a few feet higher should the boatyard be flooded.
If a vessel is to be strapped down, sufficient low-stretch strapping must be present to allow for a safety margin to encompass the highest amount of wind force that a hull and rig might encounter (two 10,000-pound straps on each side of a 50-foot boat is not enough, and four on one side might still be insufficient in 200-plus mph hurricane winds).
When supporting your vessel — by jack stands, a cradle or truck tires — be sure to place the supports at bulkheads or other strong points of your hull. Tap around the bottom of your hull with a phenolic hammer to find these strong points. Be sure to check the interior to make sure you are not going to be point loading an area that might not be able to withstand tremendous pressure. Small partial bulkheads or furniture might "sound" solid, but are not capable of withstanding high structural loads.
No matter what preparations you make, understand that even the best efforts might not be enough to prevent a total loss of a vessel. Make sure you carry sufficient insurance, that your insurer is in agreement with your storm plan and, as a final measure, take any personal mementos or special possessions off the boat and store them somewhere safe. Memories last forever, but your boat might not.