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Old 03-19-2003
navtron navtron is offline
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Lightning Anyone?

A point of information...Been sailing offshore many years....been in many lightning storms....some where the night becomes day as the lightning lights up everything like daytime seeing the ocean around you for miles...more severe is when the lightning gets closer (the front)& more intense....instead of just lighting up everything it intensifies so you get a white out...meaning the lightning at first lights up everything...seeing colors of your deck, winches, etc...and then grows in intensity til all color & images are washed out & everything is just super bright white no depth to anything...which at this point you involuntary close and cover your eyes. All of this happens in a matter of 1-3 seconds, which feels like a long time....On one trip from Bermuda to N. Carolina, we encounted a major lightning storm, lightning shooting down everywhere 2, 3, 4, 8 strikes to the water at once over a wide area ...you could see the front (cloud line)on the horizon(north to south,as far as you could see) & coming toward us..it''s amazing how fast it moves. I had a deck stepped mast and decided to disconnect the batteries at the terminals & disconnect all wiring going up the mast..I was thinking if I don''t make any electrical fields, I would not attract the lightning..I had no mast grounding system......as the front got closer the nite turned into day as the lightning strikes lit up the ocean & sky. Again as we merged the white outs began. You could feel the pressure changes on your body as the strikes got closer..the thunder was deafening to a point where it seemed to hurt...the helmsman had rubber gloves on..but not touching the helm..only when needed.(no autopilot w/batteries disconnected)me at the winches port side with storm jib up...We had on our foul weather gear with only our faces showing...at times the wind & pressure came straight down on us..other times being sucked up violently around us...one strike, to this day we don''t know how close...hit fast & hard..causing an immediate white out & the rain on our faces to get so warm we had to wipe the water off our face....As we went thru the front things eased off quickly where we could start breathing again...BUT NO STRIKE!!!....I feel because the mast was not ground the lightning would have to find the mast like in a fog....where a grounded one would have attracted possibly many strikes....Being 200 miles from any landfall I was just glad we didn''t get hit...
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