But what about the crew? I thought grounding the rigging to the engine block was pretty standard, but was suprised to learn my Catalina 36 was not wired that way at the factory.
The explanation given was that they feared it would give a false sense of security and that due to their nature grounding systems were difficult to inspect for long term maintenance. The manual suggested sailing where lightning was not a threat. Ok, great, I'll just sail my 36' boat indoors!!!! WTF.
Gonna need a pretty big building and some huge fans...
The owners manual also contained the then current standards for grounding systems, if an owner wanted to install a system, but I'm perplexed for the very reasons raised here. Grounding would seem to make you a more likely target and the damage is likely to be pretty bad either way so whats an owner to do?
The real question for me is are the occupants of the boat safer if its grounded or not grounded. Sailing where lightning is not a threat is not a good answer for me. Thunderstorms can pop up all through the sailing season on the Chesapeake.
Any good evidence that the crew is safer one way or the other?
There is some evidence that the damage done to a properly grounded and bonded boat is a bit less severe, since there is a path for the lightning to follow, and it is less likely to side-flash. However, there is evidence that grounded boats do get hit more often...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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