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wow! that is quite a story , capn dave. i believe steel boats are safer. when we boarded my friend's 40 ft steel ketch a number of years ago we found the vhf antenna on the deck. it had been hit by lightning, but the radio & everything else was OK ! perhaps the strike had a lot lower voltage.
I've wondered if a steel boat (assuming it has both steel hull and deck) isn't like a faraday cage....
From What is Faraday cage? - Definition from Whatis.com
A Faraday cage is a metallic enclosure that prevents the entry or escape of an electromagnetic field (EM field
). An ideal Faraday cage consists of an unbroken, perfectly conducting shell. This ideal cannot be achieved in practice, but can be approached by using fine-mesh copper screening. For best performance, the cage should be directly connected to an earth ground
A heavy-duty Faraday cage can protect against direct lightning strikes. When properly connected to an earth ground, the cage conducts the high current harmlessly to ground, and keeps the EM pulse from affecting personnel or hardware inside.
....my guess (and it's obviously only a guess) is a strike at the top of my mast would run to the deck and then either down the box beam that supports the mast to the keel, or around the deck plate to the hull plates to the keel.
Anyone know how it works with steel vessels?
Last edited by billyruffn; 08-16-2009 at 01:35 PM.