Join Date: Jul 2000
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Spark stopper and lightning
I've always been a firm believer and supporter of NON-grounding insulated keel- stepped masts since it makes your boat more likely to get a direct lightning strike but after going through many thunderstorms with lightning bolts striking in the water everywere and very close to my boat, well ... I'm sort of tired of the feeling of squeezing my buttocks zip sealed and of the rattling of my crews' teeth. So I wonder... what about a spark-stopper connecting the keel to the mast?
In short the device can be described as a copper ball connected to the keel bolts with a thick wire or copper mesh. The copper ball is wrapped by a copper semi-sphere which is not touching it but it is maybe a mm away (practically a condenser with an all air-dielectric). The half-sphere is obviously connected to the mast. Supposedly a striking lighting would run down the mast, break the resistence of the air-dielectrik amd discharge thoughout the keel bolts minimizing the damage instead of discharging into water through the fiberglass hull.
I think the same could be achieved with a cluster of spark-plugs screwed in a steel plate while another steel plate holds them by the tips. Bottom plate is wired to the keelbolts while upper plate is wired to the mast.
The question is ... how many spark plugs and will it work????