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Old 04-09-2012
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay

My SOP is to furl all sail and start the engine the moment I hear thunder or see lightning. We also put the hand-held VHF and cell phones in the microwave to protect them if we are struck by lightning. If it is clear that I am going to be caught by the storm, I immediately head for the deepest/widest water I can. Once I was halfway through the Solomon's Island entrance when I saw a bolt of lightning on the south side of the Patuxent River. I did an immediate 180 and headed toward the center of the river - was glad I did cause the storm hit us in about five minutes and I could not even make out my bow for a while in the worst of it.

I furl the sail because you have no idea what direction or speed the wind will be under the t-head. I start the engine because 1) the sails are furled and 2) I want the engine running if we are struck by lightning. Electronics in the microwave should be safe from EMP in the event of a lightning strike.
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Catalina 350 (hull# 273)
Annapolis, MD

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