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Old 09-29-2009
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bentmast is on a distinguished road
Lightning Damage?

Today I took a quick look at a 1987 Catalina 27' that had been struck by lightning. It looks like most of the wiring is burnt as well as part of the breaker panel and the limited electronics (Knot & Depth). I'm OK. with rewiring the boat and repairing/replacing the breaker panel and electronics, but would a lightning striking the mast cause any structural damage to the aluminum mast or fiberglass that would not be easily seen? How about the inboard motor? The boats on the hard and I plan to take a good look at it tomorrow and want to know what areas I should pay close attention. As far as rewiring....Does anyone know if the wires pass through conduit or is it sandwiched in the fiberglass?

Thanks in advance,
Chris
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Old 09-29-2009
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The album of Ariel #422 - Page 14 - Pearson Ariel Association Forums

Towards the bottom of the page shows the result of a lightning strike.

Some masts are heat treated, most are 'soft' with the sole treatment being a controlled cooling fom the extrusion process. Would be good to find out what type you have before making a good guess.
sounds as though the lightning took the wiring down instead of the mast, so odds are good that the mast is fine. Look for discoloration.
As for possible fiberglass damage as shown in the link, your nose is your freind because singed fiberglass has a distinct smell that's different from plain 'old' fiberglass.
The lightning had to go somewhere, so be sure to check around the through hulls and anywhere that there is metal close to the hull. Damage to fiberglass is normally from the resin burning and leaving just the glass so you can often feel a soft spot.

Ken.
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