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  #1  
Old 03-07-2011
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Lightning Strike

I am considering looking at a Lafitte 44 for sale that was struck by lightning. Of course the reason to do this is, it is a design I'm interested in and if the boat once fixed is a bargain, then it could be a good deal.

Is this something I should even consider?

What are some of the things I should be looking for? ( i know of the self-survey post, so aside from that)

Of course the electrical has all been stripped out, so I would need to hire and pay to have it refitted. Any advise here? Anyone done this recently that knows what it should cost? Of course I would wire it to be current and efficient with capability for inverter, batteries, solar and wind generators. The goal here is to be long term or full time cruisers with energy self-sufficiency as much as is practical. Any thoughts on this would be really helpful.
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Old 03-07-2011
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We've had two friends whose boats have been hit by lightning with them aboard: a Beneteau 36.7 and a Bristol 35.5 All the electronics were entirely fried on both boats, and the ceramic antenna on the Bristol's masthead melted. No one was hurt on either boat. As a precaution, I think the Bristol's owner replaced all his through-hulls. A witness claimed that the Bristol "glowed" after being hit, and the police had expected to find bodies when they went out to check. If the hull of your Lafitte passes inspection, it may be an opportunity to get a great deal on new electronics. Both boats are still being happily used by their owners.
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Old 03-07-2011
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Be aware that there could be a lot of other damage, aside from the electrical system. Damage to the hull, including pinholes, delamination, damage to the through-hulls, etc., are all possible.

Re-wiring a boat is a pretty labor intensive thing, and there isn't any way to give you a rough ballpark without knowing what you're installing, and even then, you're going to have a pretty wide range.
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Old 03-07-2011
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curios

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Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Be aware that there could be a lot of other damage, aside from the electrical system. Damage to the hull, including pinholes, delamination, damage to the through-hulls, etc., are all possible.

Re-wiring a boat is a pretty labor intensive thing, and there isn't any way to give you a rough ballpark without knowing what you're installing, and even then, you're going to have a pretty wide range.
Sailingdog,
Is there a way to know what the damage is? Pin holes may be hard to find. Im sure a normal survey wouldnt find these things. What do you suggest?
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Old 03-07-2011
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Also look for carbon tracks.
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Old 03-07-2011
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Quote:
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Sailingdog,
Is there a way to know what the damage is? Pin holes may be hard to find. Im sure a normal survey wouldnt find these things. What do you suggest?
No, I really am not sure how to survey a boat for that type of damage. This is one reason a lot of boats are TL'd after a major lightning strike.
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suppose

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No, I really am not sure how to survey a boat for that type of damage. This is one reason a lot of boats are TL'd after a major lightning strike.
So, I suppose that pin holes would just be leaks?
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carbon tracks

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Also look for carbon tracks.
What do these look like and what do they mean?
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Old 03-07-2011
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I'd say if you talk to your insurance company and they're OK with insuring a boat that was once struck by lightning (and get them to put in writing that they know this, and they will not exclude any damage that is discovered later due to the strike), then buy it! If it has pinholes or something that the survey missed, the insurance will pay to have it fixed. But more than likely, it will be uninsurable... do you want to have an uninsured boat?
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Old 03-08-2011
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My "80 Hunter 30 was hit by lightning while in the slip on Lake Michigan about 13 years ago. It took out the radio, depth sounder, knot meter and every bulb in all of the running lights.. The masthead antennae was charred to a cinder. The wiring was left intact. There were a few strange phenomena; a book in the main salon leaning against a chainplate bolt had a pinhole burned through the cover. Aside from the damage to the instruments, no other damage occurred or has been found in the intervening years.
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