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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-28-2008
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lightning protection

Well I have been reading some discussions on this and i'm confused on which way to go.
this past wknd we were coming back from Shelter Island NY to home port in Old Saybrook Ct we were sorrounded by t-storms nothing real close, but we had to anchor outside our harbor(ITA) for about an hr till the tide gave me enough water to get in at one point my wife went out in the ****pit and then called me out to ask what the noise was - the mast was buzzing with static- it shortly went away.
? any way prevent this? We have a 1978 28' Newport I don't beleive I have any grounding. Suggestions? two yrs ago I got hit at the dock, had to replace VHF, depth finder, and al nav lighting.
Can't get enough of sailing!!!
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Old 07-28-2008
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I wouldn't recommend grounding the boat. There are two schools of thought on this...

The first is that you should bond and ground the boat. While some think this reduces the severity of damage in the case of a lightning strike, it is also thought to increase the chances of your boat getting struck.

The second is that you shouldn't bond or ground the mast/shrouds/etc. While some think this reduces your chance of getting hit, others believe that it will result in greater damage if you are hit.

Basically, if you're happy with the way your boat is... leave it alone.
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Old 07-28-2008
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Except for through-hull fittings, it's pretty tough not to at least inadvertently ground the mast and associated hardware due to all of the wiring in the mast. I agree with doing what ever makes you happy because I don't think anything is going to save a boat from being extraordinarily damaged from a direct lightening strike.
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Old 08-21-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sander06 View Post
Except for through-hull fittings, it's pretty tough not to at least inadvertently ground the mast and associated hardware due to all of the wiring in the mast. I agree with doing what ever makes you happy because I don't think anything is going to save a boat from being extraordinarily damaged from a direct lightening strike.
But what about the crew? I thought grounding the rigging to the engine block was pretty standard, but was suprised to learn my Catalina 36 was not wired that way at the factory.

The explanation given was that they feared it would give a false sense of security and that due to their nature grounding systems were difficult to inspect for long term maintenance. The manual suggested sailing where lightning was not a threat. Ok, great, I'll just sail my 36' boat indoors!!!! WTF.

The owners manual also contained the then current standards for grounding systems, if an owner wanted to install a system, but I'm perplexed for the very reasons raised here. Grounding would seem to make you a more likely target and the damage is likely to be pretty bad either way so whats an owner to do?

The real question for me is are the occupants of the boat safer if its grounded or not grounded. Sailing where lightning is not a threat is not a good answer for me. Thunderstorms can pop up all through the sailing season on the Chesapeake.

Any good evidence that the crew is safer one way or the other?
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Old 08-21-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
But what about the crew? I thought grounding the rigging to the engine block was pretty standard, but was suprised to learn my Catalina 36 was not wired that way at the factory.

The explanation given was that they feared it would give a false sense of security and that due to their nature grounding systems were difficult to inspect for long term maintenance. The manual suggested sailing where lightning was not a threat. Ok, great, I'll just sail my 36' boat indoors!!!! WTF.
Gonna need a pretty big building and some huge fans...

Quote:
The owners manual also contained the then current standards for grounding systems, if an owner wanted to install a system, but I'm perplexed for the very reasons raised here. Grounding would seem to make you a more likely target and the damage is likely to be pretty bad either way so whats an owner to do?

The real question for me is are the occupants of the boat safer if its grounded or not grounded. Sailing where lightning is not a threat is not a good answer for me. Thunderstorms can pop up all through the sailing season on the Chesapeake.

Any good evidence that the crew is safer one way or the other?
There is some evidence that the damage done to a properly grounded and bonded boat is a bit less severe, since there is a path for the lightning to follow, and it is less likely to side-flash. However, there is evidence that grounded boats do get hit more often...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 08-21-2008
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This subject comes up often. Me, I let go of the wheel at the flash Seriously, I read about special tape placed on the nose cones of aircraft that has helped deter most all damage from lightning strikes. Any hope of that re sailboats?
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The real kicker for me is the terrestrial data (there is a lot more of that). What vehicles are struck most by lightning? The big tall 18 wheelers are always out on the open road in all weather in large numbers - but they are almost never struck. It's farm tractors with gear in the ground. Yes, they are out in the open, but have you seen the interstates and major highways in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas? There are way more trucks just as exposed, but they aren't grounded and they don't get hit.
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I was driving in my pick up truck in a terrible lighting and rain storm, when lighting hit the bumper of the car in front of me and then seemed to bounce off of the car's bumper and hit my trucks bumper with a huge flash of light that blinded me. There were burn marks on my chrome bumper.

Quote:
There are way more trucks just as exposed, but they aren't grounded and they don't get hit.
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That's just cause of your magnetic personality.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Quote:
Free-

That's just cause of your magnetic personality.
Finally, you see the light
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