Bene, as I understand it the lightning rod does not "grab" static from the sky, but rather it allows the GROUND CHARGE to bleed off UP into the sky. When there is a trike, normally the ground charge goes UP creating a path of ionized air, and then the cloud strike comes DOWN that same (more of less) path, creating the damage.
A pointed rod apparently can discharge ions better than a rounded or blunt rod, which is why some makers were using "bottle brush" designs with many fine wires at the tip, since each fine pointed wire end allows another point where ions can bleed off.
If someone on a sailboat had a blunt lightning rod--it wasn't for performance reasons.
This is CORRECT. Lightning isn't attracted to the points, per se (though they certainly can be hit)... but static dissipation is the point (no pun intended) here.
As a charged area in the sky, a cloud usually or an area of clouds, moves past, it DRAGS ALONG BEHIND it an opposite charge looking for a place to go. In a static discharge (which lightning is that exactly) the ground charge will pull up a "grounded system" and the points on several lightning rods will force a static discharge, slower than a direct lightning discharge into the space around it.
This is why lightning rod systems on buildings include many, many points, all connected electrically together, and then tied to a ground path.
In a very powerful build up of static, many hundreds of thousands of coulombs of energy can be ready to discharge. Sometimes, even a lightning rod system can't stop it from happening!
I've had, over the course of about 19 years, about 6 or 7 very close strikes. I have a 20 foot tower, plus another 10 or so feet of antenna above the house. I've had wooden fences hit, trees next door and even the house down the hill from me (about 30 feet lower in altitude) - but my tower hasn't been hit (knock wood).
I usually keep my antenna systems grounded through a switch when not in use.
But you never know!
I was present at a friend's house many years ago when his CB antenna was stuck. Fiberglass antenna. It was pretty much vaporized, the coax cable melted and the radio was thrown across the room. His desk, the curtains and nearby electrical outlets caught fire. The breakers in the house and several neighboring homes were tripped. The phone system was pretty much obliterated in the neighborhood as well.
I've been "involved" in two near misses myself, both of which hurt like hell. Lightning hits what it wants to hit, when it feels like it, and the rest of the time it will spare you and your equipment.
Even with protection - you can still be struck. BUT, remember this, protection is BEST used to protect your equipment and persons than ignoring it.