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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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Old 05-08-2014
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Concern about lightning strikes

I am a 'trailer sailor' in the process of doing major restoration on a Spirit 23 and would like to leave the mast up while working on the boat in my yard. I have a fear of lightning though, having had the boat parked next to mine in a dry storage lot at the local lake sustain a lightning strike. Ironically the boat was a lightning class, my boat then was a scout. The memory of the hole in the bottom of that boat still haunts me. Has anyone comments about leaving the mast up?
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Old 05-08-2014
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

If you want to feel safer just pound a piece of rebar into the ground and then use jumper cables from the mast to the rebar.
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

Thanks for your reply. I had wondered if something like that would be helpful.
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Old 05-09-2014
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Concern about lightning strikes

That may help your fear, not sure it would actually work.
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Old 05-10-2014
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

Why wouldn't it work? It is the same way buildings are grounded. You're just giving the lightning a path to the ground that doesn't include the hull.


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Old 05-10-2014
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

You don't know how much electricity might suddenly arrive at the top of the mast. It depends totally on the friction generated in the air by updrafts and downdrafts. There might be enough to simply melt battery cables, or even three sets of battery cables. Is your mast wood? The sudden superheating of any moisture in a wooden mast has been known to blow them apart with the expanding steam. A good electrical path with hefty cables is better than nothing, but, you never know. Hopefully, (unlike your Lightning neighbor) you never find out!
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

Sure. You must take every situation into consideration. However, given an aluminum mast with sufficient grounding and cables you should be able to offset your concern of lightening damage.


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Old 05-11-2014
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

Quote:
Originally Posted by helmsovr View Post
Sure. You must take every situation into consideration. However, given an aluminum mast with sufficient grounding and cables you should be able to offset your concern of lightening damage.


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Lol, not a chance. I have seen a 35' bonded boat with full lightning protection with its keel bolts blown off.

The only real protection from lightning is to not be hit. Everything else is to deal with the static from near by strikes not direct ones.
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Old 05-11-2014
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

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...
The only real protection from lightning is to not be hit....
Agreed.
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Re: Concern about lightning strikes

Hmm thanks for the insight.

-Glen
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