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  #11  
Old 05-10-2006
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Haffiman

Strike # 12 is indeed strange. It was at least 15 years ago, so the details are no longer fresh in my memory. All I can say is that when i checked the rig, which was up all winter, I found a burned spot above the spreader. There were no power lines in the boat yard so that is not an option.

I cannot say that the spot was not there at the time of winter layup - I can just say that I check the rig every spring and it was not there in the spring a year earlier.

It seemed to me, that unless some vandal went up my mast with a torch and put that burn mark there - enough to cut through one or two of the SS strands in the upper shroud above the spreader - lightning was the only resonable explanation.
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2006
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Irwin 32 !! my boat was hit by lightning this year and my battery charger exploded and all my electronics were fried . My outboard engine was ruined also . Boats on either side of me were untouched . Lightning does not read the rule books , so try anything you think will help and hope for the best . I think the lightning hit the dock and followed the power cord into my boat . Ken
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2006
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This seems to be a recurring thread about lightning. My take on the "brushes" is that they can help and I have never had anyone suggest that they can do harm. First of all, they are not "lightning dissipators" and anyone reading this thread should realize that they are not intended to protect you from a lightning strike, as far as I know there is nothing on the market yet that can do that. What they are purported to do is bleed of ions from the boat and lessen the likelyhood of a lightning strike. They dissipate potential. Personally I hope it does this well as I have one installed on a full keel fiberglass boat that is not bonded. The statistics I have read on the internet state that a bonded boat is twice as likely to be struck by lightning as a boat that is not. The sad inverse of the statistic is that an unbonded boat is twice as likely to have catastrophic damage- as in a big hole in the hull and dead sailors. I have some things to overcome in order to effectively bond my boat because of the encapsulated full keel in the way of the "direct path to ground"
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  #14  
Old 10-23-2006
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From what I understand of the way the "brushes" work, they won't do much of anything unless they are properly grounded.
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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
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #15  
Old 10-23-2006
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Would something like a dynaplate constitute proper grounding of a brush?
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  #16  
Old 10-23-2006
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No, a dynaplate, which is generally made up of sintered bronze spheres, gives a lot of surface area but is not a proper ground for a lightning system and can actually be detrimental in the case of a lightning strike...as the water that is trapped within the porous nature of the plate can superheat and vaporize and essentially detonate the plate into tiny bronze shrapnel.

A proper ground for a lightning system is a heavy copper plate, preferably tinned, that has at least four linear feet of edge, as it is the edges that tend to dissapate lightning, not mere surface area. A long strip that is two inches wide, and three feet long is better than a plate that is one foot square, and often easier to incorporate into the hull.
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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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  #17  
Old 10-23-2006
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SD et all,

Physics was never my favorite subject, but it seems logical to me that for a disspator to work properly, the boat would need to be grounded. I put a large one on my last boat and lived in Fort Myers, where there are very severe lightning storms every day. I was never struck, other boats around me were. My mast was the tallest. Did the dissipator save me??? Only God knows that.

Not to dig up an old thread about grounding versus not grounding, but if you ground your boat and do not think you are seriously increasing your chances of getting struck, I think you are kidding yourself. However, if you don't... better be prepared for the consequences if you do get bit.

I have heard the static popping on the mast. Eerie. A disspator is not going to save, just reduce the odds that you get hit and instead smack your neighbor (and maybe curve back around and hit you). I guess my thought is: Why not? For the small cost involved, why not put on a dissipator? You can't even buy a decent hand held GPS for the cost of one.

If you want to ground your boat, it still seems logical to me that you can use some South Island Ingenuity and just wrap your chain around the shrounds and toss the anchor over. If there is tension on it, it would seem a better conductor than plastic.

Just some thoughts.
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  #18  
Old 10-23-2006
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About the charge dissipators, by reducing the charge they reduce the probability of being hit. It is known that when a lightning cloud (also know as cumulus-boomulus) passes over land it induces a positive charge on the land below. Then the lightning is attracted to where the charge accumulates. Photographs have been taken of the precursor charged paths that go somewhat upwards from the ground the instant before the strike. The dissipator helps reduce that induced charge and any potential strike path.

This summer a friend's boat a few piers away was hit in the slip and most electronics got fried. He had a charge dissipator at the time. I talked to my dad who is a retired electrical engineer with experience with protecting large tracking antennas. He explained that in a marina with many boats close together, the charge dissapitor won't help much unless almost every boat has one. The entire marina with all of those sailboat masts has a high induced charge and becomes attractive to the strike and it's a crap shoot where it actually hits. So it doesn't matter much in the marina whether or not you have a dissipator. He then explained that when you really need the dissipator is when you are in an anchorage where vessels are spaced apart or you are just out underway. Then you are the only or one of the few tall masts around. That's when you want to try to look smaller to the cloud.

Many years ago I was in central Florida on a somewhat threatening stormy day. I remember how chilling it was to see my wife's freshly dried hair start raising straight up on it's own as she walked toward me in my car in an open field under a fast moving dark cloud. Fortunately there was not a strike but it did leave quite an impression with us. If that happened again I would tell her to get down.

From what I've read on this the metal boat solution is true. The US Navy has metal boats of many sizes which are taking quite a few strikes out there. The Navy has studied the lightning issue to the point of attracting strikes and photographing the direct strike. The Navy's findings are the rarely do those strikes on metal boats cause significant electrical damage or personnel injuries. That is not the case on fiberglass boats. The Faraday cage works.
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  #19  
Old 10-23-2006
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BTW, getting down is generally bad advice. It leaves you more exposed than crouching does. The best position is to be indoors, but if you must be outdoors during a lightning storm, crouching is probably your best bet, as it minimizes your exposure to both direct and indirect lightning strikes.
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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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  #20  
Old 10-23-2006
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I have one and last year went though two sever thunderstorms in the Bahamas - the first we were at sea and had all the sails down, as we saw it coming, and tried to get out of the way but is rolled right over the top of us and the electronics flickered but all came back on - there was lightening everywhere -
we then went into chub cay and just after dropping the hook and settling down for dinner a huge thunderstorm rolled through and while we did not get a direct it it was close enough that we lost all and i mean all electronics - everything from the reefer to all insturments to windlass to you name it - two surveyors and the electrician that repaired it said that the dissapator probably kept us from getting a direct hit - are they right - who knows - but i do know we had one boat in our marina that is 15 slips away from mine and does not have one got hit in the slip and was the only boat to get hit and one of the few that does not have one -- he does now.
chuck and soulmates
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