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post #21 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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Pray

After I got hit I read everything I could get my hands on about lightning and boats and came to the conclusion that praying was my best bet. Been working so far, eleven years and counting. The charge went through my boat from stem to stern. When we hauled her later burn marks were evident at all the through hulls and at the gudgeon although my boat's through hulls are not bonded. Of course all electronics were shot, the only good thing was that my handheld vhf was not affected and I was able to contact the coast guard and keep contact with them every hour until I reached port the next day. It was quite disconcerting when the CG told me that all damage might not be immediately evident and that, for example, keel bolts might be compromised. Not much we can do to avoid a strike, don't waste your money on bottle washers or jumper cables from the shrouds.

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.

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post #22 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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I'd agree that all the damage from a lightning strike is not immediately evident. This is especially true if you have a carbon fiber laminate spar... which can have delamination issues from the heat generated by a lightning strike.

Prayer is good, but having a personal weather diety helps too.

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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
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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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post #23 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
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.
SD, you've got it right, "get down" was a general term. The advice I've heard is to crouch as low as possible with your feet together to minimize ground potential differences thereby minimizing current through your body should there be a nearby strike.

-- neal
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If I'd only listened to those guys about that wing keel...

Last edited by captnnero; 10-23-2006 at 06:21 PM.
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post #24 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck5499
...
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 - ...
A close by strike can wipe out electronics from powerful induced currents that alternate radially out from the strike pointing in all directions. So wires that are somewhat parallel to those radial directions pick up those electromagnetic pulses and fry or pass the damaging currents around the vessel to fry other sensitve electronics. The classic story is a vessel at sea has a strike hit a few hundred feet abeam and then the electronics are suddenly all dead. It's somewhat analogous to an EMP from a nuke explosion.

In the fractions of a second thas the strike occurs, millions of volts are discharged on and off many times until the cloud charge dissipates enough and that is what produces the alternating currents. ZAP !

On the bright side the good old diesel engine is usually ok. Just don't turn it off if it was running since you might not be able to get the starter motor going again...

-- neal
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post #25 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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Allright, I am not sure where you guys live, but let me just tell you that down in South Florida, by the time your hair stands up or you hear the crackle on top of the mast, you don't have time to decide where you are going to run for cover!! I usually don't get out an "Aww Sh--" before the boom.

For everyone reading this, and from someone that has spent more nights in lightning storms that I could even begin to count, here is the recipe for a ulcer-free sailboat adventure south of Tampa: Just relax and don't worry about it!! Dissipators help (in my opinion), or at the very least cannot hurt. Park next to a larger boat. Unplug your dock lines. Throw the anchor in the water... whatever... Just do what makes you feel you have done the best you could and go below and fix a drink and don't worry about it!!!

Take my advice: If it is your time, I don't care if you are on a metal navy vessel, the bolt is coming. And maybe if you can get that thing up to 88 miles per hour...
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post #26 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
Allright, I am not sure where you guys live, but let me just tell you that down in South Florida, by the time your hair stands up or you hear the crackle on top of the mast, you don't have time to decide where you are going to run for cover!! I usually don't get out an "Aww Sh--" before the boom.

...
CD, if you are in South Florida, GET DOWN NOW !

-- neal
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post #27 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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Generally, if your hair is standing up on end...it's a bit late to be thinking of running for cover... Just my opinion.

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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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The surest way to dissipate electricity... now pay attention as this must be done beforehand.

1) Find the tallest tree. Run a 2 inch wide copper wire down it (from the top down).

2) Drape the copper strap over into an inconspiuous area near the closest Sea Ray. The Sea Ray part is important as a better made vessel might conduct differently.

3) When the clouds approach, attach the wire to the engine block on the Sea Ray, prepare a nice drink, then sit in your cockpit and enjoy the fireworks.

4) When the owners of the Sea Ray return to the sunken vessel, instruct them that it is very unsafe to plow on a half plane through the ICW as it can blow engines. Most Sea Ray owners will agree that they should not have done that as ALL Sea Ray owners have done it. Justice served. Lightning dissipated. And, oh yeah...

5) Try and keep a straight face. Don't laugh until they are gone.
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post #29 of 38 Old 10-23-2006
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Evil, evil, evil...but funny. I know a couple of SeaRays that would be good candidates at my marina.

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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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post #30 of 38 Old 01-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captnnero
A close by strike can wipe out electronics from powerful induced currents that alternate radially out from the strike pointing in all directions. So wires that are somewhat parallel to those radial directions pick up those electromagnetic pulses and fry or pass the damaging currents around the vessel to fry other sensitve electronics. The classic story is a vessel at sea has a strike hit a few hundred feet abeam and then the electronics are suddenly all dead. It's somewhat analogous to an EMP from a nuke explosion.
In the fractions of a second thas the strike occurs, millions of volts are discharged on and off many times until the cloud charge dissipates enough and that is what produces the alternating currents. ZAP !

On the bright side the good old diesel engine is usually ok. Just don't turn it off if it was running since you might not be able to get the starter motor going again...
Has any one ever experience hand held electronic deviced effected by the analogous EMP discharged from a lightening strike?
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