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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 08-03-2001
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LIGHTNING

Would like to hear from any sailors who have had direct experience with lightning strikes and lightning dissipaters. I understand the theory but do they really work?
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Old 08-03-2001
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LIGHTNING

I have no personal experience beyond near misses in a couple of different marinas.

But.....there is a sailboat a couple of docks away from us that was hit by lightning. It had/has one of those lightning dissipaters on it. I do not know which one is on the boat, but it didn''t seem to work to well.
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Old 09-11-2001
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LIGHTNING

When lightning travels 20 miles, a wire bottle brush is not going to stop it.
I plan on grounding, as I will be the tallest sail boat under the lightning when I''m hit.
I hope my message got through as this is a poor excuse for a BBS.
Carl T. Knox
Sailing weekends on Superior.
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Old 09-12-2001
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LIGHTNING

Well Carl T. Knox if this is such a poor excuse of a BBS, may I ask why do you waste your time reading and/or posting messages on it? Probably most of the people that do read and or post messages here and enjoy doing so would prefer NOT to read your messages anyway. Gees, what a guy.


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Old 05-06-2006
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Lightning

Sailor Friend Lost Several Thousand Dollars Of Electrical Gear On A 65 Loa Cutter. Installed Dissipator For Approx $80.00, His Insurance Agent Told Him That He Had Never Received A Claim From Anyone Using This Device. Some Insurance Companies Are Giving Discounts For Boats Using This Device, In The Past There Was No Discounts Given For Their Use. They Operate On The Premise That A Object That Has No Static Electricity Has Less Chance Of Strike Than Object With Static Electricity. There Is Another Forum At Sailboatowners With Some More Input Concerning The Ionic Dissipators Some Favorable, Some Not So Favorable. Interesting Topic.
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Old 05-06-2006
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We came a bit too close on the passage from Bali to Malaysia last year. The waters around Singapore is probably the most thunder 'infected' in the world. Not a direct hit, but close enough to knock out most of the electronic. In number I would say that there are probably not many direct hits where damages may be reduced or prevented by use of diffeent devices. Most of the damages in numbers are caused by what I would call 'too close', and there is probably nothing sensible equipment awailable at the market to prevent it. It is one of the hazards of sailing.
You are welcome to browse our web page:
http://www.geocities.com/haffiman37
for more.
I think the electronic dealers in Singapore must be the most experienced in lightening damages in the world, both on yachs and commercial vessels. If you want more statistic material I suggest You contact them.
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Old 05-06-2006
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I've been hit twice. Once ont he hard whcih did minimal damage - a burned spot on my upper shroud that did need replacing as one of the strands was burned through.

Time 2 was in my slip. I was not aboard. Lightening blew my battery charger apart scattering its pieces throughout the bilge. All my electronics were fried and I had to replace all my bronze thru hulls.

I view dissipators with suspicion. One company offers a guarentee. They will pay your insurance deductable if you get hit. What a scam. I think their dissipater costs around $300. Insurance companies figure .1% of boats get struck. Do the math. That company sells thier disapater for $300 each - it cannot cost them even $100 to make it but give that to them. They sell 1000 at $200 profit = $200,000. One of those boats gets hit (insurance figures) and they pay out the $500 deductable. A $199,500 profit per 1000 units. Someone hit on a great idea.
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Old 05-06-2006
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Irwin 32:
Interesting post. The first hit and damage pattern I find normal, the second one raises a few questions.
Was your boat actually hit or was it a hit somewhere in the shore power lines that went through to your battery charger?
Were your main switches on or off at the time?
Are your throug hulls grounded to the same grounding piont as your shore power system?
If the rigging is grounded it should have been some traces on that too where the lightening hit?
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Old 05-10-2006
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If you want to protect yourself against a stroke of lightning get a metal made boot and shelter inside the faraday's cage. But if you can not avoid the situation and are in the bad case to be on one of this electrifying "plastic made vessels" the only thing you can do is to discharge any electrical potential which could induce a "Preflash To Heaven"! If your boot gets hit and it didn't frie you the same instant you might have been hiding in an aluminum case ore you just have met your protectif angel.
A lightning flash will most probably go strait from the masttop to the botom to the keel and the sideflashes unpredictable any possible way along riggings, wires etc.
So, just take your chances!
Good Luck.
Elena
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Old 05-10-2006
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" Installed Dissipator For Approx $80.00, His Insurance Agent Told Him That He Had Never Received A Claim From Anyone Using This Device. " His insurance could have just said "I don't know anything about these." yes, they make good claims, but elsewhere I'd read from someone who DID use one, DID get hit, DID try to claim the warranty coverage for it, and couldn't get anywhere with the maker. Apparently the concept behind the device (multiple sharp tips to dissipate a static charge) works in theory, to LESSEN the risk and diffuse the charge. But the warranty is worthless and the devices are not "absolute" protection any more than anything else.

If you've ever heard static discharge literally crackling off an antenna or lightning rod, you'll understand that a static discharge is real.
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