Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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There are two schools of thought on this.
The first is that you should create a lightning protection system, that bonds the mast, shrouds, stays, and lifeline stanchions to form a protective "Faraday Cage" to protect the contents and people on-board the boat. This requires using a fairly heavy copper conductor to bond the mast in as straight a path to a heavy copper or bronze plate attached to the hull's exterior—with at least four linear feet of edge. A 2" x 4' strip is a good way to do it. This will, in theory, direct the force of a lightning strike as quickly into the water as possible, minimizing the possibilities of sideflashes and such.
The other school of thought is to have no path between the mast and the water. This is due to the idea that a grounded boat gets hit more often than an ungrounded boat. Statistically, I believe this has been proven. However, the converse is that ungrounded boats, when hit by lightning, tend to suffer far more damage than a properly grounded boat.
So, you either ground the boat and increase your chance of getting hit, while minimizing the possible damage....or you isolate and decrease your chance of getting hit, while increasing the probability of severe damage in the case of a hit.
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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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