Forespar Lightning Masterô(Static Dissipater) Who's been hit with one? - SailNet Community

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View Poll Results: Has your boat ever been hit by lightning with a Forespar Lightning Masterô installed?
Yes 1 16.67%
No 5 83.33%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 11-02-2010
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Forespar Lightning Masterô(Static Dissipater) Who's been hit with one?

I'm doing a page on my website, The Frugal Mariner entitled "Lightning and Your Boat."

During my research, I was curious about the efficacy of the Forespar Lightning Masterô(Static Dissipater). I couldn't find any statistics and so wrote the company. This was there reply:

Quote:
The "study" is the fact that since the early 1990's we have sold about10,000 units worldwide. Of these we have had reported strikes totaling 4. Not bad empirical data. Of these strikes damage was minimal. Isolated to EMP induced damage rather than direct strike damage.
Even with this said, Forespar does not claim that this device is 100%
effective. No one can make that claim.
I have a friend whose boat was hit, in it's slip, between two other taller boats. His had a wooden mast. And a Static Dissipater. It seems to me the odds are against my knowing of one of only four in the world who have been hit and had a Static Dissipater. But there are coincidences.

I'd like to poll the Sailnet members.

Has your boat ever been hit with lightning?

Do you have a Forespar Lightning Masterô(Static Dissipater) installed?

Has you boat with a Forespar Lightning Masterô(Static Dissipater) ever been hit while the Static Dissipater was installed?

Not a very scientific survey, I'll admit, but neither is their "empirical evidence." I'm also contacting insurance companies to see if they have collected any information.

Thank you for your participation.
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Old 11-02-2010
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You'd better work on the poll questions. FWIW, I have never been hit in 15 years of having a static dissipater installed, but I don't spend much time in Florida.
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Old 11-02-2010
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We have one installed and have not been hit while living in Florida for 5 years.
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Old 11-02-2010
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Four boats were hit in one particular storm in 2009 while racing on Lake Ontario. One of these had a static dissipator (GRP boat ~30ft LOA, aluminum mast). The boat lost its electronics, had many pin holes around the keel mount point, and had damage to its thru-hull installations. I don't believe the boat had a lightning ground system, but I'm not sure of that. Fortunately, the boat was able to make it back to the marina and was promptly hauled out.

I've wondered about the effectiveness of simple dissipators vs. a more comprehesive approach (such as advocated by these folks: Marine Lightning Protection Inc. ).
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Old 11-02-2010
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My aunt and uncle own a house down in cambridge maryland on a heavily wooded lot

My uncle is a successful engineer geek with money no object and they tried everything the house still takes hits all the time as IMHP lightning is not that discerning and just goes where it goes
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Old 11-02-2010
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I have decided to get into the lightning arrest business. They are $300 and a lifetime guarantee. I am going to make tin foil hats out of recycled aluminum and special tin foil underwear with a shotgun brush stuck out teh butt. THey must be worn before the storm and you must follow instructions completeley. When lightning storm comes, bend over and touch your toes (or kiss your erhmm goodbye) such that the bottlebrush sticks up in the air. Picture are required and must be posted on Sailnet. If you get struck, I will give you your money back. How can you lose???

I have always felt this was the philosophy behind the lightning arrest bottle brush companies. Odds are pretty freaking low of getting hit anyways. I understand the technological theory behind them, but it is always a bunch of theoretical conclusions based upon empirical evidence.

Brian

PS So who wants to buy one of my Reynolds Wraps??

PSS Many, Many years in FL lightning capital of US (Ft Myers). Never hit. DId have a bottle brush on my last boat. Did take a EMP strike and took out electronics but not the boat directly. Only lost CP. Have not been hit on this boat, but truth be told, I put a set of jumper cables on my neigbors shrouds that are dangling in the water. Too bad about his radar last week...
bad luck.
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Old 11-02-2010
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Dpnradclife said,
Quote:
You'd better work on the poll questions.
Yep, you're right - it was the first time I tried that and didn't know what to expect - I should have started over, but was pressed for time (Honey-do list was calling me).

Thanks - next time I'll do better.
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Old 11-02-2010
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I think that a very wide response would show that boats with the static dissipators got hit at about the same rate as boats without. I don't think a boat can be grounded sufficiently for the static dissipators to really work well.
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Old 11-02-2010
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I can't say for sure they were the Forespar units but two boats right near me were hit badly and both had the fuzzy "lightning attractors" on top of the mast. One guy had just spent thousands outfitting his boat with the latest and greatest "marketing gimmicks" for lightning and was hit two months later.. Wasn't he pissed off!

You want real data call Boat US. Remember Forespar is in the business of selling things. It is also the company who has "no issues" with Marelon seacock handles breaking but who now recommend twice yearly lubing with Lanocoat.

I spent over two hours on the phone with Boat US this past summer when I was hit to the tune of 18k in damage.. Boat US has had EVERY type of system designed to prevent or minimize lightning strikes HIT and PAID out claims on these strikes. The guy on the phone going over data with me called the lightning strike industry in the marine world, and I quote, "snake oil"....

So yes, I know of two boats hit with lightning dissipators. My boat would never get hit with a dissipator because I would not waste my money on on the snake oil science..

BTW I had to check "NO" because I would never have "lightning attractor" on my boat...

Lightning is fickle our strike this summer never came down or "up" from the mast and came in through the ships ground meaning this was an indirect strike. My PSS carbon rotor shed carbon all over the engine compartment but there was no sign of any strike at the mast head or below the waterline, no pin holes nothing. Yet everything was fried even a GPS wrapped in tinfoil and four other devices not connected to anything. Apparently the old timer who told me tinfoil would work as a Faraday cage was wrong..
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Old 11-03-2010
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MaineSail - yeah, I don't think tinfoil would work as a Farraday cage - actually, I think what we call tinfoil is aluminum foil. It's the extreme (though short lived) electromagnetic pulse which fries the electronics. Magnetism will ignore any non-ferrous metal.

I'm not even sure if your marine stove would act as a Farraday cage because it is stainless steel - I have to do more research there. In either case, the Farraday cage needs to be grounded.

We have a small, household microwave on board. It is AC and grounded through the AC plug. (Adequate? I don't know.) But we'll put our handheld GPS and our VHF radio in there when lightning is striking closely to us in hopes that that will be an adequate Farraday Cage. In any case, the best we could hope for is that it would protect against the electromagnetic pulse. With a direct hit, all bets are off.

With lightning, it's all a crap shoot - but just as when shooting craps, if you can do something to move the odds a little better in your favor it's good to do.

Thanks for everybody's input - keep your cards and letters coming.
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