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-   -   Affect of lightning in open water (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/69616-affect-lightning-open-water.html)

Bene505 11-03-2010 01:51 PM

Have you been sailing away from land when lightning was hitting the water?
 
You are offshore or away from land and a front is approaching you. What are the chances of getting hit? That's what I'm trying to figure out with this poll.

Yes, there is another lightning polls out there, but my concern is not about a vendor's product but the risk of getting hit overall.

Note that the first question is BOTH lightning hitting the water AND in open water. If only one is true but not both, please answer that you haven't been in that circumstance. Otherwise please elaborate.

I'm expecting most sailnet-ers will answer that they haven't been in that situation. No matter, there will be some who have.

Regards,
Brad

Faster 11-03-2010 02:18 PM

Liz and Andy Copeland out of Vancouver BC were struck off the coast of Africa in open water on their Bene First 38 during their circumnavigation. No one was hurt but virtually all their electronics were fried.

A link to their books:
Liza & Andy Copeland - Cruising Authors
The episode is described in her book "Still Cruising"

FlyNavy 11-03-2010 02:20 PM

To explain my "Have been in and didn't get hit response." I may have been in a bit different situation than what you're looking for.
Spent my open water lightening time onboard aircraft carriers. The ship never seemed to get hit, anymore than any random 15 square acres of space.
With several cumulative years at sea, I cannot recall any plane, piece of equipment or even the flight deck ever being hit while transiting through several mighty thunderstorms.
We seemed to like to hide under them back when we were more concerned about the Soviets knowing our where-abouts.

noelex77 11-03-2010 03:17 PM

The chance of getting hit by lightening is remote. In open water without any other high structures around the risk is probably higher, but 5 or 10X a remote risk is still an event that is unlikely to happen.

5 lotto tickets gives you a 5x higher chance of winning, but you would be a fool to quit your job on the strength of this increased chance.

I have been struck by lightening, but at anchor. This make sense, because I spend much more time at anchor than in open water.

The closest I have come in open water was a bolt that hit about 50 yards away. I was at the helm at the time and shouted down something like "God that hit the water only 50 yards away" (There may have been a couple rude words that I have edited out)
A friend who was a guest at the time (sheltering down below) said "Thatís good It sounded closer than that"

jackdale 11-03-2010 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Faster (Post 662423)
Liz and Andy Copeland out of Vancouver BC were struck off the coast of Africa in open water on their Bene First 38 during their circumnavigation. No one was hurt but virtually all their electronics were fried.

A link to their books:
Liza & Andy Copeland - Cruising Authors
The episode is described in her book "Still Cruising"

Good reference. Their standing rigging was also compromised.

Check out Appendix D of Still Cruising.

radovix 11-04-2010 07:33 AM

Out of Norfolk

Lost autopilot, radio and echo sounder.

2000$ damage.

No one was hurt

svHyLyte 11-04-2010 09:16 AM

We have been at sea several (tho' not "Many") times during lightning storms with water strikes around us. It scared the heck out of us but we were lucky. Never the less, even a near by strike is enough to screw up electronics--e.g. we've had to replace our wind instrument mast head unit several times due to near misses. When confronted with this situation, we routinely put our portable GPSMap 76 in the Oven of our stove in hopes that it will survive any EMP effects.

FWIW...

PorFin 11-04-2010 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by svHyLyte (Post 662770)
When confronted with this situation, we routinely put our portable GPSMap 76 in the Oven of our stove in hopes that it will survive any EMP effects.

Same here. The oven becomes a makeshift Faraday cage for not only a handheld GPS, but also the handheld VHF, cellphones, laptop, etc. It gets a little cramped in there, but we make everything fit. So far we've never had lightning stikes close enough to prove the efficacy of the oven as a Faraday cage, but it can't hurt and may make a life saving difference.

LarryandSusanMacDonald 11-05-2010 08:42 AM

We've been close enough more than once but not 'many' times to feel the hair on our bodies stand up. Have seen it hit the water closer than a quarter of a mile, more than once. Once we were at anchor on the Bahama banks - 12 feet of water and out of sight of land. It's a bit unnerving setting next to what is essentially a 55 foot lightning rod with lightning hitting all around. We were lucky.

lancelot9898 11-05-2010 09:01 AM

Over the past 25 years I've had two near misses. One was while at anchor and the other was in the marina. The marina miss took out more electronics, but the one item affected both times was the atomatic antenna tunner for the SSB. I've been in open water during thunderstorms and had no problems or had any near misses. One time comeing back into port at night with thunderstorms and wind happening, I even wanted to see lightening in order to see any anchored boats that might be in my path.


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