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tdw 02-09-2013 08:26 PM

In regards to Lightning - overall not a good week.

Bear with me for a moment .... We are not very good at trading cars. We usually buy fairly good ones and then drive 'em into ground. The Wombet a Golf, me an Audi, both approx 12 years old. Trouble is they've been damn fine motors but alas this week the Golf repair bill for dead heater is more than the thing is worth and now my dear old A4 is gushing coolant. At least one, possible two new cars when I was hoping they'd both last until we disappeared over the horizon.

Then there was the failure of my repair(s) to our Zodiac after it had a run in with an oyster bed. Oyster won on a tko and despite three attempts on my part is still leaks like crazy.

So there you go not a great week. OK , not tragic just oh crap what next.

What next was climbing on board the Womboat yesterday to collect the Zodiac and send her to someone who is more capable than I. Unhooked the starboard covers to go forward, deflate, roll etc. Didn't even look at port side , nor turn on any of the electrics.

Well, thats that, pack up the zodiac, check the covers and there lying on the port deck is .... one TriColor masthead. What ? Wow that's weird, must have been some bird. Pick up tricolour, hey, what is all this black stuff. Hmmm.

Only then did we wander down below and oh dear .... no electrics on the house side. Engine started OK but no alarms, no lights, no engine instruments. House batteries, dead as dead can be. Barely enough in them to get a feeble glow from the panel diodes and no apparent charge going into them when engine running. Wind generator dead, solar also not charging. Top of the mast looks , through binoculars from another boat, like a blackened charred post nuclear strike mess.

Spoke with our mooring field neighbour who is a liveaboard and yep, last Friday he said the bang was so loud that he thought he had been hit and it turned the bay from night to day.

Now the Womboat has quite comprehensive lightning protection from masthead to keel yet still the anchor light and steaming light circuit breakers, which of course were turned off at the time, were nearly blown clear out of the board. I confess I didn't think to check the wiring where it exits the mast. I hate to think. She has no power running when we are not on board. Emergency bilge pump is left on of course but she takes no water so that would not have been a drain. Lightning ergo, seems to have taken out the house batteries.

Methinks a visit to our friendly insurer come Monday. Well at least they were friendly when they took our premium.

Andrew B

chef2sail 02-09-2013 08:49 PM

Re: In regards to Lightning

So sorry to hear. We were struck last summer. Sounds similar in that the lightning was indescriminatet and knocked out what it wanted to. In ours the yanmar panel was fused but the ngine started and the batteries were fine. It avoided the radar pole and the radar bu crispfied the chartplotter and wind instrumnents leaving the depthfinder ok. It took out the white lights buty left the reds ok on the fixtures. It has a mind and path of its own and any attempt to contro or direct 65000000 volts is hokey pokey.

Make sure you get your thru hulls checked and look for pinholes in your fiberglass. Boat US ( Contineneal insurance) required and paid for an immediate haul and inspections. They were quiete good with our insurance claim which resulted in $12,000 in repairs

Sorry to hear my friend. We were in the cabin when we got struck and saw the flash ball from our panel. It sucked,


CalebD 02-09-2013 09:08 PM

Re: In regards to Lightning
Sorry to hear this TDW.
So, was your boat "bonded"; all interior metals connected by heavy wire etc.?

Sorry to hear about your automobiles as well. Eventually they become more expensive to repair than it is worth.

tdw 02-10-2013 02:07 AM

Re: In regards to Lightning
Thanks Dave. Appreciate your concern.

Caleb ... yes bonded.

Machine .... I wasn't inferring it did nothing. More that despite the protection she has still been given quite a wallop.

Andrew B

JonEisberg 02-10-2013 10:02 AM

Re: In regards to Lightning

Originally Posted by chef2sail (Post 988088)
Show me the data not the hypotheses. Its snake oil and a means of making money installing expensive sytems. Tell me exactly what you have done to prevent being struck and how it has minimized it. tell me what you have deployed like the military munitions dumps?

Notes above are well documented facts, notes below are opinions.....

They are all opinions and logical thoeries and nothing more

We had all the preventers/ dissapators/ bonding and wre still struck ( sideswiped) by lightning last year in the midst of 1000 masts.

The best rpevention for lightning, is not touching metal objects and a good insurance policy.

I don't see where Sailing Jackson, or anyone else, is suggesting that anything can guarantee "prevention" from a strike...

So, then - does your unfortunate personal experience mean that you have removed all paths to ground on your boat, or any other "snake oil" measures purported to reduce the potential for a strike, or damage in the event of one? (grin)

TDW - sorry to hear about that, you've got your work cut out for you, unfortunately, hope your insurance company is cooperative... Perhaps Jeff H will weigh in here, I seem to recall his boat was hit years ago...

tdw 02-10-2013 05:12 PM

Re: In regards to Lightning
Pure guess work on my part but I'm figuring that while there is probably no way of avoiding a lightning strike providing a clear path from masthead to keel can minimise the damage.

If , and I say if, someone is selling lighting strike preventer then I tend to agree with Chef that we are into snake oil territory. OTOH, the aforementioned protection providing a decent earthing system should be quite valuable.

As I say, this is an area I know little about, but I reckon I'm about to get an education.

Andrew B

shadowraiths 02-10-2013 05:39 PM

Re: In regards to Lightning
Imo, they should call it lightning strike current dissipation, in that is what these systems seemed to be designed to do.

tdw 02-10-2013 06:04 PM

Re: In regards to Lightning

Originally Posted by shadowraiths (Post 988372)
Imo, they should call it lightning strike current dissipation, in that is what these systems seemed to be designed to do.

.... well it certainly appears as if a few of the Womboat's systems are very dissipated indeed .... :eek:

chef2sail 02-10-2013 07:23 PM

Re: In regards to Lightning

Originally Posted by tdw (Post 988378)
.... well it certainly appears as if a few of the Womboat's systems are very dissipated indeed .... :eek:

Yes indeed:(:(

I have posted in other threads the same thing before. I think it is only common sense to provide a pathway for the charge to get out of the boat should the lightning DECIDE to follow it. There is no guarentee that will happen. That doesnt cost a lot of money.

In addition There is no system short of not having the boat which will prevent you from being struck.

In our case the investigation concluded that the lightening hit the tower next to us 100 yards away. Traveled through the water. Entered the boat either through the prop or the metal grounding plate and then into the engine panel and the main circut panel. The lightening traveled out of the boat going UP our mast and jumped to the boat next to us trough the mast. ( The man on the boat saw it jump between our masts) It blew pinholes into parts of his hull which were noticed after he was pulled simultaneuosly with us.

There were 10 boats which sustained damage from this particular lightening strike in Back Creek Annapolis,

tdw 02-10-2013 09:07 PM

Re: In regards to Lightning
Interesting that Chef mentions that the main lighning bolt didn't hit his boat bu came down nearby.

I've just got off the phone from talking with insurance agent and he said its likely the same thing has hapenned to us. H reckons that if we had a direct hit there would be molten aluminium all about the deck.

Andrew B

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