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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #21  
Old 09-01-2007
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If you live in the southern US, that pretty much means don't go most days from March until October. We are in a drought, but pretty much every day's forecast include a chance of T-storms.
I usually try to get out there in the morning. It's cooler and less likely to storm in the summer. Then reverse it in the winter. Sailing in the afternoon is just hot. It's like the old adage about being a pilot. Hours of boredom followed by minutes of terror. You might get twenty or so minutes of decent wind being pushed by the leading edge of the storm, but the nasty is coming right behind that. In the morning (start at 7) you get some steady breezes till about lunch, when it starts to get really hot and sticky. This time of year, I'm waiting for the cold fronts. The day after they come though is the best for sailing. October where are you?
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  #22  
Old 09-01-2007
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Cam-

IIRC, you'd still need a heavy copper cable running down the mast to a ground plate in the hull for this to work. The shrouds, if made of stainless steel, aren't very good conductors, having about 30 times the resistance of copper, and will probably not protect the spar from a lightning strike.
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I have all wood spars, if I'm struck by lightening, am I looking at a blow out on my mast

Yeah...but you also have metal fittings and shrouds leading to the deck and those should have a path to ground as well. One thought would be to get a lightning rod type device up there and bonded to the metal work and shrouds at the top of the mast to minimize the chance of losing the spar.
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  #23  
Old 09-02-2007
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And to the original poster, also try to keep it all in context. Your boat has probably been sitting in the water for years without ever being hit by lightning, and chances are you won't get hit out on the open water either, though chances are a little higher. Your boat isn't going to suddenly become more of a lightning rod just because you're on it.
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  #24  
Old 09-02-2007
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Wind Magic speaks ably to what, for some, is an irrational fear. The only competitor to it is the fear of striking a half submerged container. I place both right up there with the chances of hitting a cow on the interstate. ("My insurance company? New England Life, of course. Why?")

I would make one cavaet though. Those who say that lightning does not strike in the same place twice are naive. Through my work I see homes and areas that are much more prone to repeated ground strikes than others. If you are sailing in an area, inland, that has that predisposition I'd take it into account. And, rather than relying on electrical cable routing, I might find some work in the boathouse that day.
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Old 09-02-2007
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Originally Posted by sailaway21 View Post
I would make one cavaet though. Those who say that lightning does not strike in the same place twice are naive. Through my work I see homes and areas that are much more prone to repeated ground strikes than others. If you are sailing in an area, inland, that has that predisposition I'd take it into account. And, rather than relying on electrical cable routing, I might find some work in the boathouse that day.
Jayme and I saw a boat get hit twice in a span of about 5-10 minutes. The mast lit up like a filliment (sp?) in a lightbulb... it was scary to watch. We called the USCG and reported it. We found out a month later from the guy who owns the local hardware store that one of the crew was killed. This was 3 years ago on the Neuse River during the 4th holiday... same storm we were caught in.

So yes... that was when i learned that lightning can strike the same place twice.
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  #26  
Old 09-02-2007
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  #27  
Old 09-02-2007
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And the temperature of a lightning bolt is somewhere north of the temperature of the surface of the sun...
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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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  #28  
Old 09-02-2007
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As mentioned above. I think more people focus on the lightning strike than they do the high winds that can accompany a storm. Having had practice reefing your sails is a plus.

Kevin
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