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I am a 'trailer sailor' in the process of doing major restoration on a Spirit 23 and would like to leave the mast up while working on the boat in my yard. I have a fear of lightning though, having had the boat parked next to mine in a dry storage lot at the local lake sustain a lightning strike. Ironically the boat was a lightning class, my boat then was a scout. The memory of the hole in the bottom of that boat still haunts me. Has anyone comments about leaving the mast up?
 

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You don't know how much electricity might suddenly arrive at the top of the mast. It depends totally on the friction generated in the air by updrafts and downdrafts. There might be enough to simply melt battery cables, or even three sets of battery cables. Is your mast wood? The sudden superheating of any moisture in a wooden mast has been known to blow them apart with the expanding steam. A good electrical path with hefty cables is better than nothing, but, you never know. Hopefully, (unlike your Lightning neighbor) you never find out!
 

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Sure. You must take every situation into consideration. However, given an aluminum mast with sufficient grounding and cables you should be able to offset your concern of lightening damage.


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Sure. You must take every situation into consideration. However, given an aluminum mast with sufficient grounding and cables you should be able to offset your concern of lightening damage.

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Lol, not a chance. I have seen a 35' bonded boat with full lightning protection with its keel bolts blown off.

The only real protection from lightning is to not be hit. Everything else is to deal with the static from near by strikes not direct ones.
 

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I once attended an SSCA webinar on insurance for boaters. The insurance agent giving the seminar said that (at that time) more catamarans than monos had filed claims for lightning strikes.

My takeaway: stick close to a catamaran during storms with lightning.
 
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Sure. You must take every situation into consideration. However, given an aluminum mast with sufficient grounding and cables you should be able to offset your concern of lightening damage.

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I agree with this, the only issue is what gauge wire is needed for a couple hundred million volts at 10 kiloamperes? I imagine the typical "grounding wire" is not anywhere near big enough, I doubt it is even commercially available. Even good jumper cables are only 4 gauge wire, not going to do much but melt. Basicly won't do much more than piss the electrons off! Heck I have seen cheap jumper cables melt when connected incorrectly to car batteries. But if you can find some three inch thick wire you might be good to go.
 

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The best strategy for lightning storms is to try to not think about it. There's nothing you can do but hope you don't get hit. I mean, what's really wrong with holding onto a stainless steel wheel attached to a metal pedestal, wired indirectly to a 50' high metal pole reaching up to the sky anyway?:eek:
 

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By the way, before the multi-hull contingent gets upset. While the claims comment was said in the seminar, I'm joking about using one as a lightning rod.

Our Naked Lightning dance does just fine.
 

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The best strategy for lightning storms is to try to not think about it. There's nothing you can do but hope you don't get hit. I mean, what's really wrong with holding onto a stainless steel wheel attached to a metal pedestal, wired indirectly to a 50' high metal pole reaching up to the sky anyway?:eek:
Do sailboats get hit by lightening? Yes. How often? not very.
I'm at a marina with at least 50 sailboats. Almost all are bigger, or a lot bigger, than your trailer sailer. The majority are in the 40-60' mast height range. Been there 20 years and have never seen any boat, power or sail, get hit and I've seen MANY nasty thunderstorms roll over us.
 
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