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Discussion Starter #1
There is a sailboat on the hard up for sale. Broker said she was hit by lightning about a few years back. Says electronics were replaced. She has bottom paint that looks fresh, wax paper still on the pads. No visible arc marks on the outside, hull looks fair, no bulges or bubbles, keel looks fair. While I haven't gone thru her with a fine tooth comb, yet, when I do I want to know what to look for. I'm concerned about de-lamination, pin holes, stressed wiring and whatever else that could be the results of a strike. I asked for a copy of the insurance survey, holding my breath on that. Would tapping on the hull with a plastic hammer detect de-lamination?
 

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A nearby lightning strike knocked all my instruments off line & gave me a shock via the main sheet. My instruments came back up after a power reset. Two friends' boats took more direct hits that day. One lost all installed instruments permanently. The other lost all instruments & the motor. The motor had some kind of computer control system. I have also seen mast head hardware, chain plates & shrouds fried from other hits on other boats. Mast to keel grounding wires sometimes rupture too. The rest of the wiring is a roll of the dice. Then again, wiring on any boat in salt water is a bit of a roll of the dice. A lightening strike would not necessarily deter me from buying a boat.
 

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I know I would not rely on my own inspection alone. I'd hire an experienced surveyor in these matters. You can percussion for delamination, if you know what you're listening for, but that's only a small part of the story. I'd want to see repair bills too, to understand what happened.
 

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Broker called back. Says owner never received a survey of the damages. Sounds a bit odd to me. If I do go ahead with this boat I will hire a surveyor for sure. I called our insurance guy and he has no problem with insuring the boat as long as it has not been totaled.
 

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The one case I know of was a friend returning a boat from Bermuda. When he got hit, all the electronics were fried and even the magnetic compass was toast. A number of thru hulls blew out of the boat completely, and he stuffed the holes and made it back. Looking at the bottom on hard was interesting. There was a starburst pattern surrounding the thru hulls. I'd look at wiring, everything grounded and grounding straps/wires (thru hulls, keel, rig, rails, engine, AC system, DC system). I think a "lightning hit" has many meanings. It could mean a direct hit like my friend on the stick, but it could just mean more of an EMP of some sort that fries electronics but maybe not so much the grounding system and mechanical damage. I'd be looking at that stuff before taking the next step and hiring a surveyor. Good luck.
 

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If there was no insurance on the boat and the damage was not severe, it would be reasonable not to have a survey done. If there was an insurance claim, it was most certainly surveyed for the insurance company. The owner may not have received it, rather just a claim settlement offer. Of course, they could be hiding something too and you'll have to figure out the difference. Lots of boats have been hit by lightening out there.
 
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