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Old 04-21-2015, 12:10 PM   #21
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Reading another thread started me thinking?

Has anyone here ever had an actual lighting "strike", not close but actually hit the boat, while underway?

.
Yup. Chesapeake Bay, summer of 1998. Wife and I were living on the sailboat (4 year cruise) and had gone up the East Coast from the Keys to the Chesapeake to spend the summer up there. Cloudy day, but calm waters, and so we headed from the Western shore over to the Eastern shore (heading toward Onancock, Va). I was in the cockpit, boat on autopilot, thinking about nothing in particular. She was down below, reading a book.

There was an ear shattering crash and I saw the GPS screen act as if worms were crawling across it and then it went blank. Knocked out all electronics, blew a 300 amp fuse at the battery bank (but thankfully did not get into the batteries, as I suppose they would have exploded). Diesel engine kept running (no electricity required), and another sailboat in the vicinity came over to see if they could help.

Turns out they were from Onancock, so we followed them in (no GPS and no depth indicator). Dockmaster at Onancock let us have a slip, and my insurance company sent a guy from Virginia Beach to look it over. No water coming in, so he told us to take it to a boatyard.

Had to wait a couple of weeks (not much to do in Onancock) then took it to Zimmerman where Steve D'Antonio was in charge of boat repairs. They replaced all throughhulls, because the metal had been changed and they were very brittle. Did a lot of other work also. I replaced all of the electronics (Defender).

It was kind of a harrowing experience, and right after that my wife (my ex now) announced that we were going home and that the cruise was over. :-)
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:38 PM   #22
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When I was very young, there was a family reunion of my father's cousins and their families on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. The family had rented a house for the week and we were going to join them the second weekend. On Friday, one of the girls, 16 years old, was standing in the front yard between a couple of trees. It was a nice day, albeit a bit cloudy and some forecast of possible rain for later. No thunder. No lightning. One bolt. Hit her in the head and instant death. All the precautions in the world wouldn't have prevented it. It was eerily silent after with no more lightning or thunder for a couple of hours. Her older sister was standing about 10 feet from her when it happened and saw it.

All we can do is take reasonable precautions. If it destroys my home or boat, I can live with that. Just the thought of seeing family or friends struck by it causes me to panic. I've never taken extraordinary steps, and don't live scared of it, but I sure do understand the risk is always there.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:44 PM   #23
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I have too many lightning stories...

Decades ago I went to some sort of a resort in central FLA. There resort had a stadium for rodeos which the wife wanted to see. The stadium was right next to the rooms so it was a short walk but on the way over you could see there was a serious storm brewing. Well, I did not want to see a rodeo in the first place but sitting on a metal bench with a few hundred other people did NOT seem like a smart move with a thunderstorm rolling in.

We went and paid our money, no refund for a rain out by they way, and just as we sat down the skies opened up and the Thor started throwing bolts around. SCARY to say the least. Thankfully, the stadium emptied quickly and everyone got into their rooms safely.

One bolt could have taken out hundreds of people sitting on those metal benches. Twas really stupid. The rodeo collected a bunch of money they did not refund though. I really did not care since I was not hit by lightning and did not have to endure watching a rodeo while sitting on a metal plate.

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Old 04-21-2015, 11:15 PM   #24
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When I was in high school I spent my summer days on my Sailfish on Lake Huron in front of our cottage. I was out one day with my girlfriend on a clear day with light winds. We were about 1/2 mile off shore, paralleling the shore and having a great time.

Within a space of about 2 minutes the wind went from about 10mph to zero. Dead calm. I looked up the lake and could see this cloud bank that was maybe 1/2 mile high with clear skies above it. Lightening was frolicking around in the clouds and occasionally coming down to the water.

I knew we were going to be in its path so we dropped the sails and mast and lashed them to the boat then flipped the boat over. I didn't want any exposed metal. We used a line to tie the two of us together (darn, I hated to be tied to her! :-) ). We had our swim belts on but no pfd's.

We tied our selves off and pushed away from the boat. The storm hit with 70mph winds and lightening activity and 3'-4' waves. We cuddled together (darn!) and rode it out.

After it was gone we righted the boat, raised the sails and sailed to shore. We got a very severe butt chewing when we got in. Both sets of parents thought we'd drowned and they were VERY mad that we were out there. At the same time they were glad we'd taken the precautions we did, so between getting our butts chewed we got hugged.

Go figure.
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:22 PM   #25
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Hi. I sailed from Beaufort, NC to Hamilton, Bermuda once and we passed through a fast moving and violent front en route. We had a few rough days and ended up heaving to for 24 hours to wait for a wind direction change and get some rest.


When we arrived in Hamilton at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, we rendezvoused with a steel hulled boat from Montreal that we has met while prepping to go offshore in NC.


They had been hit by lightning. The boat was grounded to attenuate lightning, but in the end they sustained a direct hit to the mast which grounded done through multiple routes t the sea.


They did not have a fire. They believes that the grounding cables and plates had carried enough current that there was no fire. But the boat was magnetized, chain was magnetized, etc. Their compasses dis not work and all electronics were fried. They navigates using a hand held comps that worked on deck up near the front of the mast. Needless to say, this created interesting and challenging navigational experience. Hand steering, working from charts, checking bearīng every hour or so by moving up to the front of the cabin every hours. All this n 35 knot winds and 15-25 foot seas.


They made it to Bermuda without further incident, wiser and a bit greyer haired. And we enjoyed the recap of their experience in their cabin with many glasses of rm. (they had a 125 gallon rum tank their bridge)


In the end they had to arrange with a US navy degaussing ship to demagnatize the boat and then replace all electronics.


A great story. A bit scary and expensive.


Dale.
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:34 PM   #26
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:38 PM   #27
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Never hit but close. Watching, with our fingers crossed, from the back deck.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:37 PM   #28
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A few months back, a buddy of mine and I took our kids (my son's 29, his is pre-teen) and another guy and his teenage son out night fishing.

We had been watching the weather and radar, and decided we'd be ok where we were going (1st mistake!). After we launch, we decided to tuck into a little hole in the mangroves, and wait for this "one last cell" to pass in the distance, before heading over to the powerlines (Strike 2).
The next thing we know, we have lightning popping all around us.

So now it's decision time. Do we:
1) Head over to Bahama Breeze and wait it out. Hope it passes before they shut down the food and drinks.
2) Make a run for the dock at the public ramp <10 minutes away?
We chose 2, (strike 3) and off we go.


We're hauling arse, not like we can outrun it or anything, but it made everyone feel better. All along, I'm watching bolts hit all over the place, coming down in 2 and 3's, and watched one take out the lights on the nearby bridge. Needless to say, I'm NOT happy!

The guy with the teenager is worried, so I go astern and sit down with them. We make sure everyone has a PFD, and keep your hands off the rail.
We chat, and when he finds out I spent a little time with Uncle Sam's Canoe Group, he asks if I've ever been out in something like this? Of course I reply, any time Uncle Sam sent me. For whatever reason, he suddenly settles down like everything's somehow going to be ok?
Hey, if it makes him feel better, then so be it. Personally, while I won't show it, I'm sure we're going to die.

We set our docking plan about 5 out:
The kids are to take the keys and the old guy, and head for the truck/car.
My buddy and I will secure the boat and be right behind you.

Roped that bad boy down like a steer in a rodeo! And we're headed for the cars. Plan works great, and other than a little rain and a huge pucker factor, all was good.

So, while we're sitting in the truck, the old dude looks over at me and says: Have you ever been scared on a boat?
My response was of course, yes.

Then he asks, when?
You all already know the response....about 5 minutes ago

Ok, that's my lightning sea story.

Thanks for all the responses.
Picked up some great info.

SS
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:43 AM   #29
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I don't think it is a good idea to increase the connectivity between the sky and water with your boat.

In spite of Calder, I have never seen any data which supports one solution over another.

There are simply too many people out there trying to sell shit.

Anybody who wants to do some of the suggested solutions, check out the amperage of an average Return Stroke of a lightning bolt and tell me what size wire would be needed?

All you would really be doing is temping the Pilot Leader to use your boat as a conduit.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:00 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Wxx3 View Post
I don't think it is a good idea to increase the connectivity between the sky and water with your boat.

In spite of Calder, I have never seen any data which supports one solution over another.

There are simply too many people out there trying to sell shit.

Anybody who wants to do some of the suggested solutions, check out the amperage of an average Return Stroke of a lightning bolt and tell me what size wire would be needed?

All you would really be doing is temping the Pilot Leader to use your boat as a conduit.



Like I posted in #16...try to outfox it is a losing battle...it is just not understood well enough and each situation is a bit different...trying to apply systems that work on land is different than a moving target.

And the worst is not getting hit but getting the damage.
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:44 PM   #31
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My trawler has #4.0 green cable connected to the chain plates of the mast stays, the cable runs down on both sides of the inside of the hull to a Dynaplate bolted on the outside of the box keel, unpainted. Calder says that from the top of the mast to the water, is the "cone of protection" whatever that means. As a pilot I've been struck by lightning many times with small damage if any, but that's because airplanes, like cars, are a Faraday's cage that keep us safe (not the tires). Scares the crap outta me too!
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:53 PM   #32
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As a pilot I've been struck by lightning many times with small damage if any, but that's because airplanes, like cars, are a Faraday's cage that keep us safe (not the tires). Scares the crap outta me too!
Now I wonder...if we were to take the tires off of the car or even mount poles on it and stick it in the ground, would the Faraday's Cage still protect its occupants?? If the answer is "no", then the tires do something to protect the integrity of the cage.
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Old 08-31-2017, 01:12 PM   #33
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Scott

My dad would argue with you that you can't outfox lightning. He put oh his boat this wired looking wires going in all different directions, it had a name. When people would ask him if it he would always say that since he put it up high he had never been hit. LOL
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Old 08-31-2017, 01:23 PM   #34
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We were hit August 26, 2013 on the Chesapeake off Holland Point. Computer controlled Cummins=dead. We took two hits about 3-4 seconds apart. the sound was not a boom, but a hard metallic clang. The smoke was released from most of our electronics. But we had two back up navigation PCs which we could use and our phones had navigation programs too, while we waited for TowBotUS.
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Old 08-31-2017, 01:28 PM   #35
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tires have nothing to do with the safety of the occupants in a car....its the metallic "sphere" of the car or tube of a fuselage that creates the cage.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:03 PM   #36
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I read years ago (not sure how true), that the earth is smoother than a typical ball bearing (if made the same size). If that is even close to true, you can see why/how "short" objects get hit.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:30 PM   #37
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Reading another thread started me thinking?

Has anyone here ever had an actual lighting "strike", not close but actually hit the boat, while underway?

I've been out in the stuff many times over the years, usually not of my own will, and had the stuff all around us. Thankfully we were never hit.

For those of you liveaboards, how do you prep for it?

Just curious.

I've been very very close ..... you will know by the hair on your head Not an exact science but studies do show that's it's largely random. In my case, I was one of two sailboats in a Ma - Pa marina ( both very tall rigs ) and the lightning hit a clothes line at side of a wooden building, travelled inside and wiped out the radio room behind the wall .... FB
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:23 PM   #38
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Best prep is to stay on good terms with Thor
I have a Norwegian built boat.
Next in line to that is to find a bunch of sailboats and try to get in the middle of them.
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Old 08-31-2017, 06:13 PM   #39
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This thread looks like a good place too post this video.
It was taken from an airplane at high altitude as it passed just west of Guaymas, Mexico on the night of 26 August.
I made the video because I've never seen so much lightning in my life, anywhere.

The next day i looked at the charts to see if it was possibly a band from Harvey, but no, it just seemed to be in the trough caused by the thermal low over se CA & AZ.
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Old 08-31-2017, 06:18 PM   #40
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That's the wrong picture and i can't seem to attach the correct video.
Help anyone??
Richard
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