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Old 14-08-2012, 19:56   #91
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Re: Lightning Strike Damage Details Needed

Come on folks!! We live in Lightning and Hurrycane Alley down here in South Louisiana!! we have 5 or 6 mos a year when we have lightning everyday!! No one I know in the area has any type of lightning protection !! in the 12 yrs we have lived and sailed the area, I know of 2 boats that have been hit by lightning!! One was working trolling shrimp, lost there electronics, no other damage, this was a steel boat 65 ft long with booms over 50 ft high. The other was at his dock 40 ft long wooded boat !! with steel booms about 35 ft high, the boat sank do to blowing out 3 planks at and below the water line !! While our 42 ft sailing vessel made of steel and with 2 aluminum masts 58 ft tall and 50ft tall has never had a strike as yet! and this is in 25 yrs of ownership!! we have NO bonding or any type of lightning protection!! how do you decide what to do !! The fella in Slidel LA. has been hit a couple of times with some really trick stuff aboard just to protect his boat !! Just what are ya to do ?? spend some big bucks for stuff that don't work or Pay your money and take your choice ? We will continue to sail along just not worrying about something we can't control !!It makes it much simpler for us old folks !! Ive enought to worry about like keeping my boat seaworthy, then worry about something I can't controll !!! Just my 2 cents
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Old 14-08-2012, 21:51   #92
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Re: Lightning Strike Damage Details Needed

This is a good, fun and for me expensive topic.

Four weekends ago, Sunday afternoon, I was returning to the marina from the Chesapeake Bay. My VHF radio receiving very well, and a few of my nav lights lit when switched on. The following Sunday I had no reception on the radio, so I started to disconnect it to use the expensive West Marine warranty I paid for. Just as I was getting ready to disconnect the antenna cable I heard a call come in (I forgot to turn it off).

That meant the radio was working, but the antenna was not. Puzzled I was, and left it alone, just in case it was healing itself and did not want me to watch. I decided to check the nav lights to see which ones were not burned out. Flip the steaming light switch and go on deck. No light. Need to buy one. Flip that off and another on. Go on deck and all the working lights are on. Oh, oh. Again, confused.

We go out, using a handheld VHF radio, get out about 8 miles and a clanking at the mast head got my attention. Enough tempting the Sirens, we turned about and high tailed it at four knots back to the marina. I had the yard put the mast on stands for a good visual inspection.

VHF antenna connectors had the solder melted out of them and they were popped apart. Anchor light had the connectors popped out of the holders. Steaming light was crystalized and the gasket melted to the holder. VHF antenna wire at the base was exploded at a corrosion point, a place where a high resistance would be expected to develop; the connector solder melted. Steaming light wiring at the base had the insulation melted to the mast tube.

Best guess is she did not get a direct hit, the electronics still work. Most likely a stray from a nearby lightning strike went to the VHF antenna. The VHF connectors melting and popping probably made enough of an open to prevent the energy continuing to the control panels. But that energy then went to the nearby wiring which was most likely damaged enough to direct the remaining energy to the mast and who knows where in the rain it snuck off to.

Currently rewiring; the anchor light; the VHF antenna (replaced); the steaming light and foredeck light; and the wind guages which were not affected because they were disconnected.

Lightning does weird stuff. Like I said, we did not get a direct hit.

Surge protectors are sacrificial, meaning they are supposed to be destroyed instead of your important and expensive gear. Use them around the boat and house because they do work. Except in a direct hit, where the lightning will blast right through and over them.
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Old 14-08-2012, 22:26   #93
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Re: Lightning Strike Damage Details Needed

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Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
While our 42 ft sailing vessel made of steel and with 2 aluminum masts ....... we have NO bonding or any type of lightning protection!!
I don't think you understand what bonding means. Or you don't understand the nature of metal.

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Old 14-08-2012, 23:36   #94
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Re: Lightning Strike Damage Details Needed

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Planes do have issues with lightening. Here's an example from a military report:
Pitot tube... small lighting rod?..LOL...DVC
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Old 14-08-2012, 23:39   #95
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Me and Bo,

We got hit in Back Creek Annapolis the same weekend, but on Saturday night. After analysis of the surveyor and our Marine tech it appears we we side truck and the electricity from the bolt which hit the water tower 200 yards away, trraveled through the water and entered our boat via the shaft. Traveled to the engine, fused the Yanmar panel, followed the ground to the Blue Sea panel, destroyed all Sea Talk instruments, gps anennae, chart plotter, depth, wind, knott, and auto pilot.tok out 3 way charger and all the white LED lights sparing the red side of their switches. As the bolt looked for a way to exit t went up the bast took out he nchor light and windex sparing VHF, radar and TV antennae. The bot next to us saw it jump from the top of our mast to third where the mayhem continued. All in a millisecond.

Electricity like Murphy has its own mind and while it looks for paths to enter and exit, it destroys electronics with no discern able attern. This is not a scientific statement, just a first hand observation.

BTW my wife and I were in the cabin hair standing straight out, large flash at the Blue Sea panel, and and one and electrical smell obvious.

Dave
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Old 15-08-2012, 01:14   #96
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Re: Lightning Strike Damage Details Needed

I always carry a set of starter cables. Come lightning - one end on shroud, one in the water
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Old 15-08-2012, 01:18   #97
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Re: Lightning Strike Damage Details Needed

We very rarely get lightning up here in coastal Alaska (I've heard thunder 3 times in 30 years). So I feel irrationally freaked out when we are sailing in more temperate climates (like Annapolis last month) & get caught in lightning storms. Since I'm usually the skipper I try to keep a stiff upper lip, but I'm sure it quivers sometimes.

Therefore I'm very interested in the OPs question about incidents where there were serious injuries or fatalities related to lightning (on cruising sailboats). Anyone heard of any? Doesn't seem to be a common thing (whew!) Ancedotal evidence welcome!

Speaking of anecdotal evidence, I have to say that one of the reasons I hang out on this forum and not on Insuance actuarial or statistician forums is I like to hear people's stories about sailing & cruising.

I enjoy reading posts by zeehag and a bunch of others who at first I don't understand, but after some effort, I can.

I do engineering & computer science for a living and I enjoy doing the left brain/right brain stretch to keep things interesting and limber. If the concern is that someone might stumble upon their posts and think they are scientific articles/facts I don't think that's likely to happen. People on the internet these days are quite aware that anyone can post anything. It might be based on sound reason/fact but often is not.

I'm just sayin, if I walk into a room and at one table there are a bunch of actuaries & at the other table sits zeehag, I'll go sit with her and listen to some stories & chat. Doesn't mean I'll take her advice on everything, and depending on the topic, might go sneak a peek at an actuarial table. (pun intended)

I also repect your opinion to do otherwise, and I mean no insult to actuaries if there are any lurking here ;-)

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Old 15-08-2012, 06:34   #98
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Re: Lightning Strike Damage Details Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Me and Bo,

We got hit in Back Creek Annapolis the same weekend, but on Saturday night. After analysis of the surveyor and our Marine tech it appears we we side truck and the electricity from the bolt which hit the water tower 200 yards away, trraveled through the water and entered our boat via the shaft. Traveled to the engine, fused the Yanmar panel, followed the ground to the Blue Sea panel, destroyed all Sea Talk instruments, gps anennae, chart plotter, depth, wind, knott, and auto pilot.tok out 3 way charger and all the white LED lights sparing the red side of their switches. As the bolt looked for a way to exit t went up the bast took out he nchor light and windex sparing VHF, radar and TV antennae. The bot next to us saw it jump from the top of our mast to third where the mayhem continued. All in a millisecond.

Electricity like Murphy has its own mind and while it looks for paths to enter and exit, it destroys electronics with no discern able attern. This is not a scientific statement, just a first hand observation.

BTW my wife and I were in the cabin hair standing straight out, large flash at the Blue Sea panel, and and one and electrical smell obvious.

Dave
It sounds to me like you got a direct hit either from another bolt or from a sideflash off the bolt hitting the tower.

It is unlikely that the lightning traveled through the earth, then through the water and into your boat. Even if it somehow did, it is electrically unlikely that the best path for it was through your boat from underwater, up to the top of the mast and out through the air to another boat.

More likely is that the observers saw a bolt hit both your mast and another boat's mast and the lightning traveled down the mast to ground through both. In other words, the opposite path that you suggest - but with the same damaging result.

Mark
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