Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-05-2012, 13:50   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii
Boat: Hudson Force 50
Posts: 124
Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

OK, sometimes I come up with some off the wall ideas, but I thought this one might actually work. For that reason, I thought I might bring it to this forum for input...but be nice, I know this might be just stupid.

I was thinking that an easy and cheap lighning protection might be to have two sets of galvenized chain (six feet long) that have a quick connect shackle. In the event that I see the potential for lightning, I could drop these chains into the water with the quick connect connected to the wire shrouds of the boat. I figure this would be a direct chanel to the ocean that may be quicker than going through all of my electronics.

While I admit this requires me to be alert for the possibility of lightning, as long as I am willing to do it at the righht time, it just might work.

What are your suggestions? Am I crazy?

The Witchdoctor
__________________

__________________
medicrene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 13:58   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,594
Images: 240
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

It might help to mitigate potential damages, but it's not anywhere near an ideal solution. Likely, better than nothing, though (many people do use a similar set-up).
You actually want at least 2 square feet of electrode (your submerged chain), solidly connected between your metals and the water (ground).
__________________

__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 20:37   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Camden, ME
Boat: A Thistle and a Hallberg-Rassy 36
Posts: 664
Not that your plan may not help, but lightning is capricious and often does not follow what would seem to be the logical path. Just dont count on perfect protection no what steps you eventually take.
__________________
SoonerSailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 21:03   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Chester, MD for now
Boat: Pearson Ariel 264
Posts: 124
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

Some years ago I had to watch a safety film on electricity and lightening some other things that I have forgotten. The only thing I remeber is the guy in the video with a live wire and three different conducters placed exactly the same length from the live wire. He would apply power and it would arc to one of the conducters and rinse and repeat. There was no predicting which conducter would get zapped. He final conclusion was "What does electricity do...whatever the hell it wants". So based on that I say your plan could not hurt and just might work or be a complete disaster.

FWIW I`m no electrical engineer but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express about 11 yrs ago during a lightening storm.
__________________
Keith
International Man of Leisure
Chattcatdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 21:46   #5
Registered User
 
callmecrazy's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Boat: Tartan 30
Posts: 1,548
Images: 1
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

The basic idea of providing a direct route to ground is about as solid as they get.

But, as others have mentioned, lightning is entirely unpredictable... I knew a guy that was struck and killed walking down the beach holding hands with his two children. Both kids were thrown more than 10 feet away, but he was burnt to a crisp... This was before the rain ever fell, just when it was getting cloudy and people were starting to leave the beach.

The principal is, provide the most efficent route to ground so that other routes may be avoided...it works well in theory, but in reality it's completely unpredictable.
__________________
My Blog
callmecrazy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 21:52   #6
Registered User
 
david samuelson's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Thailand, presently
Boat: S & S 43'
Posts: 97
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

I wonder what effect these chains will have on your topsides paint as you are sailing.
__________________
david samuelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 22:42   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
atoll's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: gettin naughty on the beach in cornwall
Boat: 63 custom alloy sloop,macwester26,prout snowgoose 37 elite catamaran!
Posts: 9,312
Images: 75
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

i once saw a boat hit by lighning in a marina,funny thing was in a forest of masts his was the only one with a lightning protector at the top of the mast in the area!

fried his mast and all his electronics
__________________
my catamaran building project updates http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...36#post2502136
atoll is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 22:43   #8
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

One way to evaluate such an idea is to ask whether it's more likely to keep you from being struck by lightning than it is to keep you from successfully entertaining a member of the opposite sex the first time that person visits your boat.

My guess is that the odds favor the later option, as far as this idea is concerned.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 22:50   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
atoll's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: gettin naughty on the beach in cornwall
Boat: 63 custom alloy sloop,macwester26,prout snowgoose 37 elite catamaran!
Posts: 9,312
Images: 75
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

i like the sex anology,but one has to consider if making your boat a better lightning conductor, if it actuallly increases the probability of attracting a lightning strike?
__________________
my catamaran building project updates http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...36#post2502136
atoll is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2012, 22:54   #10
cruiser

Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 122
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

aceepting that lightninig does what it wants... you can buy int other ideas as well... that lightning prefers tall objects and paths of least resistance...

if you dont create a path to ground or make it high resistance by not submerging chain would that be safer or less likely for lightning to find a different path or not strike at all...
__________________
sailinman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2012, 02:19   #11
Ram
Registered User
 
Ram's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Cruising Greece
Boat: Cat in the med & Trawler in Florida
Posts: 2,298
Images: 27
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

Science & TechnologyHere is something to read on the subject-
__________________
Ram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2012, 08:56   #12
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,953
Images: 6
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

The idea of hanging a piece of chain in the water is an age-old idea for mitigating lightning damage. From what I've read, it works as well as anything else. Which is to say, not especially well.
__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2012, 09:02   #13
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,777
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

having sailed thru lightning for a near year, and having been attentive as a NASA engineer's boat was hit not just once but TWICE in 4 yrs, i can honestly say--aint no such a thing as lightning protection. i wear crocs , rubber suit with hood, and have my cat on board. there has never been a recorded event of a gato being hit by lightning. crocs attract nothing.
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2012, 16:47   #14
Certifiable Refitter/Senior Wannbe
 
Wotname's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: South of 43 S, Australia
Boat: Van DeStat Super Dogger 31'
Posts: 7,336
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

Oh gawd, here we go again.

Lets dispel some myths.

1. Lightning goes where it wants to - myth, lightning is electricity and follows the science of EMF and current flow (in gases - air, in liquids - water and in solids - metals, boats etc)

2. Where lightning strikes is unpredictable - mainly true. The problem here is that the process of ionization of the air very difficult to predict given all the variables. However we can predict that it more often strikes higher rather than lower structures and more often strikes conductive structures rather non-conductive one; however it is not truly predictable in any real sense of the word.

3. Lightning takes the path of least resistance to ground - myth. Lightning takes ALL paths to ground in strict accordance with the known rules of current flow. That tells us that the majority of the current flows through the path of least resistance but it also tells us that some current will flow in all parallel paths.

It is hard (impossible?) to predict if you will be struck by lighting and where the arc (current flow though ionized air) will enter the boat however it will usually be the mast. However once the current flow moves into the solids; mast, rigging, grounding cables etc, then it is a bit easier to predict where it will flow. Most will go down the path of least resistance unless that path fails (normally due to heat build up or skin effect on sharp bends) and rest will take all the other paths. After a strike entry and if the path to ground fails sufficiently, the EMF may well be great enough to ionize the air locally resulting in arcs in and around the boat - not good!

As to the OP's question, I think Gord answered it best in post 2

Perhaps this is a reason why chain plates are so named!
__________________
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
Wotname is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2012, 16:54   #15
Certifiable Refitter/Senior Wannbe
 
Wotname's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: South of 43 S, Australia
Boat: Van DeStat Super Dogger 31'
Posts: 7,336
Re: Simple Lightning Protection Idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram View Post
Science & TechnologyHere is something to read on the subject-
Nice link, thanks for posting it.
__________________

__________________
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
Wotname is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
lightning

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:13.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.