I have a friend that hangs jumper cables overboard
from his shrouds as a storm is approaching. Also heard of people hanging chain over from their backstay. From my prior experience as an electronics
technician, my theory is to not ground at all since electricity will take the path of least resistance. In other words, when you tie your mast
into any thru hulls or saildrives, etc. you're increasing your odds of getting the hit. Like I say, it's my theory and I'm sure some of you all disagree but I'm sure some others agree. I've been talking with fellow boat owners and yard owners and it's about 50/50 on opinions as to ground or not to ground. And you can bet that I'm knocking on wood cause any boat could be hit - it's just trying to find a way to keep your boat at less odds of being the one to take the hit.
Last month, while anchored in Marsh Harbour in the Abacos, we had a gnarly storm roll through (during the cruisers net) and a bolt of lighting
hit inside the harbour scaring the Bejesus out of everyone. Within seconds flames started roaring from a Moorings 430 charter
cat (super nice boat) that was tied up at the Conch Inn dock
. It took a hit and within one hour burned to the waterline - a complete loss (see photo). The boat was around 100 yards behind me. I've heard someone reply on this forum that all of the Moorings boats are grounded. Either way, I would say you're grounded the moment you plug
your boat into shore power
at the dock
. If my boat was the one that was hit - and not being grounded and away from the dock - my theory would have been null and void. But luckily, and I'm still knocking on wood cause I know sH&% happens - we were fine so that's my theory and I'm sticking to it. We also ran through some crazy lightning
storms leaving the Bahama Bank near Mantilla Shoals at 12:30 a.m.. I'm talking about running in pitch
dark (no moon) with lightning popping all around you. Had one real close one that looked like it stuck to the water
and sizzled. Crazy!
Also, Larry W, where were the two exit spots on your boat from the lightning strike? Too bad I missed you at Green Turtle. We were in White Sound for a few days and decided to head
back to Florida
just before the onslaught of boats arrived for the regatta
. Also, what's the beam of your Mahe?