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Old 19-07-2016, 13:01   #16
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

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Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
...So if its threatening to storm, stay ashore.
Reed, this is the nub of the issue. Clearly, one wouldn't sail directly into the jaws of the bad storm. However, lightning is forecast nearly every afternoon of the summer on the East Coast and the Great Lakes. So when do we leave the dock?

Interestingly, Saxon Harbor on Lake Superior was destroyed in a storm last week. 50 odd boat displaced and sunk.
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Old 19-07-2016, 13:09   #17
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

h aha ha mazatlan never has lightning-- btw--the nice cloud to cloud lightning you see in pic was mazatlan the other might before the lovely lightning storm we had. every day we have had beautiful bright loud close in tormentas with awesome light shows, but, to listen to someone here, those were not lightning. they are most prevalent during our exposure to tropical waves and the cyclonic events there to associated. also with the highs and lows meeting at our shoreline, which is at present a fact of life in mazatlan and west coastal mexico from maz to san carlos. but there is certainly no lightning there at all.
might wanna clue in the residents who see it that they are hallucinating.
ok, was gorgeous to watch, even tho it wasnt. might wanna tell the ones hit by the nonexistent stuff here and in la cruz that it isnt lightning. the insurance companies may wish to stop the fraud claims entered as a result of its damages. that glow produced by the catamaran that was spectacularly hit in 2013 i am sure would specifically enjoy knowing it wasnt lightning that caused his woes. s would hi sinsurance company when the claim was filed
all lightning is fun to watch., fla is king of gator poo(as opposed to bull crap) and all lightning is same stuff, different locale. i didnt find fla had more than louisiana, nor more than mazatlan. same stuff different locale.
i enjoy reading the insecurities of males as they try to outdo women in every thing posted. is most entertaining. as experiences different, it is truly an event worthy of watching, i have found. .
i am soooooo happy that the alleged sailor experiencing zero lightning in mazatlan and west coastal central america experienced a storm free travel. awesome. as folks travel in winter when there are no storms, there is no way that individual can compare his experiences in west mexico lightning storms with floridas storms.
ye gotta be here to see em and ye gotta be here in summer, not high season, which is winter.
high season is storm free season in all of central america.
lightning season is summer, aka LOW season, aka cane season, when the wimpy gringos all fly north like snowbirds to escape the realities of storm season. those of us who have balls to remain here know the realities of weather here. we also have air conditioners in our boats while folks work on our projects. some even go to hills to explore--less lightning up there--not so close to the conjuncture of mexican high and low pressure areas passing by
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Old 19-07-2016, 13:36   #18
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Reed, this is the nub of the issue. Clearly, one wouldn't sail directly into the jaws of the bad storm. However, lightning is forecast nearly every afternoon of the summer on the East Coast and the Great Lakes. So when do we leave the dock?

Interestingly, Saxon Harbor on Lake Superior was destroyed in a storm last week. 50 odd boat displaced and sunk.
That is just not true. Did my Dr. work in the great lakes region and grew up on the east coast. There may be two days a week where thunderstorms are forecasted for a specific area. Even then its mostly in August. The vast majority of the thunderstorms are inland, not along the coast until you get way south and then like in Florida, they are a daily occurrence year round. In fact we just had our second thunderstorm of the summer yesterday, for the entire midcoast of Maine.

Its not just lightening but micro bursts that kill.
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Old 19-07-2016, 17:53   #19
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

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You have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting hit by lightning. I don't worry about lightning, its the storm that goes with it I'm concerned about.
That's odd... I know quite a few boats that have been struck, and know OF a hell of a lot more. I know no one who has had a big lottery win. I must be a statistical anomaly.

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Old 19-07-2016, 18:59   #20
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

No. We do not leave when lightning expected.

Which does not really help since we never coast.

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Old 19-07-2016, 19:07   #21
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

My parents were hit by lightning years ago, both standing in the cockpit of their Columbia 29. Neither were hurt but the electronics were fried. I think the cone created by the shrouds, back stay, head stay creates a "safe zone" sort of like a Faraday box. And if the lightning can find a way to the water that does not involve a through hull, the will survive. The boat they were on had external chain plates. I have sailed in lightning feeling somewhat secure knowing about that incident.
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Old 19-07-2016, 19:17   #22
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

Don't know any lottery winners, but do know boats that have been struck by lightning, including my own boat.

I hate lightning. It scares the pi** out of me, primarily because it is so capricious. There is always something I can do in heavy weather, big waves or wind. There are ways to deal with momentary navigational challenges (lost), or incoming water. Given enough time I can fix most things on my boat that are necessary for operation.

But lightning? It's a crap shoot where the odds are unknown, there is nothing you can do to improve them, and in the end, as we all know, the house always wins. Maybe the metaphor is a bit tortured, but you get my drift.

It's the helpless feeling that gets me. I will admit it.

I hate lightning!
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Old 19-07-2016, 20:24   #23
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

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You have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting hit by lightning. I don't worry about lightning, its the storm that goes with it I'm concerned about.
I recently read that on average most boats get hit by lightening once in every 30 years. (cant remember the source- they must have surveyed millions of boats around the world if it was a real figure) but how cool would it be if most boat owners won the lottery once every thirty years.
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Old 19-07-2016, 21:28   #24
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

If'n I saw something like in zeehag's first post coming, or a few of the storms I've seen in Cowboy Country, in the Western US; the kind where a strike lights up the whole landscape for 20nm in every direction. Then I'd wander up to the bar for some cold ones & call it good. Otherwise I wouldn't fret much about it.
Usually it's the wind & seas that go with a big cell that are the issue. Them, & sometimes there can be some nasty hail, which is pretty hazardous. --> Let's hear it for hard dodgers, & AP remotes to steer with when cowering under them

And if my memory's working right, statistically speaking, you're much more likely to get hit by it at anchor or in a marina, than you are under sail. The theory being that a moving masthead disipates any charge it might have, a good bit better than one which is static. And that it's when a tall object builds up enough of a charge, that it's attractive to it's polar opposite in a cloud. Which, like the pull between 2 magnets, draws a strike from up high.
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Old 19-07-2016, 23:09   #25
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

we don't deliberately sail in electrical storms / we don't sail fast enough to avoid them if one comes over the horizon / there is not a lot you can do when you are out there just enjoy the sail and hope for the best / no doubt once you noticed the menacing condition a precautionary reef and check hatches / stow anything that's likely to blow or wash off the boat / I have permission to say we / the first mate can't get off and walk either
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Old 20-07-2016, 01:50   #26
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

The steel hull/Faraday cage thing is probably factual however I lost my TV and a computer last year from a close lightning strike and I have a steel boat. None of the other electronics on the boat suffered. The current path was probably from the dipole TV antenna on top of the mast and into the AC system into which both the TV and computer were plugged. I was on a mooring and the AC system was on the inverter at the time although the inverter was not switched on.


A number of years ago I went through a thunder storm at sea and lightning strikes, none of which were very close to the boat, corrupted the memory of my autopilot. Reloading the software fixed the problem.


They are scary phenomena and if I can I usually heave to and go below until thunder storms pass over. I was caught in one once on a looong set of leads into an anchorage and ended up cringing on the helm in all my wet weather gear and rubber reef walking boots with my feet in two plastic buckets.
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Old 20-07-2016, 02:22   #27
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

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And if my memory's working right, statistically speaking, you're much more likely to get hit by it at anchor or in a marina, than you are under sail.
Staistically speaking, I'd give odds that there are far more boats at anchor or in a marina than under sail at any given point in time.

Alternatively that the vast majority of boats spend much more time at anchor or in a marina than under sail.

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Old 20-07-2016, 15:16   #28
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

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I've been hit by lightning.

And grounded. Hard.

And hit big submerged logs.

And busted my knee hours from port.

And torn sails and shipped water.

And sailed within a mile of waterspouts.


I don't do anything stupid like trying to be tough and elect to sail through a serious squall replete with lightning and high winds. But I don't let a chance event stop me from sailing.
Found it interestin that waterspouts are fresh water, even over the ocean. some salt water gets drawn up but water not salty.. was a surprise to hear.
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Old 20-07-2016, 15:31   #29
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

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Just wondering how you deal with predicted lightning on the forecast when you are cruising. If it's predicted that day does that prevent you from leaving absolutely? What's your threshold for going out?


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Old 20-07-2016, 15:45   #30
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Re: Do you sail when Lightning is predicted?

Did a delivery on Lake Huron once, most amazing thunderstorm all night long.

Cloud to cloud strikes would light up the visible sky while cloud to ground struck around the periphery. Constant lighting everywhere. Once the sun came up the fog rolled in and the rain slowed to a drizzle. Got zapped by a bolt out of nowhere. Really messed the boat up.

Also had St. Elmo's fire once. Freaky. That and a "crackling" sound in the rigging on another occasion. That was even freakier.
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