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View Poll Results: Have you ever suffered a lightning strike?
Yes, in Florida USA 9 5.84%
Yes, elsewhere in the USA 23 14.94%
Yes, elsewhere in the World 17 11.04%
No, but I personally know a boater who has 34 22.08%
No, but I'm aware of a specific boater who has 18 11.69%
I don't know anyone who has suffered a strike 53 34.42%
Voters: 154. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-07-2015, 19:45   #31
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

We were hit once on the hard 5 years ago. Minimal damage since I remove all the toys for winter lay-up. Hit again last year July 5 in Harbor Town Marina on Muskegon Lake, Michigan. There were at least 5 other boats struck as well. Witness saw the strike to our mast head (80 feet). We are 1984 Camper & Nicholson Ketch with encapsulated full keel and SSB ground plate. Here is the list.
Windex on the main vaporized
VHS antenna on the main vaporized; SS bits on deck
LED bulbs in the tri-color gone
2 LED deck lights on the Main gone
Steaming LED light out
All wiring in the bow fused.
Forward cabin LED lights out
Mizzen mast aft LED light out
Mizzen mast one deck LED light out
18 glass BUSS fuses out
VHS radio out
Vesper Marine AIS Watchmate 850 out
1.5 KW aux alternator on the Genset - diodes shorted
2.5 KW Xantrex - brains scrambles but hard re-boot recoverd
Simrad autopilot is dodgy
60 amp main 2-pole shore breaker out
5KW isolation transformer is not normal
Awl-Grip on the transom is spauled & cracked
Suite of Raymarine wind, depth, speed - not working


WHAT SURVIVED:
Simrad NSE-8; Broadband radar; depth scanner. These were all on separate hard air gap rocker switches & OFF at the time as well as their main breaker.
Lighting arrestor-fuzzy. - Not a scratch (ironic laughter)
Gas valve
Chicken band radio
Many other LED cabin lights.
Hand held GPS


We are adding 2-pole dry break rocker switches to everything including VHS antennas.


I am pretty sure the boat was struck while it was in Lauderdale before we bought. None of the B&G on board worked when we got it.


We have 3-inch wide heavy copper ground strip throughout the boat. This is bonded to the rigging & everything else.


The boat, CAL 40, I raced 35 years ago was struck in its slip & sunk. (Saginaw River, Saginaw, Michigan. This boat had a graphite paint job for racing. The lighting was ball; traveled down the mast and melted at least one nylon through hull as it exited. Witnesses saw the strike but sinking was slow.
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Old 06-07-2015, 20:28   #32
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
When several boats have been around 25 years and never been hit, and another one in the same marina has been hit two, or three times, you know there is something going on that would be good to figure out.

Darned if I can though.
Thought the same thing. My friend who had the Columbia 26 hit twice, both times was in a marina with dozens of other boats, at least half of them much larger with much higher masts. He had almost no electronics, only a couple of lights, battery charger and VHF. So what was it about his boat that attracted lightening?


On the other hand, I have been in the middle of major thunderstorms hundreds of miles from the nearest land so would have thought a strike unavoidable. Saw lightening hit the ocean all around but didn't hit me.


How come? I know it wasn't because of my exemplary life and clean living.
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Old 06-07-2015, 20:54   #33
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Thought the same thing. My friend who had the Columbia 26 hit twice, both times was in a marina with dozens of other boats, at least half of them much larger with much higher masts. He had almost no electronics, only a couple of lights, battery charger and VHF. So what was it about his boat that attracted lightening?


On the other hand, I have been in the middle of major thunderstorms hundreds of miles from the nearest land so would have thought a strike unavoidable. Saw lightening hit the ocean all around but didn't hit me.


How come? I know it wasn't because of my exemplary life and clean living.
I'm hoping to gather enough stories and boat types on this thread to perform a useful analysis of factors to make more than an anecdotal answer to exactly this question. It'll take hundreds of analyzable stories to create any real knowledge though.
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Old 06-07-2015, 21:01   #34
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
I'm hoping to gather enough stories and boat types on this thread to perform a useful analysis of factors to make more than an anecdotal answer to exactly this question. It'll take hundreds of analyzable stories to create any real knowledge though.
One more bit of information on his boat. It was outboard powered so no shaft. Also in fresh water.
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Old 06-07-2015, 21:17   #35
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
I'm hoping to gather enough stories and boat types on this thread to perform a useful analysis of factors to make more than an anecdotal answer to exactly this question. It'll take hundreds of analyzable stories to create any real knowledge though.
If you want to maximize responses, it might be best to have a moderator move this thread from the Monohull forum to the General Sailing forum.
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Old 06-07-2015, 21:34   #36
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
We took a direct hit three years ago. Boat is a CSY 37, cutter rig, heavy displacement, lead encapsulated half full keel.

It was in July when we were sailing from Treasure Cay to Marsh Harbor in the Abacos, Bahamas. Thunderstorms are obvious as they move across the sky in big towering black clouds. About two miles NE of Marsh we saw a Giant one heading our way. I decided to take down sail and anchor while it blew through. Water in the Sea of Abaco averages less than 15 feet so anchoring anywhere is no problem.

Not to start an anchor war, but our 45lb Manson Supreme held, well, supremely, as it always has. The Admiral was down below while I stayed in the cockpit to keep an eye on things and make sure we weren't dragging, although we were a mile from the nearest shore. The storm passed right over us.

I was looking forward toward the mast when there was a sudden BOOM!, sounded like a 155mm howitzer going off next to me. An electric blue light came down the mast and then disappeared. I knew we had been hit.

The first thing I did was to go down below and check for incoming water from anywhere. After a minute of frantic searching I found none. Thankfully the CSY is built for easy service and all through hulls are quickly accessible. We waited for the storm to pass over which it did in less than a half hour. It was already getting dark anyway so I decided to stay where we were until morning before trying to enter Marsh.

I soon discovered our losses. Some, but not all, of our interior lights had been blown out. The VHF, depth sounder, and Navtex were no longer working. Our nav lights were also blown but I didn't discover this for a few weeks. We have no masthead light so no problem there, but I did notice that the VHF antenna was completely missing. The alternator on the engine was no longer charging, something I discovered the next morning when we motored into the harbor. Thats it. Not even enough for an insurance claim if we had had insurance. And the Navtex wasn't really damaged.

In harbor the next day I gave the boat a thorough going over. There was no indication of where the lightning exited the boat. I inspected the hull around the waterline but could find no sign of damage. And what wasn't damaged is just as interesting as what was damaged.

Everything connected directly to the battery bank - not going through the breaker panel - was undamaged. The Adler Barbour fridge, the CPT autopilot, the inverter, and the solar panel were working normally. The two handheld VHF's and my three handheld GPS's were undamaged - I don't have a built in GPS. And the Navtex held a little surprise.

The built in VHF and depth sounder were both fused on the positive side, as is usual. The fuses were not blown but the devices were toast. The built in navtex has two fuses - one on pos and one on neg. The one on neg was blown. I replaced it and it came back up like nothing had happened! Makes me believe that the bolt came down through the negative side. From that moment on I decided to fuse BOTH sides of every important piece of equipment.

And no, the boat is NOT GROUNDED. Every through hull is on it's own. I have absolutely no evidence to support this, but I have this fear that a grounded through hull might have been blown out of the hull as the bolt went to ground through it.

Being in the Abacos you can live without the things we lost, except for the alternator. Fortunately I always carry a spare alternator and starter motor, although there is an alternator shop in Marsh. We spent the next month just hanging out in the Abacos. It wasn't until we made the crossing back to Florida that I discovered the nav lights weren't working. Don't know why I didn't check them sooner.
On your theory re bonding, non of my thru hulls were bonded yet the exterior fairing was blown out. Even ones not near chainplates. I even have ripped out most of the ol bonding wires for the old valves.

I think lighting is one piece of nature man will never understand. It defies all logic and laws.

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Old 06-07-2015, 22:13   #37
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Originally Posted by rgesner View Post
If you want to maximize responses, it might be best to have a moderator move this thread from the Monohull forum to the General Sailing forum.

Thanks for the tip. Mods?


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Old 06-07-2015, 23:03   #38
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
I'm hoping to gather enough stories and boat types on this thread to perform a useful analysis of factors to make more than an anecdotal answer to exactly this question. It'll take hundreds of analyzable stories to create any real knowledge though.
You'll need to ask for more specifics, then. Mast height and material? Grounded? How, exactly?

My boat has the uppers, forestay, and back stay grounded with ~5/16" (can't remember the gauge #) stranded copper cable to the external lead keel. The masts are spruce, my mizzen isn't grounded at all. I hope to never have any data on the effectiveness of this setup.
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Old 06-07-2015, 23:24   #39
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

I know you wanted boat strikes, but my strike was in my home Auckland NZ when I was 11 in 1950. The lightning exploded the top 12' of the chimney. Exploding masonry demolished the clay tiles on one side of the house. It was 4 am and bricks heavy masonry came through the ceiling onto my bed seconds after I got out. Telephone lines outside in the street were demolished. The living room was black with soot. The chimney had been maybe 35' high.

A friend though years later in the late 80's about 3 miles from my strike had his yacht mast VHF antenna struck one night on its swing mooring. He wasn't present. The VHF was wrecked. The fluro lights were wrecked. There were thin scorch marks around the interior lighting wiring. Lightning had danced from the wiring around the aluminum beer cans in a locker puncturing some cans and leaving thin scorch marks on most. No other damage.
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:12   #40
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, crabcake.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:17   #41
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Two close calls for me ,once after stepping off a friends boat we had walked about 50 feet away it was struck,all electronics were dead about 10 inches around the water line the fibers were sticking out and the gelcoat was mostly missing
Standing in the marina watching a storm approach, a wave of load hair raising crackling from the top of all the mast's as I looked up to see what it was BAM! it hit a boat very near me, don't know the extent of damage?
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:23   #42
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Thanks for the tip. Mods?


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Moved to general sailing forum
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:28   #43
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

My 41' Morgan OI ketch was struck in Key Largo while at the dock several years ago destroying most of the 12V electronics; SSB radio, antennae tuner, VHF radio, autopilot computer and control head, watermaker, 12V lights, etc. Mast took a direct hit and bolt traveled down the SSB backstay jumping right across the insulators. All fuses were blown in all the components. 120V components were fine. State Farm required everything to be inspected by an electronics technician prior to replacement. About a $10,000 claim.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:49   #44
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Been struck several times on steel supply boats, most damage that occurred was one of the cards in the SSB antenna coupler burned out and the 12 Volt power supply burned up, no other damage received. Other vessels in the area not so lucky, they lost all of the 12 V electronics. Been lucky so far on my personal boat, no strikes yet.
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Old 07-07-2015, 10:11   #45
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Took a strike in the GoM. Fried the GMDSS station. Had to replace MF/HF head unit.


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