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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 07-07-2015, 10:43   #46
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

47 Passport. Annapolis Maryland. Didn't know the boat was struck until I visited the masthead and the wind indicator was melted. There were dark carbon stains on the white paint on both sides where the shrouds attached also. VHF antenna gone. Tri color bulb was out also. Must have happened while we were ashore. No electronics damage inside the boat!


Also, San Carlos Mexico, while going by an anchored trimaran in my dingy, observed it struck by lightening. Melted everything on the masthead.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:12   #47
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

My dad's boat was hit on the VHF antennae which fried same and the VHF radio. I think he also lost he depth sounder and one other device which I can't remember. There was not much on boats back then other than a depth sounder and VHF.

The hull was not affected thankfully.

This was in Fort Lauderdale FLA.

One needs to know how many masts, their height, and material. Also the length of boat as well as the material used to build the hull and deck, fiber, steel, aluminum, wood, etc. I suspect mono vs multi hull is important information as well.

The Boat US survey on lightning strikes showed the multi hull boats are hit more often than mono. The only thing I can think off that would cause this is that multi hulls have more water line than a mono hull.

Is the boat bonded or not might be interesting to know.

Later,
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:39   #48
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Three minor/indirect strikes on two boats.

WC35 in St Pete,FL just before I bought it, still in brokerage, took a minor strike that apparently entered via VHF antenna (vaporized) and mostly exited via the steaming light...exploded from the inside out. Enough strike/EMP got to the rest of the boat to fry anything with a transisitor in it, but no physical damage. This inculuded all flourecent light fixtures and all instruments. No physical damage to the boat itself. Good strike for me...got all brand new instruments etc compliments of the seller. All repairs were done by competent pros at sellers expense except I replaced all the light fixtures just to speed things up. However, little electrical gremlins popped up for years that I suspect were delayed effects of the strike. Been fiddling with an intermittent gremlin in my anchor light for years and never have nailed it...this year I'm just gonna replace the whole fixture and wiring...though the wiring tests good.

WC35 at dock in Guatemala. Hot day, AC was running. I was below reading and could hear the strikes getting closer. Headed for the breaker panel, but I was a few seconds too late...BOOM...a strike hit a power pole nearby...surge tripped all the breakers on the panel, but port AC breaker was not fast enough. Cooked the AC control board. No damage otherwise.

Hobie 33. Moderate strike at anchor. No electronics to damage, but did do minor damage around waterline. Also around an old unused transducer that still had wiring attached to it...followed the wire to the transducer. Bulk of strike energy apparently came down back stay, arced to rudder post, followed rudder post to where it exited boat and arced to water from there (thus avoiding damage to rudder). Did damage some back stay fittings at arc point. Bulbs on lights blown, anchor light fixture lens shattered, but fixtures otherwise OK and all wiring tested good.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:02   #49
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

We got struck late last year and lost most of the electronics on the boat, Auto Pilot, 2 x E125 and just about everything else.

Insurance company refused the claim until l climbed the mast and if you look hard the damage to the antenna is on the last 4 inches from the top, hence they honoured the claim.

It was a very expensive strike...

Note the top plate of the mast showed no damage, just the antenna.


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Old 09-07-2015, 12:21   #50
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Though we've never had a direct strike we did have one nearby that resulted in a minor outcome on board our boat. This happened back in the late 1980's when telephone answering machines were common. We came home and I saw that our answering machine indicated that we had 88 phone messages for that afternoon and all at the same time! ...nothing was said.
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Old 10-07-2015, 00:33   #51
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Originally Posted by chris95040 View Post
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.

I can look up most of the pertinent information from the boat model if it's included. If you are reporting about a custom built boat, please do include hull and mast materials, mast height including antennas, keel type, and whether or not the boat has grounding system.


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Old 20-07-2015, 18:05   #52
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

1979, May... direct masthead strike, 7am, off little Harbor central Abaco's..offshore 1/2 mile after night crossing from Eleuthra...waiting for good light to go into cut...flat calm, 1/2 black sky...other 1/2 dead clear...no rain, no wind, don't remember any thunder either...only single bolt strike.... out of the entire sky hit us...
s/v Labadie: 1971 Morgan 35, hull # 115,... 27 ft 7" waterline... lead external keel,... center/b sloop....4'3" draft board up...
2 dynomat? 10" copper plates x 1/2" thick..thrubolted external on rear quarter hull 2 feet below waterline.....3" copper straps from chainplates run aft to thick copper plates...
very simple boat electrics...only simple electric depthsounder...
damage: vhf mast head antenna burnt, fried pieces on deck...105 amp hour wet battery exploded ontop...3 in bank..only 1 damaged..1974 SSB receiver.... fried...cheap stereo....fried...vhf fried...no other damage anywhere...at anytime ever observed...
boat insurance paid 5 weeks later in Ft Lauderdale for all damage minus small deductible..
I remember the ins. adjuster telling me he had 5 sailboat lightning claims that week...
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Old 20-07-2015, 18:39   #53
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, crabcake.
Thank you kind sir! Greetings and salutations from Backfin Crabcake!
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Old 20-07-2015, 18:50   #54
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Here is one that is pretty informative on mono's and cats
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Old 28-07-2015, 11:24   #55
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Went to visit Our Catalina 30 last Tuesday. Found it had been struck.

Vaporized the masthead VHF whip, traveled Down the back stay and burnt a bunch of holes in our rolled up Bimini. Also went down the starboard stay and blew out our interior lighting on the starboard side as well as the main DC master switch gone to vapor.

Found its way into the solar controller and almost all of our glass fuses. It also ate all the engine gauges and the electronic ignition and bilge blower.

Having a diver checking things out below today.

Our Garmin chart plotter, survived, as did our VHF and ais as they are kept in the trunk of the car.

Strange is that almost all of our mast and navigation lights survived. We only lost the stern light.




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Old 28-07-2015, 12:59   #56
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Nice looking boat. I was sitting right in front of the boat when it was hit. We where showered in sparks from the disintegrated antenna. The next morning found bits of the tricolor masthead light on the ground. A local tecky checked it out and found all electronics toast, including the alternator. Could be a great deal for somebody handy.
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Old 28-07-2015, 13:15   #57
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

July 2013. Flash lightning at night. St. Lawrence River, Ontario. Glen Island "Strait", near Glenora. Blew out our Davis light that was hanging under the boom. Subsequent investigation (in the morning !) showed the circuit board inside the light burnt up. Used to go on and off automatically depending on daylight. Now, after a bit of soldering, we can still use it, but have to manually turn it off and on.

Had an anti-lightning "bush" on top of the mast.
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Old 28-07-2015, 15:41   #58
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Garbone View Post
Went to visit Our Catalina 30 last Tuesday. Found it had been struck.

Vaporized the masthead VHF whip, traveled Down the back stay and burnt a bunch of holes in our rolled up Bimini. Also went down the starboard stay and blew out our interior lighting on the starboard side as well as the main DC master switch gone to vapor.

Found its way into the solar controller and almost all of our glass fuses. It also ate all the engine gauges and the electronic ignition and bilge blower.

Having a diver checking things out below today.

Our Garmin chart plotter, survived, as did our VHF and ais as they are kept in the trunk of the car.

Strange is that almost all of our mast and navigation lights survived. We only lost the stern light.




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With that much -expect to find the diodes blown on your alternator.
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Old 28-07-2015, 16:37   #59
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Used to go on and off automatically depending on daylight. Now, after a bit of soldering, we can still use it, but have to manually turn it off and on.
Heck, that is pretty much the norm for Davis lights after using them for a couple of months. Even if they are kept in San Diego inside faraday cages. Often, they come straight out of the packaging needing soldering and manual intervention.

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Old 29-07-2015, 11:37   #60
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Re: Have you suffered a lightning strike?

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Originally Posted by annk View Post
Struck Mid- Atlantic 2004. Took out autopilot. Saw 'St Elmo's Fire' in the rigging.
Struck whilst at Anchor in Belize 2010. Direct hit to VHF ariel at top of mast. Lost SSB radio, fore and aft lights, autopilot, radar, mounted GPS. No damage to fabric of boat

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I hope you had just bad luck and are not the rule

Mstrebe that is a very interesting poll and something I really wanted to have more information about but the results seem a bit odd to me:

28% suffered strikes but 37% don't know anybody that suffered a strike? If about one in each 3 cruisers had suffered a strike the chances were that everybody would know personally somebody that had suffered a strike.

I believe that the percentage of cruisers that suffered a direct hit is way smaller than the 28% indicated by the pool and I would hate not to be right because that would mean that the chances to be hit by a strike would be huge.

By the way I sail way from electric storms as much as I can, sometimes making considerable detours. I am really afraid of them, me and my big dog that is not afraid of anything except a thunderstorm
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