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Old 24-11-2014, 05:30   #1
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Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Talk about a million one to chance and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Approximately 4 o'clock this afternoon whilst working in the cabin on "Sweet Chariot" there was an almighty flash and sound like you've never heard as a lightening bolt decided to use my mast to get to ground. The boat lit up in a bright blue flash and blacked out all the electrics. So far found 14 blown fuses, a number of lights not working. Found the remnants of the VHF antenna in the dinghy. That was the first point of contact being mounted at the mast top. Hopefully not too much terminal damage. Still a lot of components not tested yet. Thank goodness the new motor is ok. Starts and charges ok. The screwdriver I was using arced across to the plate I was screwing into. Frightened the living crap out of me, I can tell you. At least I am ok. Still shaking a bit though.


Having operated a small business fitting out and wiring/rewiring boats of all sizes I rewired "Sweet Chariot" just after I bought her a few years back. I number all cable ends and have a comprehensive wirirng diagram for her so it makes fault tracing relatively simple.

Two fuse boxes have been destroyed. The 27 mHz radio, VHF Radio and antenna, Audio CD head unit, TV, Autopilot, have all suffered internal damage as they will not work despite all efforts. A number of lights are also not working.
More testing will be done tomorrow after I replace the two fuses boxes and get back to a good base to begin with.
I have some photos but they are on my Iphone and i am writing this on my ipad. Will post them tomorrow night when i get back home.

"Lucky Steve" signing off for now!


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Old 24-11-2014, 05:36   #2
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Glad you are OK and didn't suffer any internal damage yourself. I've had lightening strike a power pole within 10 meters of me but never a direct hit. Even that close it was a giant flash/bang.

Really get's your attention doesn't it.
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Old 24-11-2014, 05:40   #3
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Thanks Skipmac. Did frighten me somewhat but i am good.


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Old 24-11-2014, 05:44   #4
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Glad to hear you are okay.

Don't forget to call your insurance company to protect your rights/coverage.
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Old 24-11-2014, 05:55   #5
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Happy to hear that you don't now glow in the dark Have a ball of aluminum which was once a Windex, and a pile of positive-biased diodes from a hit while on the mooring. All chain mooring with cleats well bonded helped, imo.
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Old 24-11-2014, 06:02   #6
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Thanks. Yeah i have called them already but by the time i got to it, it was after hours. Ringing them in the morning, i can assure you.


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Old 24-11-2014, 06:43   #7
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

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Thanks. Yeah i have called them already but by the time i got to it, it was after hours. Ringing them in the morning, i can assure you.


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Old 24-11-2014, 06:56   #8
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

ZZZZZZAP! WOW!

Time to pour a bit of whiskey as an offering to the god of thunder (pick your choice). Neptune or Odin spared one lucky sailor!

Thanks for posting your account of the strike and your resulting damage assessment too. I think it could help others in the future who have to diagnose systems after similar strikes. Sounds like your wiring experience will prove helpful, as I bet many others would be at a loss of what to do next, except to call insurance and hire an electrician.

Though, I hope I never go through a lightning strike on a boat or land, it is good to know what they can do, even in near miss situations.
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Old 24-11-2014, 07:09   #9
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

ye need to change your name to flash....
glad you are ok.
what a day for you...
thankyou for the report
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Old 24-11-2014, 07:25   #10
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

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ye need to change your name to flash....
Or Sparky.
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Old 24-11-2014, 07:36   #11
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Wow - thanks for sharing! Glad you are OK and your boat is still in one piece...

If you don't mind me asking, how is your rigging grounded (through keel bolt,plate on the hull, etc)?
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Old 24-11-2014, 08:02   #12
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

First of all, good to hear that you're OK. That was definitely a close encounter. Sounds like you're well qualified to determine the damage to your electrical systems.

I suggest that you go over your standing rigging and mast in minute detail, looking for any trace of damage, and if you find any, make sure that your insurance company pays for a complete rigging survey. A friend of mine's boat was hit by lightning and on unfurling his jib, found that the strike had arced from foil section to foil section, scorching his jib at the intersections. The insurance company adjuster (through BoatUS as I recall) was extremely supportive, steering him to the best rigging shop in the area and covering any and all damage that was found. Ended up replacing a fair amount of hardware and some running rigging too.
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Old 24-11-2014, 08:52   #13
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Glad to hear you are OK.......I would also suggest buying a lottery ticket this week!
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Old 24-11-2014, 09:13   #14
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

Sweet Chariot,

My girlfriend was on her sailboat when it took a direct hit by lightning down the mast. The ship was basically brand new. Insurance repaired all the obvious items in the rigging and electronics.

When she was pulled for the winter they then found multiple pin holes in the hull below the water line. This was determined to be the multiple places the lightning left her into the water. Please have your hull checked.

Mike
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Old 24-11-2014, 09:23   #15
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Re: Hit by lightning this afternoon in Botany Bay

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Thanks Skipmac. Did frighten me somewhat but i am good.


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Wow Steve, the understatement of the day!

Glad you are OK! I don't like losing any of my stuff like radios and lights and gizmos, but all that junk can get replaced.

Just so I am certain I have this correct, you were poking at your engine with a screwdriver when the bolt hit?
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