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Old 14-06-2011, 15:05   #16
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

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where was the feline critter??????? he was spozed to save ye from devastation....and the rubber hat .....

My feline critter is smarter than I am. She refuses to sail if there's any inkling that electrical activity is going to occur.



Critter sitting safe at home.
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Old 14-06-2011, 15:10   #17
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Beautiful cat! But what does she do if you are already underway with the Tstorm comes knocking?
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Old 14-06-2011, 15:15   #18
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

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Beautiful cat! But what does she do if you are already underway with the Tstorm comes knocking?

She stay at home all the time now. Used to get seasick and make a mess in my duvet. (the cat, not me).
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Old 14-06-2011, 15:21   #19
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

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DO wear crocs-- they attract NOTHING
Yeah, ugly aren't they?
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Old 14-06-2011, 15:39   #20
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

rofl is why they attract NOTHING...lol

bubba wants your maine coon for his birthday htis week..... he is in lust....
i hide under him in storms of electrical variety and have some other one at helm..lol... but i feel is better to keep being a moving target as opposed to being a sitting duck in a heaved to position lol.....even the gods have a difficulty hitting a moving target....
i have wooden masts, so jumper cables are better on mine than on an aluminum lightning rod situation..LOL
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Old 14-06-2011, 16:01   #21
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Maintain control of the boat. Lightning is not something you can control in any way, don't concern yourself with it. On a charter boat, and especially in confined areas, lower all sail, motor slowly into the weather. It will pass shortly.

But me? In a squall? Put in a reef, change course to a broad reach and rock and roll!
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Old 14-06-2011, 16:26   #22
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Wooden mast or metal makes no difference ... trees get hit & they are wood ...

Mostly in a thunderstorm there will be mucho rain so everything will be wet & therefore conductive .... including you & your ugly crocs ...

If your boat does not have built-in lightning dissipation to a ground plate on the outside of the hull then some sort of quick improvised grounding from the shrouds or rigging could save the day .... as posted previously, heavy duty jumper cables clipped to the shrouds & dangled into the water or lengths of chain from shrouds & dangled into the water ...

If you are anchored or moored then get below to do your praying ... if you are underway then your options are limited ... given enough warning & enough searoom then your best option would probably be to heave to, deploy a sea anchor, remove all sail then get below for the praying...

The furry brush-shaped things some people have at the mast head ? ... the jury is still out regarding them ... they don't claim to fend off lightning strike they claim to "dissipate" the lightning ...

One thing I have learned from experience is that although a thunderstorm may appear to be off at a safe distance lightning can be generated miles from the percieved centre of the storm ....
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Old 14-06-2011, 16:30   #23
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Attach a chain to the stays and throw it overboard, pray and take pics, no worries man....
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Old 14-06-2011, 16:35   #24
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

We've been in 3 squalls in the last month (one 4 days ago in the last third of a passage from NC to Annapolis) with winds in excess of 50 kts, and a couple in that strength in years past. Here's what we've figured out (but still happy to take other advice):

When you see it coming, don't delay shortening sail (we delayed once - just once - and I never, ever want to have all sail up in 50 kts). We either leave up a reefed mizzen or double reefed main (although the main is in the loft now because of flogging damage to a slide attachment point in the recent squall), or at a minimum a hankie of our furling jib, or sometimes the reefed mizzen and a hankie of furled jib. We believe sailboats sail better than they motor, and if the motor conks out(which generally happens only when needed most) you can still control the boat some.

Don't worry about lightning, can't control it. Its damn scary, but we've sailed thru squalls with lightning cracking down extremely close but never been hit (thank God). We have a wooden wheel, however, and we definitely don't grab any metal.

Crank up the engine, and start praying. When the wind hits, I like to motorsail on slow RPMs about 45 to 55 degrees off the wind, slackening and tightening the sheets as necessary to strike a balance between aggressively heeling the boat (we're a Morgan 416 with a shoal draft keel, plus a family of four's stuff on board, and I just hate heeling) and flogging the sails to death. In bad squalls we send the kids below, because the cockpit gets crowded with more than the wife and I.

Then we hold on, and wait for it to blow through. That's what squalls do. Sometimes we use radar to find a "hole" or break at the edge and kind of aim for that, but that's sometimes not worked well and its hard to do. Short ones blow through in 15 or 20 minutes, medium ones in a half hour or so, and the one we rode out in the Chesapeake at the mouth of the Potomac last Saturday late afternoon lasted about an hour. Its no fun, but it passes. While its blowing, keep hard things in sight. In our last squall, we got hit by the wind very close to a red marker buoy, and it was blowing us down on the buoy. Eventually we had to tack to avoid hitting it. We have also had to communicate with ships that were bearing down on us, to let them know our CPAs were close (under a mile) and we effectively had limited steerage if we were to maintain our lay on the wind (45 to 55 degrees).

We've never hove to for a squall. I'm not sure I'd want do that, if only because (i) squalls pass and (ii) when they hit you don't know how much wind is in them. I've been prepared for squalls that, when they hit, had 2 kts of wind and lightning striking every few seconds, and squalls with not much lightning, none close, but over 50 (and even once over 60) knot winds. When it tops 60, its damn scary to have any sail up at all, but we still do.

Finally, maintain searoom. The more the better. Its the hard parts around the edges that sink the boat, not deep water. I try to stay in deeper water rather than shallower, and definitely avoid areas where the seabed rises up. I'm not sure if wave action is worse in those areas, but I think it may be.

Did I mention pray? I do that a lot. Not sure the wife does, but I do. It also works in the engine room when the diesel takes an unexpected break.

Good luck, and try not to worry about the squalls.

Dave
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Old 14-06-2011, 16:59   #25
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

i sailed a near year in gulf of mexico--every single time we set sail and every single place we went there were multiple lightning storms. some rated severe, some rated extreme-- we were there in them. lol.. is easy to be scared--i am very afraid of lightning-- but likely not to hit ye as there is a lot of sea and only one thee in a storm. have fun and gooodluck. if yer going out into one--- thre is no rhyme nor reason to being hit. i still donot know why we werent, but we werent. rofl. there is some fiiine saiing inside a thunderstorm, as much wind is generated in them. we had 71 kts in most of them. when was predicted tobe 80-100 kts, we ducked inside for a rest.
goood luck and smooth sailing. i still say is better to keep moving than to heave to as heaving to makes ye still in the water and better target. seems even the gods have some difficulty hitting moving targets.....

btw--the boat i sailed gom was a seidelmann 37--had aluminum mast..LOl
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Old 14-06-2011, 17:02   #26
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

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To me.. thunderstorms are the "elephant in the room" of the curising world. There is not enough info/training about it in my opinion. If you take multiday trips.. you can't avoid them. The bet you can hope fo is to anchor/dock/moore in time to get off the boat. Otherwise, its going to mean you are sitting in the water with a 50' + lightning rod sticking out of the water and be the highest thing around. My thought was to hove-to (if you have the sea room) and hide in the aft cabin as far from the mast as possible (and not touch anything metal).
You are going to have a very hard time crossing the ITCZ or the Pacific - maybe the Atlantic too, just no personal experience there. There are many, many squalls out there - active, dynamic things which form and dissipate all around you - and radar doesn't look straight up - and in the case of the ITCZ, if you don't sail the squalls you won't sail out of the zone (maybe you will have enough fuel to motor out...) One day I had twenty squalls - that was a short trip through the Convergence Zone. My approach is to shorten sail (those roll-up jibs are just wonderful that way), and head into the suckers at a close haul but with the sheets loose, spilling wind - that way you get through them as soon as possible. Running downwind in a squall - I have heard people propose that - will just keep you under it longer...
But if you have friends or crew on board put them outside - squalls always mean crew watch time...

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Old 14-06-2011, 17:10   #27
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

squalls=crew watch and jib n jigger with reefs and 8 kts speed over ground..LOL not bad for a brick....(my boat, not the seidelmann..LOL)
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Old 14-06-2011, 17:34   #28
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

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Originally Posted by svtadpole View Post
Wooden mast or metal makes no difference ... trees get hit & they are wood ...

Mostly in a thunderstorm there will be mucho rain so everything will be wet & therefore conductive .... including you & your ugly crocs ...

If your boat does not have built-in lightning dissipation to a ground plate on the outside of the hull then some sort of quick improvised grounding from the shrouds or rigging could save the day .... as posted previously, heavy duty jumper cables clipped to the shrouds & dangled into the water or lengths of chain from shrouds & dangled into the water ...

If you are anchored or moored then get below to do your praying ... if you are underway then your options are limited ... given enough warning & enough searoom then your best option would probably be to heave to, deploy a sea anchor, remove all sail then get below for the praying...

The furry brush-shaped things some people have at the mast head ? ... the jury is still out regarding them ... they don't claim to fend off lightning strike they claim to "dissipate" the lightning ...

One thing I have learned from experience is that although a thunderstorm may appear to be off at a safe distance lightning can be generated miles from the percieved centre of the storm ....
The jury is still out on that too.

A sea anchor and removing all sail for a BVI afternoon thunderstorm? Come on.
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Old 14-06-2011, 17:36   #29
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

sea anchor is same as heaaving to--makes ye a sittting duck not a moving target..LOL
all those spikey things do is keep gulls off masthead ..LOL--in louisianna they attract lightning---
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Old 14-06-2011, 17:42   #30
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

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...all those spikey things do is keep gulls off masthead ..LOL--in louisianna they attract lightning---
Perhaps so, but before I installed one I was replacing the Windex wind indicator once a year (pricey little things...)
And I haven't been hit by lightning either...(Well, I wasn't hit by lightning before installing it too...)

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