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Old 15-06-2011, 07:55   #46
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

Keeping your self dry is probably pointless, I was < 8ft from point of strike in a puddle of water in an open fishing boat, and only felt a strong tingle for a split second. I couldn't have been more wet even if I was swimming, (I was covered by a rain poncho that had been shredded to ribbons by the wind).

I would follow the other advice,reduce sail, get non essential crew below, (and away from mast), avoid metal objects, and enjoy the ride. Even with the number of boats caught in storms direct lightening strikes are rare...and wearing crocs and having a cat aboard doesn't hurt.

(Regarding the above QUOTE from Capt Bill):



Sorry to disagree with you Bill, but for all of us, anecdotal evidence from our own lives is rather meaningless. (Compiling 100,000 stories IS useful)... I have been practically knocked unconscious on three occasions from an "inducted" charge. The strike was over 100' away once, and I was touching a metal screen door when the strike happened. It and I were bone dry, as it was under a huge roof. Had I been wet, I probably wouldn't have survived. As it was, it only knocked me down. Being "bone dry" does in fact improve ones odds. This is also true regarding electrical shocks from the wiring in a house!

As I said, isolated anecdotal evidence is useless, yours OR mine... compared to many years of study of the subject. I have done this, (including buying the transcript from a huge a government grant study, done by the U of Fl). I have also compiled evidence from hundreds of other scientific studies, done over decades. THERE IS A STRONG CONSENSUS... I did do my research, and while I was only suggesting ways to "improve ones odds", it is good advice nonetheless. The only part of it of coarse that is "etched in stone", is that: "IF IT HITS YOUR BOAT, IT WILL THEN GO TO GROUND". Giving it a path that doesn't require it to go through the hull, improves your odds tremendously.

Regarding your comment of: "the odds being very slim"... That all depends. IF you will own a "sail" boat for 50 years, IN a lightning prone area, like the US Gulf or Southern East coast, or even more so... PANAMA, the odds of the boat taking a direct strike are somewhere around 50/50! I've known of dozens personally, and several were within a few hundred feet of OUR boat!

More people are killed "per year" by lightning... than flood, fire, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes or tornadoes! Since they are not killed in large numbers at once, and they are dispersed all over the planet, it never makes the national news, and this gives the ILLUSION that it is a low risk. The risk is real, as are the steps to vastly improve our odds.

LUCK HELPS TOO!

M.

BTW... Strangely enough, most people are killed by either the first or last strike! Don't know why that is? Perhaps it is because most of these deaths from lightning are on shore, and by the time it is really going, most sane people have sought shelter? HMMMM...
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Old 15-06-2011, 08:04   #47
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

As my dear old Grandpa used to say; "A man that's born to hang will never drown." I just keep repeating that during rough weather.
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Old 15-06-2011, 19:13   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Burgette
I saw these statistics in a post last year or two. They are from a BoatUS insurance study over a five year period. I'm a logical person but these figures made little sense to me. Multihulls were more than twice as likely to be hit as monohulls and auxiliary sailboats (motorsailers ?) were three times more likely. I realize that the list is done on percentages but it's close to being ranked by number of boats. Least number, motorsailers, are the most likely to be hit and runabouts (lots more of them) the least likely.

If lightning were to strike indiscriminately the list, and correlating percentages would make a little more sense and that's what I believe happens. Lightning just strikes a place and not a boat. If you're in that place......you're hit. I believe that a boat makes very little difference. In other words, lightning is just as likely to hit within a hundred feet of you as it is to hit your mast.

Proper grounding may lessen the chances of hull damage and although I don't know for a fact, lightning, like microwaves, does not like to turn corners. You may be able to coax the lightning strike to kinda find a better way to than ground than through a thru hull. Electronics are going to die. Keep a handheld GPS in the microwave oven (Faraday cage) to assist in getting you home. This is all speculation but it makes some sense to me.

Auxiliary sailboat = sailboat with engine

Any sailboat with an inboard
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Old 15-06-2011, 19:25   #49
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

"Regarding your comment of: "the odds being very slim"... That all depends. IF you will own a "sail" boat for 50 years, IN a lightning prone area, like the US Gulf or Southern East coast, or even more so... PANAMA, the odds of the boat taking a direct strike are somewhere around 50/50! I've known of dozens personally, and several were within a few hundred feet of OUR boat!"
had this been the actual case, ida been dead more than 1000 times last yr in gom as we were always in lightning storms and never got hit...
\lightning is random and has no rhyme nor reason to its striking.
no i wont protect my boat from lightning as that seems to attract it..LOL..look at the NSA engineer in slidell been hit 2 times in 4 yrs WITH alleged state of the art protection.
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Old 15-06-2011, 20:22   #50
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

A proper lightning protection system will "improve the odds" of the boat's occupants survival, by hopefully conducting the strike to ground through a large wire and a 2 sq/ft underwater copper plate, rather than down the mast and then through the hull! IF it hits the mast, with or without a lightning rod, it is on it's way to the water next. This is the ONLY thing "etched in stone" about lightning. We only choose the means, with, or hopefully without, holes in the hull...

In no way does a lightning grounded system "cause" a strike. The jury has been in on this for many decades. Lightning rods and earth/sea grounds, are on countless thousands of tall structures all over the world, including boat masts. They still get hit, usually without major structural damage. The Empire State building has probably been hit thousands of times, without damage.

If your boat is properly grounded and it does get hit, "this will not save your electronics". I have seen great variation in how badly you get fried. Sometimes it is a burn spot atop the mast, some blistered paint, and the loss of the tri-color light and VHF antennae. On other occasions it is damn near everything electronic!

Both the intensity of lightning and it's subsequent damage vary by 1,000%. All we can do about this, OR the dozens of other ways to die at sea, is stack the odds in our favor.

The science is solid on this one. It's a "no-brainer".

M.
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Old 15-06-2011, 21:24   #51
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

All I know is that my steel Coot has a lightning rod atop its mast, and I don't boat near Florida.
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Old 16-06-2011, 08:25   #52
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Burgette View Post
I saw these statistics in a post last year or two. They are from a BoatUS insurance study over a five year period. I'm a logical person but these figures made little sense to me. Multihulls were more than twice as likely to be hit as monohulls and auxiliary sailboats (motorsailers ?) were three times more likely. I realize that the list is done on percentages but it's close to being ranked by number of boats. Least number, motorsailers, are the most likely to be hit and runabouts (lots more of them) the least likely.

If lightning were to strike indiscriminately the list, and correlating percentages would make a little more sense and that's what I believe happens. Lightning just strikes a place and not a boat. If you're in that place......you're hit. I believe that a boat makes very little difference. In other words, lightning is just as likely to hit within a hundred feet of you as it is to hit your mast.

Proper grounding may lessen the chances of hull damage and although I don't know for a fact, lightning, like microwaves, does not like to turn corners. You may be able to coax the lightning strike to kinda find a better way to than ground than through a thru hull. Electronics are going to die. Keep a handheld GPS in the microwave oven (Faraday cage) to assist in getting you home. This is all speculation but it makes some sense to me.
Those stats are useless unless you account for time spent in storm. Otherwise all they reflect is relative popularity of type of boat, and time spent in bad weather.
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Old 16-06-2011, 10:39   #53
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

The risk of being hit by lightening is reasonably low. We were hit while at anchor a couple of years ago, so I hope the risk of being hit twice is very low. The hit has made me a bit more wary of lightening , but I braved the elements yesterday to take this photo.
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Old 16-06-2011, 11:26   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speciald@ocens.
Jumper cables are useless! They have no surface area to disapate the charge.
Can't they be hooked to the batteries incase of lightning strike....gotta charge faster than anything else.
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Old 16-06-2011, 12:54   #55
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

The boat has been hit once in Florida. Fortunately I was at work. It took out a lot of electronics though.

I am going to have to agree with Hud. You shoould be reading cruising books, and try getting a little more sleep at night. In my mind's eye I see you waking up in a cold sweat thinking of these problems that may never exist. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and I am in complete bliss.......i2f
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Old 16-06-2011, 14:05   #56
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

Pictures of a boat stuck by lightning which exited out a thru-hull fitting which came apart and sank the boat.

Lightning Strike
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Old 16-06-2011, 14:48   #57
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

i havent pix ofth ebendytoy that keeps getting hit in slidelllouisianna- butt he second time, the lightning damage went half way tothemans house and he HAD lightning protection--tells me it doesnt work..LOL--firstt ime was 6 months to repair his boat, second time i amnot sure if is 1 or 1 1/2 yrs, or a total write off. LOL that is a NASA ENGINEER WITH STATE OF ART PROTECTION FROM A RANDOM INCIDENT..lol
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Old 16-06-2011, 17:52   #58
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Quote:
Originally Posted by knottygurl View Post
I have been in a squall TStorm just last week, watched the trees 100 yards way from me split like toothpicks, and fall onto power lines. I was sailing away from the squall but it caught up to me and over took, all within 15 mins, so out running it is prolly unlikley.

Probably the same squall that hit us Wednesday, on port tack with a southwest wind, heading for the finish line. Bang, north wind at 40 knots. We were quite literally taken aback and I couldn't heave to -- the bow wouldn't go through the wind.

The jenny was so tangled we could not get it in, and was flogging madly, so I turned downwind and ran to shield it with the main. 7.5 knots for about 10 or 15 minutes, terrified of a crash gybe.

But all's well that ends well .. no damage to boat, crew, or rig.

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Old 16-06-2011, 18:07   #59
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

didnt have a weather eye out? is only way ye get taken aback with weather.. always keep a weather eye. isnt enough to look at a puter every so often-- have to read sky constantly. where you are weather changes so rapidly noaa isnt accurate often. same in gulf, same everywhere-- stuff happens...
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Old 16-06-2011, 18:41   #60
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Re: Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

Of course we had a weather eye out. We could see the storm, but it looked as if it would pass to north, well over land, as indeed it did. The top winds were enough to uproot trees; we only got the edge. And it hit veeery quickly.

To set the scene just a bit more, we were at the north end of our race course, which is only about a quarter mile from shore, maybe a bit more. There was literally no time to react, because we couldn't see the wind coming until the last second.

The clubs and marinas to the east of us us got much heavier winds, including a kind of williwaw that came down off the Scarborough bluffs and shredded a bunch of dodgers.

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