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Old 14-06-2011, 14:25   #1
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Idiot Needs Thunderstorm Advice ( Please )

I am soon to travel to the BVI for a week of bareboat chartering. In my two years of sailing I've yet to face a thunderstorm on board. I imagine that sailing for seven days straight ups the likelyhood I will be caught in one.

Lets say you are cruising around on a 45' monohull and are overtaken by a thunderstorm. Let also say that you can't anchor/moore/dock in time to avoid the issue. What do you do?

I have to concerns:

1. Getting hit by lightning.
2. If I take the "hide below" approach.. I suppose you take down sails or hove-to, but then you hare the lee shore issue.
3. If you keep sailing.. you are on deck and seem to be more likely to get hit by lightning.

I'm aware of the fact that the mast + rigging is supposed to take the lightning and ground it through the keel. Does that really happen?

1. What steps do I take if I find that I'm going to have to ride out a thunderstorm while underway.

2. If you are on anchor/mooring.. do you go ashore usually or stay on the boat?

Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:29   #2
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Reduce sail, and then pray. I am not joking having been struck by lightning while under sail. Oh yes, one other tip, don't hang onto the rigging.
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:33   #3
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

place jumper cables on the shrouds and throw into sea. i sailed without that into and thru lightning storms with a hardheaded sailor 2009-2010--we didnt get hit nor even close but it was scary, so take appropriate precautions---
DO wear crocs-- they attract NOTHING
DO wear rubber suit
DO wear gloves if the wheel is metal
place jumper cables as described, ad make sure they go into water
wear a rubber hat
have a feline board, as there is no recorded history of one EVER being hit by lightning.
DONT listen to noaa unless they are in a state of panic.then they are accurate.
pack a ditch bag and have it ready.
\ be safe and take care. if you have to go out-- is what i did and i was fine. goooodluck. if not have to go out--stay home. make sure the cams on board take good pix of the lightning so ye can show it to us.

oh yes--PRAY to ALL the sea gods and all your ancestors for aid and safe passage.
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:34   #4
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Vasco... can you tell me a little more about getting hit?
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:40   #5
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Reduce sail, and then pray. I am not joking having been struck by lightning while under sail. Oh yes, one other tip, don't hang onto the rigging.
Or the metal wheel!

And I was wearing crocs!

Gloves won't help as they are wet too.

Reef and heave to.
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:43   #6
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Lets see.... Blew out my SSB antenna. Blew out the Antenna controller board. Blew out the Boards inside the SSB. Finally went to ground through the ground strap. Steel hull which in effect is a faraday cage for the crew. And we were all safe.
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:43   #7
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdeese View Post
Vasco... can you tell me a little more about getting hit?

I think it's all here someplace. Do a search, there's been lots of threads on lightning strikes. All I can say right now is that I was never scared of lightning before being hit (show's how stupid I was). Now I'm scared of it even when I'm at home with a rubber suit on, sitting in a chair suspended from the ceiling beams. (I have strange hobbies)
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:45   #8
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

where was the feline critter??????? he was spozed to save ye from devastation....and the rubber hat .....
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:46   #9
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Jumper cables are useless! They have no surface area to disapate the charge.
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:51   #10
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

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).
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:53   #11
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Quote:
Originally Posted by speciald@ocens. View Post
Jumper cables are useless! They have no surface area to disapate the charge.
Very true but if it will make you feel better by all means try it.
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Old 14-06-2011, 14:59   #12
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Full Body Condom.... non lubricated kind. and Prayer... lots of Prayer!
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Old 14-06-2011, 15:01   #13
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

I hide below.

But if I have friends on board I tell them to hide below and I abandon ship.


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Old 14-06-2011, 15:04   #14
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

Mark.. yes.. I've thought about something similar... leaving my mother-in-law at the helm and then rowing out a hundrad yards in the inflatable dingy.
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Old 14-06-2011, 15:05   #15
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Re: Idiot needs thunderstorm advice (please)

If the good Lord decides to take you home he will, its predetermined so nothing you do will change that.
Hove -to will allow you to go down below, have some iced tea or a smoke which ever. Planning with weather is also good, if your gut feeling is a storm is on the brew, make way to port, anchor and ready the boat for it.
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.
Do the best you can, look after your family and do not worry about a storm, it may get you all upset for nothing.
fair winds
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