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Old 02-05-2010, 21:49   #31
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Lightning can strike twice

I worked for a company that had catamarans in the Turks and Cacos islands and one of the boats was hit twice in 9 weeks.

Last year we were in Panama and was struck in Brisas DeAmador, Panama city and we had first hand knowledge of another 12 boats being hit.
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Old 03-05-2010, 13:28   #32
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I've taken lots of claims for lightning. No I don't have a statistical database to say which types of boats & where, just my gut feeling from taking claims over the years. Seems like Florida is where we have received most claims. Also seems also like more cats than monohulls have damage from lighting strikes. The builder of my boat installs a strike-shield on all boats. He was getting lots of reports of lightning strikes, since a lot of the Maine Cats are in Florida. The number decreased dramatically (maybe zero for the last 2 years, although one MaineCat 30 had a strike recently- I don't know if it was retro-fitted with the Strike-shield or not). The explanation for the increased strikes to Cats is that they are not usually as well grounded as a monohull (no lead keel) and have a lot of attractive horizontal metal parts like steering and cables running between the hulls.

If you haul your cat, ground it to the earth. Seems like many of the claims I take are for boats stored ashore. I took one where the lightning followed the path to the ground through the hull to the jack stand- it blew out a nice hole in the bow.

And of course, you don't have to take a direct hit to be affected. The next boat over in the marina can take a hit and your electronics can get blown out.
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Old 03-05-2010, 13:45   #33
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It happens, and it happens more frequently than most believe.

Twelve boats were hit in our marina from May through October in our marina in SE Georgia. I have a friend who's Beneteau has been hit twice in the last three years.

Strikes can have peripheral effects too, as has been pointed out.
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Old 03-05-2010, 14:34   #34
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Originally Posted by TabbyCat View Post

And of course, you don't have to take a direct hit to be affected. The next boat over in the marina can take a hit and your electronics can get blown out.
Yep! J used to captain & maintain a private yacht near us. One bad storm, lightning hit the water in the channel, right behind the boat in its slip. He had quite a to-do list after that - messed up a lot of their electronics, and totally fried his good voltmeter that was just innocently sitting on a table, not even turned on or touching anything. (This was in Florida.)
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Old 03-05-2010, 15:46   #35
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My slip neighbors have been hit twice, both times they lost much of the electronics.
They had a cable from the rigging dipped into the water, I think they have the lighting dissipater too.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:49   #36
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I've taken lots of claims for lightning...

And of course, you don't have to take a direct hit to be affected. The next boat over in the marina can take a hit and your electronics can get blown out.
TabbyCat,

How does an insurer view the foregoing? We have lost instruments twice when a neighboring yacht was hit and in both cases replaced them out of pocket. It does get to be a pain in the neck, however.

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Old 04-05-2010, 10:58   #37
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The only time lightning has reportedly sunk a sailboat in my cruising area was most likely fraud. The sailor,who's boat had been listed for sale, was supposedly out for his last sailof the year alone and over one of the deeper holes off Toronto. He radioed that he had been hit and was sinking and returned to port in a zodiac, wearing his drysuit and carrying his handheld vhf. He could have scuttled the vessel, gotten into the inflatable and reported his sinking miles away. Insurance covered the loss, the efforts to sale the boat ended and , I believe a huge disservice was commited upon sailors everywhere.
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:01   #38
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The builder of my boat installs a strike-shield on all boats. He was getting lots of reports of lightning strikes, since a lot of the Maine Cats are in Florida. The number decreased dramatically .

Can you explain what a strike shield is?
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Old 04-05-2010, 14:38   #39
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TabbyCat,

Quote:
How does an insurer view the foregoing? We have lost instruments twice when a neighboring yacht was hit and in both cases replaced them out of pocket. It does get to be a pain in the neck, however.

svHyLyte
A lightning strike is NOT considered to be an at fault occurrence.

As opposed to a collision with a dock, which is an at fault occurrence.

At fault occurrences can get your rates increased, and too many can get your policy canceled or non-renewed.

Not at fault occurrences should not affect your rates or insurability.
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Old 04-05-2010, 14:43   #40
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Can you explain what a strike shield is?
At the top of the mast, there is a 4' spike. At the bottom of the mast there is a very thick cable bolted on, with an anode at the end that hangs in the water. We deploy it at anchor or even between the hulls while sailing if lightning threatens. When in an area with no lightning, we pull it up, since it gets barnacles. In theory, the lightning hits the spike, travels down the mast, then down the cable, and is dissipated by the anode into the water (instead of all around my boat). Strikeshield Lightning Protection Systems for Sailboats I have no affiliation with them, other than I have one on my boat.
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Old 05-05-2010, 21:30   #41
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OK - who can answer me this one?
Something I see quite often is a cable clipped to the rigging and the other end into the water. The theory is that this will give a quick and easy route to ground for the lightning. . . . .
That cable is most likely attached to a "zinc fish" and used to help reduce electrolysis from eating away props, etc. on the boat.
- - In order to be effective as a pathway for a lightning strike you would need to use very thick electric welding cable attached to 4 sq.ft. of copper in the water. Anything less just presents a "choke point" for the energy transiting the boat and subsequently will wreck havoc with electronics, through-hulls, etc.
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