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Old 28-04-2010, 17:59   #1
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Lightning Hits Sailboat: How Often Does that Happen ?

Just wonder if that is a real problem anywhere in the world.

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Old 28-04-2010, 18:13   #2
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Never happened yet..

2 sailboats: 3 years on a wooden yawl in the US Virgin Islands and 11 years with a fiberglass boat in Florida and the Bahamas.

14 years and no flash, but it could happen tomorrow.

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Old 28-04-2010, 18:13   #3
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I think the probability is similar to being hit by a drunk boat operator while anchored.
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Old 28-04-2010, 18:14   #4
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Lightning and Sailboat

Quite common crossing the equatorial area. Also read up on cold fronts.
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Old 28-04-2010, 18:14   #5
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Only has to happen once!

Our boat got hit by lightning at our dock behind our house last September. Fried most of the electronics but nothing structural. We had it hauled and the mast and rigging inspected to be safe. Our insurance company was very good to us. Still, it was about a 2 month ordeal getting everything back to normal. We just had the first thunderstorm of the Spring here a couple days ago. I had a knot in my stomach the whole time. Definitely don't want to go through all that again.
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Old 28-04-2010, 18:24   #6
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A friend was motoring off the Texas coast a few years ago with some of his friends. They got hit by lightning. No one was hurt and the diesel would still run but it knocked off all the electrical. The coast guard saw them running in the Galveston channel with no lights and pulled alongside for an ass chewing but when they realized what happened they escorted them back to their marina. The electronics were pretty well totaled but everything else was OK.
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Old 28-04-2010, 19:01   #7
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When I was in the Bahamas, I experienced many serious thunderstorms, and I read that one boat out of a thousand gets struck by lightning each year.

When I lived in the Panama Canal Zone years ago, I saw a boat that burned to the waterline after being struck by lightning.

When we were in Singapore, there were five cruising yachts struck by lightning in a single week at the beginning of Monsoon season.

I had a friend's Tayana 37 struck by lightning when hauled out in a boat yard in St. Petersburg, Florida.

We once saw a blue ball of fire coming down and going up our mast during a lighting strike.

My experience with lightning is this: Location, location, location.

There are many places where lighting is fairly common. If you are afraid of lightning, don't go there.
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Old 28-04-2010, 19:43   #8
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I was on a boat that was hit in Phuket - fried everything - after a few months everything was back in and we delivered it to Hong Kong. It got hit again 6 months later.
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Old 28-04-2010, 20:52   #9
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Our catamaran got hit by lightening while at the dock in Florida. We were not on the boat at the time, but we knew it got hit when we came back to find the bilge pumps running and the remains of a burned up vhf antenna in our cockpit. All the electronics were fried except for the vhf which only lost the antenna. Go figure. The boat had no ground system at the time. It does now! We saw boats on many occasions get hit by lightening moored right next to us while cruising in our other boat. That boat never got hit. It had a grounding system.
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Old 28-04-2010, 21:57   #10
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CCF member Saritimur got zapped near Phuket a few months ago. fried their electronics...

Haven't heard how they are going now, but in that area its just a bus ride to Singapore

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Old 29-04-2010, 09:04   #11
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We are moored in a little marina in southwest Florida that holds 52 boats. In the last 10 years, 3 yachts have been hit. Twice we have been effected--lost masthead wind instrument--although we were not hit directly. Life in Florida.

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Old 29-04-2010, 09:23   #12
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I have to say I am amazed at how unlikely it is. Last summer I was caught in a squall in Biscayne Bay (nowhere to run...), and the lightning was everywhere and so close that the flash and thunderclap were simultaneous. We were the only thing on the water, and I'm thinking, with 66 feet of metal sticking up in the air, how can we not get hit? I'm sure the only reason we couldn't feel the charge in the air is because we were being deluged with a sideways rain that made it almost impossible to breathe.

It's amazing to me that we somehow weren't the best path to ground. I'll probably get zapped the next time out for saying this...
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Old 29-04-2010, 09:45   #13
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We got caught in a blow anchored off Oriental, North Carolina. We saw lightening strike a boat about 100 yards from us in the marina. We must have been peripherally struck as our wind instrument was fried.

While in Jarret's Bay, outside of Beaufort North Carolina. A friend of our's boat got struck (Kardia) while sitting on the hard, in the marina. It took out almost all his instruments, Radios, the control panel for his Genset and the control panel for his water maker.

While we were on the hard in the Lauderdale Marine Center, the catamaran in front of us was hit by lightening. One of the workers installing a new Though hull was blown back by about 6 feet. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He came back to the marina a few hours later with the biggest smile on his face. He was rejoicing being alive.!
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Old 29-04-2010, 10:12   #14
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Originally Posted by svHyLyte
We are moored in a little marina in southwest Florida that holds 52 boats. In the last 10 years, 3 yachts have been hit.
That sounds about right to me. And given the fact that Florida records more lightning strikes every year than any other state in the U.S., I would say that the answer to the question of how often does it happen (at least around here) is, not very darned often at all.
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Old 29-04-2010, 12:36   #15
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I have seen it happen while anchored off Bimini in the Bahamas, docked off Cape Coral, FL, and on an inland lake in MN. In the first two cases it fried the electronics and, off Bimini, KO'ed the Skip. In the last case, a J-22 on a lift had a hole the size of a bowling ball blown in the hull. Doies it happen? Yes. Where? Anywhere there is lightning.

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