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Old 02-08-2016, 11:47   #1
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Buy a boat struck by lightning?

Recently say a boat on YW that I was interested in, and when I spoke with the broker he said it was struck by lightning about a month ago. The owner is apparently replacing most of the electronics and still "negotiating" with the insurance company. I asked if there was a report from an insurance adjuster and he kind of tap danced around it and said there wasn't one yet. I'm no expert but I understand that lightning strikes can cause pretty extensive damage even affecting rigging,chainplates, in addition to any and all electrical equipment including ac/dc motors, alternators, etc. I'm inclined to walk away from this boat but in general I'd be curious to know what folks think is needed to verify that all lightning damage (and potential damage) is identified and fixed. TIA
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:07   #2

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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

Electronics can be replaced. But there could also be literally 1000 pinholes in the fiberglass around the keel, not a cheap repair. The prop shaft, transmission, anything else metal may be fused or welded. The entire electrical system can be questioned, as well as the standing rigging.

The owner may be expecting the insurer to total the boat. Or getting rid of it because he no longer trusts it.

This is one where you want a very good surveyor and solid sea trial and you really need to KNOW what you are dealing with. Possibly putting a part of the purchase price into escrow for 30 days after the sale, against undiscovered lightning damages.
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Old 02-08-2016, 14:53   #3
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

Sure.

What could go wrong?
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Old 02-08-2016, 16:30   #4
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

Really depends on the severity of the strike. Friends of ours had their boat struck by lightning which fried most electronics, but did little other damage. A small pinhole near a chainplate. That boat is still cruising, with new electronics.
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Old 02-08-2016, 18:32   #5
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

If it's a production boat just wait for a sister ship to be advertised for sale. It's just not worth the hassle unless you have all systems rigorously surveyed. Run away, run away....
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Old 02-08-2016, 19:39   #6
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

Wouldn't touch it with the proverbial barge pole. An adjacent yacht was struck while I was aboard mine in Sydney. Insurance covered the damage but after $40,000 and two years the owner was still fixing things damaged by the strike.
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:37   #7
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

I have seen a quality boat that has been hit by lightning and the hull was covered in pinholes and had to be reglassed on the outside...twice.
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:46   #8
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Sure.

What could go wrong?
Or "What Me Worry?". Pinholes, brittle keel bolts, compromised through hulls, especially if they are plastic, de-tempered chainplates, hull to deck joints melted, and on and on. Offer a very very low offer subject to the insurance report and a sharp surveyor. Or just walk away, very fast.
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:47   #9
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

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Sure.

What could go wrong?
To MarkJ - Is that a yacht strike, or something on the end of a pier - one helluva picture!!!
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:52   #10
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

RUN! QUICKLY...
My good marine surveyor from Annapolis had just surveyed (last year) a 33 footer, with a strike.
He said some of the damage you cannot see, and the pinholes will be there no matter what...and internal damage a surveyor may not find.

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Old 03-08-2016, 11:14   #11
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

This one you know got hit, the other your going to look at, do you think they are going to advertise it was struck, or more likely "Major refit in 2014, all electronics replaced"
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:14   #12
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

I am becoming increasingly more intensely aware that there is almost no cheap way to get into boat ownership, but this definitely does not look like a viable way to achieve it. Perhaps estate sales or inheritance is the way to go. Fixing up the old and damaged puts one a long way from experiencing sea time. From a business perspective the candidate vessel has to be acquired almost for free or very close to it. Every vessel, even so called production boats are a hand built work of art, custom vessels even more so. Hence there are no short cuts in terms of time and money.
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:05   #13
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pippatheskippa View Post
To MarkJ - Is that a yacht strike, or something on the end of a pier - one helluva picture!!!
Its meant to be a yacht strike.
If its true its the luckiest shot in the world.
A friend sent it to me the other day and doesn't know the origin or veracity.

If its true its a great photo and ought to settle an argument or 2


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Old 03-08-2016, 12:13   #14
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

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This one you know got hit, the other your going to look at, do you think they are going to advertise it was struck, or more likely "Major refit in 2014, all electronics replaced"
Its still quite rare for a sailboat to get struck by lightning, even if you are the only boat for miles around in an electric storm. Its not the boat, its the earth; and if you are not over that unlucky spot, get a strong drink.

Hiking Mt. Washington back in 71 the rocks started to hummmm and our skins started to feel real itchy dry. Did not know we could move that fast, especially since we were in a rather "honeymoon" moment. Learned that rocks can get blasted apart by a lightning strike.
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:34   #15
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Re: Buy a boat struck by lightning?

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Its still quite rare for a sailboat to get struck by lightning, even if you are the only boat for miles around in an electric storm. Its not the boat, its the earth; and if you are not over that unlucky spot, get a strong drink.

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Yeah? Tell that to Florida boat owners.
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