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Old 26-09-2016, 17:00   #1
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Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

I am thinking about making an offer on a 37' Beneteau that was struck by lightning last year. The seller claims that all the electronics were replaced, which they appeared to be all new upon inspection. I plan on making an offer contingent on the survey. I am looking for a surveyor that will use thermal imaging. Any other questions or things to look for? I hope to sail the Bahamas in the spring and want to make sure my boat stays afloat.
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Old 26-09-2016, 17:40   #2
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

Why take the chance? So many options for the buyer in today's market.
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Old 26-09-2016, 18:02   #3
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

You don't have to walk away, just make sure you get a thorough survey by someone familiar with lightning damage. Ask to see the repair invoices, in particular anything to do with hull or rigging repairs. Electronics and electrics are relatively easy to repair, you just replace the affected components. Hull damage could be more extensive and difficult to identify. A good surveyor will know how to detect delamination and other effects of a strike. A lightning strike is not a death knell for the boat, but by all means take reasonable care and thoroughly scrutinize the boat. The fact that the seller is not hiding that it was hit is a positive...

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Old 27-09-2016, 05:38   #4
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Carolinasailing.

What David said.
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Old 27-09-2016, 08:07   #5
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

Hey Carolinasailing.

I surmise you are in South Florida? I just bought a boat that had a lightning incident years ago, and the survey showed it to be in excellent condition. Ended up close to full price, and am OK with it in this instance.

Lightning can be fatal or just mean you get all new electronics on your purchase; there is no "usual", you get what you inspect, in your situation.

I'd recommend Jon Sands of Atlantic Marine Group. Background in marine architecture and engineering, and he did a thorough and complete job. If he knows of the incident before the survey, he'll take a look at the hull and the wiring for any delam/other damage, or electrical damage. Getting a list of what was done to repair, and by whom, is an excellent idea.
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Old 27-09-2016, 08:46   #6
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

My boat was struck by lightning and is in the yard undergoing inspections prior to repair. Pulled the mast today as part of the inspections. As others here have said, every lightning strike is different. I'm confident that when all is said and done my boat will be as good as before with lots of new electronics and wiring. Get a good surveyor with lightning experience. Examine the survey report from the sellers insurance company and the repair invoices. You might be getting a better equipped boat as a result. If you have any specific questions about what I've been learning feel free to contact me off line.
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Old 27-09-2016, 08:48   #7
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

Well us superstitious sea going lot believe lightening won't strike same place twice! Imagine you will ve able to sail hrough worst lightening storms without a bother grinning all the way!
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Old 27-09-2016, 08:51   #8
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

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If you have any specific questions about what I've been learning feel free to contact me off line.
This goes against the intent and purpose of a forum. If you have interesting things you've been learning, please feel free to share.
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Old 27-09-2016, 15:33   #9
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

Thanks for all the advice. I am going to make an offer and start looking for a good surveyor. Will the lightning strike have a big impact on getting insurance?
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Old 27-09-2016, 16:33   #10
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

Hey, Goosebumps, that superstition is based on reality. Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice because the same place usually isn't there any more......
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Old 27-09-2016, 19:00   #11
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

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Originally Posted by Carolinasailing View Post
Thanks for all the advice. I am going to make an offer and start looking for a good surveyor. Will the lightning strike have a big impact on getting insurance?
Congrats, hope everything goes well. And don't be afraid to walkway if the surveyor finds anything serious amiss. Every boat has issues - you just need to know what issues this boat has, and then you get to decide if you can deal with them,or whether you keep looking.

Can't say about a prior lightning strike causing issues with insurance. They did not specifically ask when I got my insurance, but I did provide the survey report.

Best of luck!

David
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Old 02-10-2016, 04:00   #12
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

When lightening strikes a direct hit to the mast, it has to go somewhere. Usually this is the easiest path to the water below your boat. The Bene's usually have a bolt on lead keel, if this is connected to the base of the mast with a suitable heavy wire then the lightening will follow this path down the mast, along the wire, exiting by the keel causing no real damage to the structure of the boat. The things that will usually be damaged are the boat electronics and any intstruments/antennas/fittings on top of the mast, there may be some scorching on the top of the mast. If there is no connection between the mast and the keel, check around the base of the mast for burns and any repairs that may have been done. If the electonics are all working then they will have been replaced. It may not have been a direct hit but still damaged the electronics.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:24   #13
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

What if it wasn't a direct hit. There was a boat that was plugged in and a house nearby was hit and fried the electronics, or the story goes. The electronics were replaced but not the wiring. Of course an inspection, but is the hull at risk too?
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:16   #14
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Re: Interested in a sailboat struck by lightning

Spend a few days reading on lightning strikes, here on the forums, & online. Professional Boatbuilder magazine is an excellent reference www.Proboat.com as those who write the articles in it are incredibly sharp, & tend to be at the top of their specialties in the various areas of boat construction, design, & repair. Ditto on onboard systems. Or at least such was the case the last time I read an issue.

As to lightning, a strike can make things look horrid, but cause primarily cosmetic damage. Or there can be little evidence to the eye, but the damage is catestrophic. Which, the latter worries me. As, for example, a strike can destroy a good percentage of the resin in some areas of the boat without such damage being visible. And this would of course destroy the hull in those areas, structurally. But since glass doesn't conduct electricity, there can be just enough cooked resin & paint in place so that the damage isn't visible, nor obvious. Even though things in that area are toast.

So with such damage, or the possibility of it, short of some really fancy, & in depth Non-Destructive Inspection/Testing, I'm not sure how you'd rule out a boat as not having such damage. However, figuring out specifically what sort of testing might work in such a case, & who's qualified to do it, could be quite a challenge. And once you did find the right folks, odds are such testing & inspection will be very expensive.

Look up NDT forums (non-destructive testing) www.ndtforums.com/ , & similar, online. They'll likely have better insight into this. Though there's definitely some info on the subject here on CF. And if you want to "pay it forward", once you do some self education on the topic, come back here & tell us what you found/learned; please.


BTW, with lightning, it's not uncommon to see that it exited the boat in quite a number of areas. So that it may have done damage that is both visible, & non, in lots, & lots of areas.
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