Also a note about how lightning
actually earth's out. It seems from photographic evidence that the charge is discharged on the surface of the ocean, which is why Ewen Thomson puts the Sidearc conductors at the waterline. So not sure directing the current to the bottom of a keel is effective.
I have read where mono's have been hit and had the mast grounded directly to keel with a large conductor, and the lightning jumped across the boat and blew out bronze seacock. Which seems to validate the idea that lightning wants to get to the sea surface.
Which brings me to my doubts about the dangling chain idea that "stops" the lightning in it's tracks when a link is blown by the huge amperage. It seems to me, as Cotemar has pointed out, that lightning is not something that you can stop with what is, in effect, a chain link fuse. Lightning, unlike house current at 110 or 240volts, where fuses
work quite well as we all know, can be many millions of volts and many thousands of amps, all delivered in about 30 miliseconds. That is a helluva lot of energy determined to get to ground, and is fundamentally different than the household current/voltages scenario. In fact, it is very determined, and will do some amazing things to get to ground.
The idea that a broken link in a chain is going to persuade all that energy to just give up, doesn't make any sense to me. I wish it was that easy, because easy is good, but from all the reading I have done and conversations with electrical
engineers, I think at best, the lightning would jump from the broken link to the water
. But chain appears to be a poor conductor for this purpose. If the links ARE blowing up, it means it is acting as a resistor. Lightning doesn't like resistors, it likes conductors, and it makes that decision in miliseconds if not microseconds.
Maybe it would be better with big cable that has more surface area, which is the critical factor. The challenge is getting a good conducting path in as direct a line as possible to the waters surface. In fact, many conducting paths is even better.
I like the idea of trying to keep that path on the outside of the boat, which is the one thing that worries me about the Sidearc system that earths the shrouds to the Sidearc conductors via cables
that are inside the boat. But unlike the dangling chain idea, the Sidearcs are there and ready to take the hit at any time, even in the middle of the night when that thunderstorm rolls in.