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Old 22-09-2014, 09:12   #46
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Re: Lightning Strikes and Cats

Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
The problem with lightning is the range of voltage, hence damage, can be from 10v to 10,000,000v (or higher).

Yes, lightning arrestors help on the lower voltages strikes (or side flashes), but a direct strike with millions of volts of potential will burn anything in it's path. There is no failsafe protection from lightning, it's simply too variable. Statistically, using arrestors and mechanisms to help get the bulk of the current off the boat in a direct path has helped, but it's very hard to measure the level of 'help' with the variability between the power of each lightning strike.

A common belief is to provide a direct and short path from the mast to the water. The goal is to get as much of the current off the boat quickly. It's generally accepted that you'll lose the electronics, but the goal is to save the fiberglass. Lightning will follow the fiberglass if that's the only way to ground, when it does this, it can burn open cracks of 2" or more. Not good when that happens below the waterline.
Best post of the thread.

At some point no system will be able to deal with big lighting strikes. Doing a cost/benefit analysis is almost impossible because the size of the lighting is so variable.

Not saying some precautions are not a good idea, just saying expectations need to be realistic.

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Old 22-09-2014, 09:23   #47
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Re: Lightning Strikes and Cats

Originally Posted by colemj View Post
That is a common misbelief that has caused many to keep their boats ungrounded. However, there is no statistical evidence to support it, and all standards bodies recommend grounding for lightning safety.


It is a shame this fallacy stops people grounding their boats.

The consensus is that a ground boat is slightly less likely to get hit. This is because the grounding also dissipates the build up of static charge at the masthead. The effect is slight and the real benefit of grounding is to reduce the damage if you do get hit.

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