If you are willing to sand 80% of it off at each haul, (to prevent a build up), a hard paint
like Trinidad is fine. It is one of the best! It is SO hard, that after a year or so, when it is DEAD, you can put off hauling until it is convenient, as long as you scrub her down every couple of weeks or so. It is hard to scrub it off! IF you use thinner, for a smoother finish, use no more than 10 or 15%, and add an extra coat, as the mills goes down. (3 coats) For an almost sprayed finish, you can use WEST system foam rollers too, but again, the mills goes down.
As far as lightning
protection... Well it is a fickle thing, but we can drastically improve our odds against a total melt down, or driving the mast through the boat. Protecting electronics
can be done just a bit, by unplugging things, or taken to extremes, put spare GPS
type devices in a "Faraday cage", but this gets really iffy and of diminishing returns. I do carry a spare hand held GPS
or two, away from metal, but if you take a BIG one, it is quite possible that ALL electronics
will be fried. It varies 1000%!
Setting as a goal, a lesser more reasonable level of protection... #1 You need a pointed lightning rod on the mast.
Then, GROUND THE MAST IN A DIRECT ROUTE
WITH COPPER. Copper is MANY times better at conducting electricity, where as SS is quite poor. AVOID BENDS!
Searunners are quite good in this respect. Look at my "00" grounding wire coming out of the mast. (through bolted) Just like other important connections, inc batteries, I CRIMP, then SOLDER the crimp, then HEAT SHRINK. Even if the solder is melted by a direct hit, it remains crimped, and until then, the solder keeps the finely stranded tinned copper wire's end, 100% sealed!
It is bolted to the mast, with minimal bends, and I use "Jet Lube" copper loaded conductive grease in the interface. (NOT to be confused with "dielectric" grease, which is NON conductive). After cleaning
up the squeezed out grease with mineral spirits, dry and apply 5 coats of "Liquid Lectric Tape" vinyl dip. It is now totally conductive and will stay that way (100%) for 40 years!
This huge wire goes straight through the sub floor, (through a through hull
packed with silicone caulk, or a wire gland). From inside, under the cockpit
, it goes through the next floor down too.
Now you are to the inside of the hull bottom. I have my 2 sq ft (min) copper plate on the side of the mini keel
, and it has a curved copper piece that connects through the hull bottom with a 5/8" silicon bronze carriage bolt. On the inside "wire to bolt connection", do as on the mast connection. Same on the outside bolt pass through, except seal the hull's hole, and bed
the plate, in 5200.
With grounding plates of the same sq inches, the longer narrower one is best, as linear inches of exposed EDGE is more important than size alone. This shape I used was a good compromise over a 1" X 288" strap down the hull! Sometimes practicality wins out over theory.
This alone is the most important part, and if you go no further, do this. It allows the hit to pas through the hull to "ground" along YOUR route
, rather than the lightning's! Dangling a chain in the water
, and such as that, is just wishful thinking!
AVOID Dyna Plates. They are not meant for dissipating lightning, and it's just possible that they'd explode. Even as a radio
ground... unless you remove it at EACH haul out
, and soak it in acid, the pores fill with growth. SO, it is no more surface area than it appears.
After this level of protection, I ran a #6 wire from ALL of the interior
chainplate bolts, (except the runners), to the copper junction plate over the main pass through bolt. This helps prevent side flashes within the boat. ABYC recommends connecting in the engine
& stove too, for the same reason, but I didn't. Due to previous galvanic "issues", I isolated the grounding plate from the boat's AC AND DC systems. This solved
the problems. This requires, btw, that you rubber mount your VHF
antennae, as the bracket is DC -. This is very easy to do.
My SSB radio
ground is connected with diodes that pass RF energy, but not DC current
, but that's a different subject.
MY mast head
lightning rod has the "thousand spikes" in a spiral around it, to "THEORETICALLY" bleed off ions and actually lessen the odds of a strike. Hmmm? It is solid science on cell phone
towers all over the world, but on boats, Who knows? Since it doesn't take the place of the lightning rod, and there has NEVER been evidence of it making things worse, I gave it a try. May be coincidence, but a boat RIGHT next to me has been hit, rather than me, on THREE occasions. The water or ground within 150' of us, has been hit on 5 or 6 more! Being hundreds of miles out at sea, was not as scary to us as the Chesapeake or ICW
, in summer, due to the powerful thunder storms!
I can't really endorse the "fuzzy thing", may just be BS, but at least ground your mast!