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Old 08-08-2016, 09:28   #1
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Lightning Ground Plate & Zinc Anodes

Hopefully this is the correct place to place this posting.

I have an 18-year old 45 foot glass mono-hull sailboat. The construction plans show heavy gauge electrical cable leading from the chain plates to lightning grounding plates amidship. However, said grounding plates are not present and from all appearances have never been present. The cables lead aft and terminate at the zinc anodes (ZHC-3 anodes, about 3"x6"). This arrangement seems less than ideal.

I have read many articles regarding lightning protection and subscribe to the notion that lightning plates (or ejectors) are most effective placed near the surface of the water. On my boat the lower mount of the dolphin striker is just above the waterline. The zincs are mounted several inches below the waterline and within a couple feet of the boat centerline.

I have pondered the notion of mounting copper plates, perhaps each being 3-times the area of the zinc anodes, under the zinc anode. The plates would have several sharp points machined into the outer edges as lightning is said to like to jump from sharp edges/points.

I have several questions regarding this concept and I am hoping to get responses from those with appropriate knowledge and/or experience. I know this is not the IDEAL solution, but currently I have neither the time nor budget for the ideal solution.

My questions are; is this a totally hair-brain idea? What galvanic issues arise from placing these 2-metals so close together in seawater? Would using 6061 aluminum for the additional plates be better or worse?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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