Originally Posted by SurfNRG
While recently in Marsh Harbour in the Abacos/Bahamas we had a bolt a lightning hit nearby. It actually struck a Moorings catamaran (Cat House) and caused it to burn to the waterline. It was during the broadcast of the cruisersnet. Saw a bunch of people running frantically down the dock trying to move other boats out. The Moorings staff was on top of their game
to make sure the loss was isolated to only that single
boat. Makes you wonder why it chose that boat and not any of the others docked or anchored nearby. Highest mast height maybe a factor? We are not bonded/grounded except for our 55 ft high mast based VHF
antenea. How legit is the theory that electricity takes the path of least resistance thus a grounded boat has a better chance of getting hit? I'm assuming the boat that was hit was plugged into shore power
since it was at the dock thus having a solid ground.
On the grounding issue, water is polar (particularly sea water). It creates a very good ground connection to the boat at the waterline as was previously mentioned. Your radios cannot get to this ground without a metal connection as the fiberglass
is an insulator (except to very large current
sources like lightning).
Having followed this discussion, here are the things I would do in serious lightening at sea:
In a Monohull
or a Trimaran
1.) Heave to if possible, and mechanically slave the rudder
. (Note: even a close call can fry your electronics
and thereby kill the autopilot)
2.) Get the crew below and forward (away from the mast and the rudder cables
and most of the electrical system wiring
in the stern. but aft of the forestay, or any cables
leading aloft.) I am remembering that monohull
cabins are at or below the waterline.
3.) Grab my fire extinguisher and keep it at hand.
In a Cat,
1.) same as 1.) above.
2.) the cat's hulls are shallow and at the waterline. The backstays
are just behind the main beam. I would get the crew to lay on the hull
floors forward of the mainbeam.
3.) As above, but one in each hull
In a dock, like the picture included:
1.) I am sure I have a pressing need to be on shore in a bar.
2.) I should be drinking beer
in that bar with the crew.
3.) I will be thinking about how I will enjoy shopping
for a new boat my insurance's expense.
4.) More beer!
I look forward to your embellishment and comment on these guidelines.