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Old 06-12-2021, 13:18   #1
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Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Good afternoon all. I have been looking into the effects of a lightning strike on a boat that was on the hard, on tri-jack stands with beams under the keel. I already know the instruments are pooched, certainly the Nema 0187 connections between them, but I know of some of the effects on a boat in the water, not one on land. Frankly I'm prepared to take a chance and buy her from the hard, as-is, but before I make an offer I'd like to know if there are anyone out there familiar with this.

I've heard about micro holes around the waterline that can allow water into the layers of Fiberglass, eventually ending up with a very wet hull, I've heard of one trawler that had so many micro holes it was taking on water faster than the pumps could keep up, and one that had a bronze thru-hull shot out of the boat that the owner was able to save with a Bung (an important lesson as to why you should always have the right size Bung next to wherever it might be needed.)
I've spoken with surveyors who have said it wasn't part of the Lloyd's of London training precis, and all they've experienced is what I just typed. I expect that the area around where the tri-stands were might be compromised, I don't believe several layers of Interprotect 2000 will suffice, but again, I've no prior experience with this. And no, the broker has no idea the extent of the damage. What I'm prepared to offer is significantly lower than the asking price.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-12-2021, 13:29   #2
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Was the boat totaled by the insurance?

What make/model would be helpful for discussion of hull construction?
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Old 06-12-2021, 13:44   #3
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Bill O - Was the boat totaled by the insurance?

Only liability on it. No lightning coverage. No insurance paid out.


What make/model would be helpful for discussion of hull construction?

'90's Beneteau.


I'd like to keep the rest confidential so I have first crack at her. Thanks
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Old 06-12-2021, 14:07   #4
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Thanks for the info.

Would go into the deal assuming all electronics are fried and possibly all the electrical components (DC motors, generator) may need to be repaired/ replaced.

Are all the thru hulls bonded in the boat? While not the same as being directly in the water, would check them all. Most likely, much of the strike probably grounded through the keel. Have you been able to take a good look at the keel bolts and joint?
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Old 06-12-2021, 14:29   #5
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Only a surveyor could determine the true extent of the damages. Even then it’s not unusual for items to be “missed or not immediately evident” and they all have hold harmless clauses in their contracts. If you feel like taking a chance you offer should be based on the presumption that the entire electrical system, all gages and instruments, are trashed. It would help to know where the bolt grounded as the engine/generator may also have issues. If the rig is up make sure a rigger does a full inspection as the mast itself, components, antennas and wiring may be compromised. Good luck.
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Old 06-12-2021, 14:38   #6
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

[QUOTE=Bill O;3533099]Thanks for the info.

Would go into the deal assuming all electronics are fried and possibly all the electrical components (DC motors, generator) may need to be repaired/ replaced.

Are all the thru hulls bonded in the boat? While not the same as being directly in the water, would check them all. Most likely, much of the strike probably grounded through the keel. Have you been able to take a good look at the keel bolts and joint?[/QUOTE

I have to arrange an in-depth inspection along with a very knowledgeable colleague. Then I’ll consider making an offer. I think the trick is finding a surveyor who has prior experience. And I know about their caveats. The best thing is that I’ve got some skills plus colleagues with more, a decent budget for repairs and I could potentially get a dream boat for the price of a much older boat, with many upgrades ie: electronics that I’d probably have to do anyway. Thanks for the guidance.
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Old 06-12-2021, 14:41   #7
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Thanks Jim. ‘Bout what I figured. All you mentioned was on my worksheet for inspection. I’ll make the trek soon to spend the day inside her with a knowledgeable friend before making my decision.
Norm
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Old 07-12-2021, 17:05   #8
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

A friend's catamaran was hit and, of course, most of the electronics were toast. But when he pulled the boat for bottom paint a few months later, all of the previous coats of paint as well as the barrier coat fell off in patches. He had to sand down the entire boat to the gelcoat. Everyone in the yard was scratching their heads as to the reason this happened. So your idea of microholes might have some validity.
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Old 07-12-2021, 17:39   #9
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Walk away is the only sure solution.
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Old 07-12-2021, 18:30   #10
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

I had a Pearson 28 (Shaw design) that took a lighting strike. Lost some electronics but not all. When I hauled the boat there were thousands of pin holes in the keel. The mast is keel stepped. Had to have the whole keel blasted with walnut shells and epoxy coated it.
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Old 07-12-2021, 18:31   #11
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

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Originally Posted by Piratenorm View Post
Bill O -'90's B
Things to check... If the lightning came down the mast, it will have followed the copper wire number 6 down to the keel. Check the end connections, if the connection is black, the current surcharge did go that way. If not, the current could have come down the shrouds, to the chain plates. Check the bolts that hold the chain plates. If loose, remove the chain plate for inspection. Look for black traces of carbon, sut. then follow the carbon trace. Check the bolts that hold the keel. Especially the one with the copper connection to see if it loosened. On the outside check the keel and where it is close to the ground, If the keel is in a steel cradle check where it contacts the steel. Chances are the lightning strike did go through the keel and dissipated in the ground if you find no trace. WE had an aluminium boat that got hit twice and the current discharged in the water and only burnt the fuses and the VHF antenna. We were very lucky. Good luck on you search...
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Old 07-12-2021, 22:57   #12
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

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Originally Posted by Stewie12 View Post
Walk away is the only sure solution.
It's is not just the electronics and the hull issues to be concerned about, the wiring also likely is very suspect as to its having retained integrity. It can be difficult to run new wiring through out the boat as such was not designed to be replaced.

There are many fish in the sea, and many boats in the ship yard and marinas to chose from. Don't settle for damaged goods, especially unknownable damage goods.

Life is to short to fix #h%t.
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Old 08-12-2021, 04:35   #13
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Friends took a direct hit while sitting in their cockpit. Brand new Catalina 445. $100,000. + and a year to fix all that was affected.
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Old 08-12-2021, 06:35   #14
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

Thanks to yo all for your advice. I will report my findings and decision as soon as I can get on the boat.
Norm
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Old 08-12-2021, 07:05   #15
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Re: Lightning Strike on a For Sale Boat

So I am thinking...

Replace all the electronix with current tech: that would be nice even if the boat was not damaged.

Replace standing rigging including chain plates: it is time for that even if the boat was not damaged.

Strip the hull down to gelcoat, then epoxy coat, then primer then new bottom paint: the couple of epoxy layers are the only thing not part of scheduled maintenance on an older boat.

Confirm the electric grounding is good: an absolute must do on any used boat purchase.

Replace at least the critical electrical wiring: not a bad idea for a 30 year old boat. I would at least ohm out the circuits to know where problems lie.

So....this could be a great purchase opportunity for someone with the skills and time to work through the issues.

I would expect to also replace the sails and upholstery in the first few years. Go through the engine, drive shaft apnd propeller, inspect the rudder shaft and bearings. In other words the lightning related damage might be less consequential in the big picture, especially if the price s right.

My views are highly damaged because after years of DIY boat maintenance.
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