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Author Topic: Lightening  (Read 1853 times)

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  • Guest
« on: May 29, 2001, 05:55:39 AM »

Our Memorial Day cruise was made more interesting by being hit by a big time squall on the Pamlico River of NC.  Winds easily exceeded 40 knots but it was the lightening which caught our attention.  My wife and I both saw bolts hit the water within 1,000 ft of the boat.  We had a lively discussion at that point regarding holding the wheel during such a storm. We considered heaving to but ultimately took our chances and anchored off a lee shore until it blew past.
 What should our strategy be in such a situation.  Is holding the wheel safe?  What else could we do?


  • Guest
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2001, 10:05:29 AM »

Nobody wants to tackle this one?
 In various readings I have found two schools of thought on lightning strikes.  There are those who believe you should provide a large capacity path for the bolt from the masthead to a plate below the waterline to control the flow, and those who believe you should not in the hopes of discouraging a strike altogether.  I watched a recent documentary that stated lightning recognizes targets within 150 foot intervals, so the top of your head is just as attractive as the top of the mast.  The advantage you have is that your hair acts as a dissipator to bleed off a positive charge, but don't count on it working.  I have seen products that are basically a wand that attaches to the masthead with bristles or brushes but I have no idea if they work.  I am no expert, but I hold the wheel and sit ahead of the binnacle during storms (if I am not someplace I can anchor quickly and hide inside).  My logic is that my head and arms between the backstay and the wheel at the normal helmsman's position might act as a jumper for the strike.  That said, lightning never does what you expect, anyway.

Stu Jackson

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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2001, 11:04:55 AM »

Herb Scneider wrote articles in Mainsheet about lightning.  Suggest you check the website search under that topic.
Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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