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 Post subject: lightning strike
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2012 23:42 
Rail Meat

Joined: 03 Nov 2006 18:49
Posts: 15
This past summer we took GLORY from Bayfield WI on Lake Superior and sailed to Cedar Point on Lake Erie. Then while sailing out to South Bass Island a couple a strong thunderstorm cells popped up. The wind hit 50-55knts but not much for waves and the wind direction kept changing. The boat wasn't bothered much at all. The weather started to ease and the visibility improved, we thought it was over. The Flash/boom!!! very loud, I saw burning embers drifting down, the VHF antenna was shortened by 7 inches, radar, autopilot, wind instruments and the VHF didn't make it. No one was hurt, my daughter was steering and she said it felt like she couldn't let go of the wheel and tingled in her hand a little. We had the boat hauled a few days latter and only found some surface spidering around the through hulls. These were ground down and inspected, very superficial. Thru hulls replaced. I was glad the physical damage was very minimal. They Workers there had seen several other boats in the past few years with significant damage. My boat appears to have been well grounded.

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 Post subject: Re: lightning strike
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2012 12:23 
Able Bodied Seaman

Joined: 27 Aug 2008 09:24
Posts: 40
Although I don't think that I was struck by lightning, I too had an interesting experience a few years back. I race LaVieve in the Chicago Mackinac Race. In 2011 the racing fleet was hit by a severe thunderstorm in northern Lake Michigan - in fact, it capsized one of the fleet resulting in the death of two sailors. The storm was predicted and we saw it coming at us around 11 p.m. There was constant lightning, most of it being cloud to cloud. Before the storm reached us, we noticed sparks jumping the insulators on the back stay which I use as an antenna for my ham radio. It is the only piece of the rigging that is not grounded. I also noticed that all my my LED flashlights down below in the cabin turned on by themselves. At that point, we took down the mailsail which stopped the phenomenon. By that time, it was pouring down rain and the wind had increased to 63 knots. Lightning was all around us and the rigging glowed. When this all started, I was taking a video of the approaching storm, but put it down to assist with racing the boat. I did not turn the camera off, so it recorded all the sounds that transpired during this period. Listening ot it was very interesting. Damage suffered was a fried gps, and damage to the vhf radio caused, according to the technician who repared it, by static electricity running to the radio via the cockpit mike. Needless to say, it created a memory. I can still see my 10 year old grandson who was on his second Mac Race, recording the storm in the log as all of this was going on.

Byron Higgin, Tartan 37 #444

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