Lightning protection

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Richard Woods, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: UK, USA and Canada

    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    This has come up on another thread so thought I should post this as a fresh topic.

    First visit

    see the photo on the home page of a catamaran sunk after being hit by lightning, June 20th 2008

    Then go to

    For the solution that I used after being hit.

    Sail in the tropics in the wet season or on the east coast USA right now and you will hear dozens of stories of lightning strikes. With "luck" you'll even be hit yourself.

    I sailed up the east coast of the USA in 2003 and met 2 other English boats doing the same. All three of us were hit by lightning.

    Later in Panama we were anchored with a group of 12 boats. In one storm 6 were hit. Not us, we had a Strikeshield system fitted, or were lucky.

    I write more about my lightning strike on the article pages of my website

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs
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  2. oldsailor7
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Sydney Australia

    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    A case in point.
    Our Trimaran, with a wooden mast, was moored in a slip at a Marina in Canada. In the slip beside us was a keelboat with an alloy mast. He had bolted copper conductors, on the inside of his wooden hull, from the main shroud chainplates to the keel bolts.
    A lightning strike hit the top of his mast. The Current flowed down the shrouds, along the copper earthing strips untill it reached the waterline, at which point it went out thru the hull, blowing holes in the hull on both sides. The boat sank in the slip. :eek:

    Our boat was not touched, which may (or may not) have been because ours had a wooden mast and the metal mast of the keelboat beside us was more attractive to the hungry lightning strike. Perhaps we were just Lucky. :D
  3. pir8ped
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    pir8ped Junior Member

    I spent 3 months on a 70' junk in Hong Kong. I went on deck one evening during a thunderstorm, looked up, and saw lightning hit the wooden foremast. There seemed to be no damage. I thought I must have imagined it, but I went up the next morning to inspect the damage - a couple of square inches of burnt paint.

    I don't know if that proves anything...
  4. Richard Atkin
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: Wellington, New Zealand

    Richard Atkin

    If lightning hits your boat, but your body is not hit directly, does the huge spike in electromagnetic radiation cause any harm to the human body or brain?? Maybe that's not the best question to ask in a boat forum.

  5. pir8ped
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: pir8ped

    pir8ped Junior Member

    I didn't feel a thing, and have no reason to think I was damaged in any way.
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