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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:00 pm
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Location: South Florida
Once the summer comes in South Florida, we have wicked Thunder and lightning storms just about every afternoon. This got me thinking on what to do with the mast on the Wave. The last 2 years I had a Bravo and removed the mast when not sailing to avoid UV damage to the sail. With the Wave, I leave the mast up, and just launch and sail in the lake behind my house.

Stepping the mast when not in use would be a real pain, and I really don't have a place to store it.

So I'm wondering what others do in lightning prone areas, and if anyone had their mast struck by lightning?

Charlie


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:33 am 
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Location: Perth, Australia
real interesting question

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:03 am 
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
Lightning stories have been a subject on this forum and catsailor.com, and there are some interesting ones out there. I think the most common (and it is rare) factor for folks whose masts were struck on shore was that they used chains from the crossbar to tie their boat down, giving the lightning a good path through the mast to solid Earth.

I remember seeing a photo of a comptip blown open like an exploding cigar, but I don't remember the circumstances.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:26 am 
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Location: Jersey Shore
Just make sure you always park your Wave near a boat that's got a taller mast...:)

Seriously, though, I expect that mast strikes are probably still pretty unlikely, even in Florida. If you're really concerned about it, take the mast down (really not a big deal on a wave). Or get yourself insurance coverage for your boat in case it does get struck (not a bad thing to have anyway).

By the way, UV will damage the comptip on your Wave mast if it's left out in the sun unprotected.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Location: Storm Lake, IA
a few years back my 16 was hit by lightning! I was out for a sail when a fast moving storm came up. We headed in right away and dropped sails quick, and half assed pulled it up on shore then ran for the truck in poring rain. We left to grab a drink and wait till it stopped raining. when I came back to better secure the boat for the night we found it still smoking. The comptip did look like an exploded cigar and the heat actually melted the aluminium to where drops of molten aluminium dripped down and burned the tramp and frount cross bar. The energy traveled through the mast through the cross bar and down through the port hull and put about a 3" hole in the bottom of the hull.
The boat was 2/3 out of the water and the hole was where the sand met the water. I think it being partly in the water had something to do with it getting hit? maybe maybe not who knows!! I do know that now when I see lightning I get the hell away from any boat with a mast up. If we would have stayed to secure the boat better and put things away who Knows what might have happened.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:54 pm 
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Location: Storm Lake, IA
By the way, I still leave my masts up on all our boats. I figure whats the chance it will happen again? Also homeowners insurance covered the boat!!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:10 pm 
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Location: South Florida
Well the thoughts of UV damage or an exploded cigar aren't really appealing so I guess I'll drop the mast. To avoid to much extra work, I'll try disconnecting the comp til and placing next to the lower section and curl up the stays. Then cover the mast sections and tramp with a tarp.

Even if lightning doesn't strike, the sun down here is brutal and I will have UV damage.

One other thought is what if a wire is hoisted up to the top of the mast, then connected directly to a grounding post. Lightning might take that route directly to ground, but the top of the comp tip still might take a hit.

thanks for the inputs.

Charlie


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:18 am 
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Location: Perth, Australia
if you can't be bothered taking down your mast you may try putting a lightning rod atop your mast. Will probably increase your chances of getting hit, but reduce any damage to your boat.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:23 am 
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
I own a couple weeks at a timeshare on the gulf near St Pete. They have two Waves which have sat out on the beach, mast up & uncovered, for several years without damage from lightning or sunlight. The only noticable wear & tear is caused by spring-breakers, and that's mostly superficial. We just replaced a broken luff-track last week, along with some standing rigging and rudder cams, but generally they're pretty indestrucible.

A nearby hotel has a Wave and Getaway sitting out also; and I don't think they've had any problems either.

The only weather-related incident I've seen there was when a mini-tornado flipped over a G-Cat and pushed it down the beach, skewering a couple cabanas as it went.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:29 am 
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Location: South Florida
On the east coast, between Palm Beach and Ft Lauderdale, there are a number of hotels and rental places that have Waves and leave the masts up. I'm a few miles inland and there aren't any tall buildings to take the hits. Last summer lightning hit the palm tree in front of the house and the top just exploded. left me with a 20 ft stump sticking up.

Dropping and stepping the mast adds about 10 minutes to the setup, so not to much of a deal.


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