You have to be skeptical about any advice on lightning as it pretty much can never be proved.. and this applies here also.. but none the less..
I found the link to the story about the laser here http://macgregorsailors.com/forum/viewt ... 10&t=23224
I had most of the story right - except the part about the laser exploding..
When I was a teen, I was sailing a regatta in Lasers in Sarasota. There was a storm approaching, but the race committee wasn't cancelling. Finally, people just started heading in quickly. Coach boats were towing sailors in as quickly as possible. A laser is a single person boat, unshrouded. The hull and deck are sealed together airtight making a hollow void. The mast sits down into a tubular step that goes through the deck down to the hull. The lower end of the aluminum mast is separated from the water by a plastic cap and maybe 1/8" of fiberglass.
A girl on our team was in tow, sitting in her cockpit, when lightning struck the top of her laser mast. The electricity went down her mast and then bypassed the plastic cap at the bottom. It went through the air space between the hull and deck, and made a couple of small holes in her hull. Unfortunately, her boat was older, and a little bit leaky. The water in the hull was heated by the electricity and turned to steam. The pressure inside the boat was enough to blow the boat up. The deck blew apart from the hull upward at the bow and stern. Floatation bags flew. Sitting in the middle of the cockpit, the skipper was unharmed, et confused as to why her boat exploded. If she had been touching her boom, however, she may have been hurt.
The picture below is where I think the charge of a lightning strike would be "mostly" disipated to the water surface.