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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:30 pm 
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Location: CLEARWATER, MN
Tho' it was just late afternoon, it was quite dark out, because of the cloud cover. We did not have any interior lights on...we wanted to watch the storm from down below. So when
my crew member went topsides to look around, our eyes were still accustomed to the dark. The strike flash was bright enough that it totally illuminated the boat's interior with
just the main hatch uncovered. He said it was like looking at a camera strobe up close in the dark. He saw spots for quite a few minutes.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:47 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Not a lightning strike, but.. Many years ago, three of us were sailing my 25 yacht offshore, in pitch black conditions, and coincidentally, all three of us looked up at the masthead wind indicator.

At that very moment, a giant flash of lightning seemed to go from horizon to horizon. For the next ten minutes or so, we gave a good impression of "three blind mice" :D

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:44 pm 
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Location: Salem, Oregon USA
Interesting how this topic has come up, I had to make the call whether to drop the mast or not while on a beach a couple of weeks ago. I chose drop (in video link below) but If I were on the water I would've chose to keep it raised.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhF25QxlxSU

YakAttaque

BTW, the lightning in eastern washington pales in comparison to the afternoon FL storm.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:23 am 
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Location: Long Island NY
Tom Kirkman wrote:

If I were to get caught out far from shore in an approaching storm, I'd consider de-stepping the mast, which isn't hard to do on these boats even while on the water. On the other hand, you might need your sail to help negotiate and wind or waves. It's a tough call.


... and then the top of your head becomes the high point. I've seen tests where lightening will hit the ground when a grounded pole was only a couple of feet away.

I'd say the only way to seriously change your odds is not to place yourself in the predicament.

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'07 Hobie Adventure Island #2 Golden Papaya AI LadyJane
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:39 pm 
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Location: Colorado
Quote:
the current also traveled through the fiberglass hull and exited the gelcoat. The captain of an adjacent anchored boat happened to see the bolt exit through the sides of the hull. He called over that he saw 'fingers' of light traveling outward through the water.


The link below shows the "fingers of light" duplicated in a lab (I took these pictures). At the bottom, you can see the same experiment done in both salt and fresh water, the fingers are much longer in fresh water.

http://analogengineering.com/lightning/surface.html

Interesting that the strike in the quote happened in fresh water. The lake I sail at is at 8600 ft elevation so is very fresh water. There is a fair amount of lightning in that area and a lot of fishing boats and I have asked the old timers in the area if they had ever heard of a boat getting struck. Nope.. in many, many years, no one knew of a boat getting struck. However, people have been stuck at the shore line and there is plenty of evidence of tree's that were struck.

The storms come through there fast and I would be out on the lake in a sailboat. All the power boats would head in and were much faster than I so I would have to just throw out an anchor and wait.. I think I may have been at higher risk anyhow of receiving a strike at the boat ramp (at the interface of the water and land.. nice wet conductive soil).


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:12 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
TIDALWAVE wrote:
"Lightning won't hit a sailboat mast"...total myth.

The lightning has traveled through thousands of feet of air gap...it won't stop just because there is a foot of rubber between the steel wheels of you car and the pavement, or six inches of plastic hull. For the same reason you don't want to be touching any conducting metal in your car, you don't want to be the 'best' conductor for the lightning on its journey down your mast to the water. Carbon fiber will conduct current, even over its surface, if the charge is great enough. My nephew got minor electrical burns while fishing in an open boat using a carbon rod, when 'St Elmo's Fire' flashed to his boat.


Do you think that an insulating form of rain gear might offer some personal bodily protection? Something like Frogg Toggs, maybe?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:00 pm 
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Location: CLEARWATER, MN
I don't think that a thin layer of rubber would insulate you from a lightning strike. A couple miles from my house, a new interstate power line was installed. I believe that the voltage
is more than 100K volts. The power lines are held away from the metal towers by 8 foot ceramic insulators. Lightning can be more than a million volts.

People used to think that having rubber tires on their vehicles would protect them from lightning...the lightning simply jumps from the steel wheels over the tires to the ground. And
that is six inches of rubber or more.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:37 pm 
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Lightning is no joke. You will not be able to insulate a plastic boat. I don't care how much rubber to use. It is just not happening.

The best bet is to avoid it. If you see storm clouds, head to shore. Call it a day. If you hear thunder you CAN be hit. I work at an airport and ramp workers have been killed by storms miles away. You can be struck even if the sun is out but you see a storm 10 miles away.

Be safe, be smart. You are in a tiny boat low in the water, with this large thing sticking up in the air.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:25 pm 
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Check the national reports which summarize strikes and kills by lightning for each calendar year. What I found interesting was how few people were hit while out on the water and how many were hit after they left the water and were standing under a metal roof or beside a tree. So far in 2014 nine people have been killed by lightning:

Texas - in backyard
Florida - construction site while closing car windows
Florida - at edge of lake and fishing
New Mexico - on highway riding motorcycle
Florida - Rooftop of car dealership doing roofing work
Florida - blueberry patch while picking berries
Michigan - in park under a tree
Wisconsin - on roadway fixing windshield wiper
Arkansas - under a tree

In 2013 of the 23 fatalities there were 4 that were with people out on a body of water and the same number as who were struck while standing under a tree during a storm. In terms of deaths by state Florida at 4 tied with Arizona, followed by Texas, Illinois, and Kentucky each with 2 deaths. Statistically speaking death by lightning is a very low probability event and very few people are killed. More people are fatally injured in bars than in lightning storms each year.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:45 pm 
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Location: South Florida
Very well put, Wintersun. Thanks for digging up the stats. You can add 2 more--2 women were killed in separate incidents yesterday and today in Rocky Mountain National Park.

BTW, please add your location to your profile, so that we can easily see where you are located--it shows up on the left of your posts under your name.

Keith

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:56 am 
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Wintersun wrote:
More people are fatally injured in bars than in lightning storms each year.


.. and I'd bet alot more in the bathroom as well, but Im not going to stop going

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Alan W.
'07 Hobie Adventure Island #1
'07 Hobie Adventure Island #2 Golden Papaya AI LadyJane
'06? Hobie Outback SUV


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:35 am 
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Location: EGLin Air Force Base, Fort Walton Beach Florida, U.S.A.
Here is a web site where I placed a photo of my buddys Hobie 16 that the mast was struck by lightning and burt a shroud cable and scorched the mast. Wehad been sailing when a storm developed so we beached boats, dropped sails and went into a beac restaurant for shelter.

http://www.thebeachcats.com/picturesg2_itemId=10400g2_itemId=10400

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:26 pm 
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I just saw this online under "Kayak Struck by Lightning"
http://i.imgur.com/XQWXV8r.jpg
Image

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:51 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
That'll buff out :lol:

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"
www.scenefromabove.com.au


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:54 pm 
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Now it's settled. Apparently, we should all straddle the rudder for protection.

I love how the security cable is still there, attached to the dock. :lol:


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