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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:58 pm 
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Location: Huntsville, AL
Ok, not talking about the normal "don't step the mast into power lines" thing, but has anyone rigged a boat under massive high voltage lines and been shocked? Sort of like a really bad static shock, but with a little more "zap" to it...

This exact thing happened to me last weekend (along with my epic no-jib failure I just wrote about here). These were massive towers no more than a few miles from a nuclear power plant and I'm guessing carry 400-600kV electric power. I found a few articles about mountain bikers riding under high power lines and experiencing similar shocks. There's also a video on youtube of a florescent light installation that's illuminated just by the power of the electric field around the lines. I'm guessing with the great height of the mast and excellent conductivity of aluminum it was sucking up all the electric field that's under these lines and channeling it to the ground. I could hear arcing from the bridle to a bare spot on the trailer mast support. If I became the path to the ground, there was a substantial charge that passed through my body which was quite uncomfortable. The whole thing was really unnerving and I never plan to rig the boat in that particular location again.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:54 pm 
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In January in australie an A cat sailer towed his boat with a carbon mast into the powerlines 11.000 volt luckely he has rubbersoled shoe,s on ,and survived only one night in the hospital

Here the article (in Dutch )

http://a-catned.blogspot.nl/search?upda ... date=false

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:43 am 
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There's a group in Burlington, Ontario Canada (not far from Toronto on Lake Ontario) who's home beach is near power lines like that -
Image
(You can see the towers in the distance on the middle, right side of the photo - they are much closer just out of the frame on the right.)

They've learned (as have visitors) to hang a wire from the mast / shroud anchor to ground to dissipate the electrical charge picked up by the mast (which is acting like an antenna).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:49 am 
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Location: Commerce Twp, Michigan
Battery jumper cables with one end clipped to the dolphin striker with the other end buried in the sand works well to ground the boats in Burlington. It was quite a wake up call when stepping the mast the first time there :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:05 pm 
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How close was the original poster to the power lines?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:27 pm 
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MITBeta wrote:
How close was the original poster to the power lines?
I was directly underneath the very tall super high voltage lines. Similar to this:
Image

I wasn't in the middle of a span were the lines droop though, I was much closer to a tower. I'd guess the lowest of the lines was more than 100 ft in the air or even 100 above the mast tip. There was no danger of arcing from the lines, but the EM field was being grounded right through the Al mast. It was probably the worst idea ever, and I will never rig that close to power lines again.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:16 pm 
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Oh yeah. I work at a power plant, and our transmission voltage is 345,000 volts. I've heard stories of people holding up fluorescent tubes in the switchyard to see them light up.
No, I wouldn't want to rig under a transmission line! The induced voltage to ground would be painful, at least! I'm surprise a sailboat ramp goes under them.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:38 pm 
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bmdumr wrote:
MITBeta wrote:
How close was the original poster to the power lines?
I was directly underneath the very tall super high voltage lines.

I wasn't in the middle of a span were the lines droop though, I was much closer to a tower. I'd guess the lowest of the lines was more than 100 ft in the air or even 100 above the mast tip. There was no danger of arcing from the lines, but the EM field was being grounded right through the Al mast. It was probably the worst idea ever, and I will never rig that close to power lines again.


It's good you were so far away. Lines like that have a 20+ foot separation distance phase-to-phase because they can arc that far. A fire crew was electrocuted earlier this year when the ladder on their ladder truck got close to a high voltage wire.

Lesson is: just because you're not touching the wire doesn't mean the wire can zap you.

@dorienc: I used to work at a power plant, too, and never got over the eerie feeling of the hair standing up inside my hard hat when I walked through the switchyard on a humid summer night...


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:33 am 
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Thanks for sharing, Bradley.....I would not have thought that could happen.

The one time that I visited the Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville (space camp with my son), we watched an IMAX movie about helicopters. One bit was about a guy who worked on those lines, and it was impressive how much "static" he had to discharge with that wand looking thing before he could leave the chopper. Then of course he has to scootch himself out on to a mechanics creeper gizmo to do his work. He said he was only afraid of three things.....heights, electricity, and women.....and he was married, too!

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