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newbie lightning protection?

Discussion in 'Catalina 22' started by rpludwig, Jun 5, 2016. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. rpludwig

    rpludwig

    Joined May 23, 2016
    495 posts, 254 likes
    Catalina 22 #12502
    US BSC
    new here, new to my C-22...

    Regarding lightning protection, I searched and found some older posts on the topic, however there doesn't seem to be a consensus or standard practice. Read to throw a chain over the side attached to mast or shrouds, run a wire to the keel lockdown bolt, etc.

    So is there a recommended standard practice for a C-22, other than getting the hell back to shore and outta the boat!?

    Got caught once in a big one on the Chesapeake on a much larger boat, believe it had a cable running from the mast to the fixed keel, we didn't get hit, but the skipper made it clear to "stay away from the mast" down below....

    Thoughts?
     


    Grotto likes this.
  2. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,239 posts, 762 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    There is no consensus. There's plenty in the archives on "lightening" too. :laugh:
     


  3. woodster

    woodster

    Joined Sep 15, 2009
    6,240 posts, 262 likes
    S2 9.2a
    US Fairhope Al
    the only people i have ever know that seem to have protection from lighting is the Warlocks.....
     


  4. rpludwig

    rpludwig

    Joined May 23, 2016
    495 posts, 254 likes
    Catalina 22 #12502
    US BSC
    "the only people i have ever know that seem to have protection from lighting is the Warlocks....."

    LOL...guess that sums it up, I believe my question has been answered! I will move on to my 30+ items on my restoration to-do list!

    Thx guys!
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  5. JamesG161

    JamesG161

    Joined Feb 14, 2014
    2,738 posts, 746 likes
    Hunter 430
    US Waveland, MS
    You never need a consensus on a SCIENCE!
    However several types of sciences involved, thus the confusion.
    List in order of your ability to control them...
    1) Electrical (flow of electrons)
    2) Math (statistics)
    3) Religion

    If you combine all 3 you can reduce your chances of being a target.
    In a nutshell...
    1) Ground your boat and Isolate yourself
    2) Buy Insurance
    3) Pray it doesn't hit you

    The most concise discussion I have seen for science 1) is attached.

    @woodster I admit Magic may be in play too, but lightning is not a reason for avoiding showering for 3 weeks.:cowbell:

    Good Avoidance...
    Jim...

    PS: Someone posted these pages from this great book by Nigel Calder.
    https://www.amazon.ca/Boatowners-Mechanical-Electrical-Manual-Essential/dp/0071432388
     

    Attached Files:



    Gene Neill likes this.
  6. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,239 posts, 762 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    All good things, JamesG161.
    I commend rpludwig for searching the archives. He'd already listed the basics for minimizing the risks in his OP, which amounts to the "consensus" arrived at numerous times in these fora.
     


  7. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,573 posts, 1,732 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    But did we ever come to a consensus on the plural of "forum?"
     


  8. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,239 posts, 762 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    :biggrin:
     


  9. woodster

    woodster

    Joined Sep 15, 2009
    6,240 posts, 262 likes
    S2 9.2a
    US Fairhope Al
    this is not southern california ....we do have rain here ya know
     


  10. JamesG161

    JamesG161

    Joined Feb 14, 2014
    2,738 posts, 746 likes
    Hunter 430
    US Waveland, MS
    After 2 years of high school Latin... Singular nouns end in "US/UM" Plurals end in "AE" ( pronounced aye).
    Thus....
    Status Statae
    Datum Datae
    Octopus Octopae
    Porpus Porpae

    Forum Forae

    So don't be caught among the Group of ANAE!:laugh:

    Yeah I hate my spell checker for changing mistyped LIGHTNING to LIGHTENING:banghead:

    @rpludwig All seriousness aside...
    My boat has the ABYC standard E4 lightning protection, but I have a 7200 lb grounding lead keel, and my mast and standing rigging is 4 gauge wire grounded to it. I also have a static charge dissipater on top of my 67' mast.

    You can web search it.
    http://www.kp44.org/ftp/UnderstandingLightningProtection.pdf

    However there is no known surface of the earth Prevention.
    Jim...
     


  11. CloudDiver

    CloudDiver

    Joined Sep 8, 2014
    2,525 posts, 405 likes
    Catalina 22 Swing Keel
    US San Diego
    To give you a simple answer... For any small boat, yes, the first line of defense is to try to stay out of inclement weather. Beyond that, if you think you might get caught off guard; The most cost effective lightning protection for small boats is to carry a long set of automotive jumper cables. You can split the set so you have two cables... Attach the gator clamp to your backstay, strip the other end so you have maybe a foot or more of bare wire and throw it over transom into the water. If you do get struck it gives the bolt a path to the water and hopefully not through your hull.
     


  12. rpludwig

    rpludwig

    Joined May 23, 2016
    495 posts, 254 likes
    Catalina 22 #12502
    US BSC
    you guys are a hoot! (as well as giving good advice)...

    good idea Cloud...thx for that...James, I will stow some jumper cablae!
     


    Kermit, justsomeguy and JamesG161 like this.
  13. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,573 posts, 1,732 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    I nearly spewed!
     


  14. CaptDon01

    CaptDon01

    Joined Nov 19, 2008
    2,129 posts, 158 likes
    Catalina C-22 MK-II
    US Parrish, FL
    Lightning is looking for a path to ground.....improve the grounding on your boat, and you'll help ease lightnings search for another path to ground.....

    Best solution? Good insurance and a low deductible.

    Don
     


  15. Bill Roosa

    Bill Roosa

    Joined Jun 6, 2006
    6,965 posts, 140 likes
    Hunter 40.5
    US Harrington Harbor North, MD
    But insurance will not get you back to shore after a strike so........
    Common practice in tall buildings that get hit numerous time a year is to take the lightning to ground by a dedicated lighting circuit that is OUTSIDE the building. Nobody in the construction industry would even consider running the lightning circuit inside the building, that is a great way to get your occupants dead.
    What this means for boats is disconnect the mast to keel circuit and run jumper cable size wires from the four stays over the side and into the water. I have a set of jumper cables that I cut in half and separated to give 4 cables with clamps on one end. strip the insulation off enough of the non clamp end to have bear wire entering the water, not insulated wire , bear wire. Deploy at the first sign of lightning.
     


  16. walt

    walt

    Joined Jun 1, 2007
    3,234 posts, 369 likes
    Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15
    US Denver, Colorado
    I think its interesting to look at how a capacitor works when you consider the effects of grounding or not, or if you keel has direct metal connected to the water or if the cable has the insulation stripped off in the last post

    A capacitor has two plates with an insulater in the middle. When a charge (for example electrons) is put on the plates, a voltage develops across the plates. The voltage across a capacitor is directly proportional to the charge in the capacitor. Add charge and the voltage increases proportionally.

    In the case of the boat, an ungrounded mast forms one plate of the capacitor and the water the other plate. The insulator is mostly air plus a thin layer of fiberglass. Or if a wire is connected to the mast and is hanging in the water and its insulated, then the inner wire is one plate of the capacitor and the water is the other plate and the cable coating is the insulator.

    In the case of an ungrounded mast, if lightning attaches to the mast, a huge amount of charge flows into the mast. Guess what happens to the voltage of the capacitor from the bottom of the mast to the water surface.. all that huge amount of charge creates a proportional huge amount of voltage.

    As we know.. air is ionized during a lightning strike and all that charge creating all that voltage on our capacitor easily ionizes air and an ionized flash or air forms, the capacitor breaks down and all that charge flows to ground.

    Same thing happens through the wire insulator. All that charge very easily creates such a high voltge across the insulator that it breaks down.

    Whatever models you have that say grounding matters, please let us know what they are. Or if its based on some real statisitics also let us know. If its that you have to have a ground to get your cabin lights to work.. you might not have the right model.

    Grounding or not may have a small influence on your chances of receiving a strike but its probably way less significant compared to the fact that you have a significant long vertical conductor (your mast) which makes a nice electric field short cut for lighting.
     


    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
    justsomeguy likes this.
  17. walt

    walt

    Joined Jun 1, 2007
    3,234 posts, 369 likes
    Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15
    US Denver, Colorado
    Curious as to why? (hopefully without using analogies to explain since they are best used to mislead and may have nothing at all to do with the actual problem but sound good).
     


    Sailing Pete likes this.
  18. rpludwig

    rpludwig

    Joined May 23, 2016
    495 posts, 254 likes
    Catalina 22 #12502
    US BSC
    Don...I've read tons of your posts & threads, great stuff & most educational on C22's...curious, what have you employed to improve grounding on your boat? You're down in FL, more susceptible than us up north...
     


  19. walt

    walt

    Joined Jun 1, 2007
    3,234 posts, 369 likes
    Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15
    US Denver, Colorado
    By the way, the only argument I have here is regarding if grounding influences your chances of a strike. I think grounding is a good thing.

    I used to hear an argument that you should not do any sort of grounding if you are not prepared to do it completely right. The argument was that inadequate grounding was going to invite a side flash..

    But in the case of an ungrounded sailboat, you already have 100% chance of a side flash if you are not grounded. So how can adding anything increase the odds over 100%.. Uh.. well 100% is 100%, you cant. Adding any sort of grounding like the cable from the mast to the water adds an extra path for the lighting to take. If you dont do a good job with your ground path, you may not remove enough charge to prevent the side flash.. but any sort of additional path might reduce the strength of the side flash. And if you do a good enough job with your known path for the lightning, you may out compete with ionized air and prevent a side flash. Its about the odds.. You start with 100% chance of a side flash doing nothing, additional grounding paths start to reduce the odds. You may not get the odds all the way to zero but there also isnt really any evidence that you will do something bad like attract lightning by adding grounding.

    Edit.. I just noticed this is in the C22 forum. With the way the post show up when I go to this site, I often dont notice which forum they are posted in.. Sorry about that..
     


    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
  20. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,239 posts, 762 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    Maybe there should be a "sticky" post on lightning strike risk mitigation somewhere on these forums?
     



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