Lightning Strike

robmurray

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30 May 2001
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Live in Marlow
We were unlucky enough to be struck by lightning half way across Lyme Bay on Saturday. Looks like everything electrical is fried.
We are based in Hamble. My regular engineer is just a one man band and my insurers may want to deal with a larger outfit. Who is best in the Hamble for electronic refits?
Many thanks
Rob
 

RichardS

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That sounds bad. Commiserations. Hopefully no injuries?

Don't know the answer to your question but would love to know more about whether you felt that it was "on the cards" or whether it came "out of the blue" and what did it feel like to those onboard?

Richard
 

Giblets

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Have dealt with Hudson Marine at Mercury before. Very good IMO. No connection.
 

johnalison

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Essex
We had our electrical stuff fitted by Maricom, which seems to be an efficient outfit. Good luck.
 

John_Silver

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St Mary's Island
Maricom over at Hamble Point did the full electrical fit out on Stargazer to a high standard - they were recommended to me by Hallberg Rassy agents Transworld yachts. Dave Cobb is the man to talk to: 02380 454263

Although Poole based, I know Seacraft operate further afield. Again working to a high standard on 'projects' - Mark Spink is the contact I have there: 07795 331754

Good Luck!
 

robmurray

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Live in Marlow
To answer your question about the experience, I have always felt uneasy at sea in thunderstorms but understood that the risk of a strike is low (although hard to believe when you think about it). It was quite an active storm - we were happily watching lightning forking in to the sea whilst motoring along. We did not feel in any danger, not least because we were surrounded by yachts motoring back from the Fastnet. We were suddenly nearly hit - a sheet of white went in front of us and knocked out the autopilot. I was able to reset the pilot and all was normal. I felt a bit breathless - you could sense the energy but my crew did not feel anything. Only minutes later we could tell that we had a direct strike. In our peripheral vision we could see a fork hit the top of the mast. We were fine but all electrics went off. The engine kept running but all of the warning lights were on along with the alarm. All nav stuff, radar, radios, instruments, naivety, etc were lost along with many domestic systems like fridge, gas shut off, etc. plus battery charger and monitoring. Only the nav lights, interior lights and electric winches remained working. The VHF ariel has disappeared completely.
We were able to make for Portland and then on to Mercury the next day doing things the old fashioned way.
I think it will be a huge job refitting her.
Learnings:
I felt that we coped OK. We were very dependant on a 10 year old handheld GPS which I keep in the grab bag. I might replace this with a newer one.
Every time I tell my family that the nav station is only for navigation and then I find Peppa Pig magazines, crayons and tiaras in my chart drawer I will now have reason to insist and SWMBO has agreed at last. It was hard enough finding the right chart, booting the GPS and getting the pan pan away, without all that family detritus!
Sounds like we were lucky that the engine kept running, despite electrics being damaged.
I will research what lightning protection systems are available and if they help - any views welcome.
Gas shut off solenoid meant no cups of tea or hot food - crazy system which will be changed.
Hope this helps
Any similar experiences welcome, especially any advice relating to insurance, refit and protection systems. Hopefully people are right when they say lightning does not strike twice...
Rob
 

Spyro

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Clyde
Check your skin fittings and seacocks too. I have heard of damage to these caused by Lightning strikes. It's where the strike leaves the boat to ground that you have to worry about as well. may have exited through the engine and prop shaft but these could be isolated so it has to go somewhere.
 

wizard

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Portland
I must admit that whenever there are thunderstorms i turn everthing off that I can having read of many tales of woe. I always put the portable radio and Etrex in the oven.

So far not been struck. It would be interesting to learn from anybodies experience that doing the above makes any difference.

A second vote for Aztec at Hamble Point. They have done all the installation on my last two boats - with no problems.
 

doris

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Aztecmarine electronics

Also try Aztec at Hamble Point. Always very helpful.

http://www.aztecmarine.co.uk

When you've got time it would be interesting to hear of your experience of being struck (I've been caught in two major electrical storms this year, but got away with unzapped.)

I would certainly endorse Dave Freeman at Aztec. Very good, knows his stuff and a gent to deal with.
Personally wouldn't touch Hudson Marine with a barge pole.
 

Siosarnoir

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27 Apr 2004
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uk south west
Re: Aztecmarine electronics

I fitted a lightening Dissipator some years ago and have never been struck, I noticed Pete Goss had one. You can check their video at Forespar .com I bought mine from Force4 I think , cost about £50 then.
 
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TQA

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Carribbean currently Grenada
We were unlucky enough to be struck by lightning half way across Lyme Bay on Saturday. Looks like everything electrical is fried.
We are based in Hamble. My regular engineer is just a one man band and my insurers may want to deal with a larger outfit. Who is best in the Hamble for electronic refits?
Many thanks
Rob

You need to get hauled and check for hull damage insurance should pay. [ do a search on google images [lightening strike hull damage] for confirmation on the necessity.]

Re adding a small device that looks like an inverted brush Boat US has a big database on strikes and the stats show it is not effective.

You are lucky that your small GPS and VHF were not damaged as well. When I was struck my handheld GPS died despite being disconnected and sitting on a wooden table, the VHF survived. Perceived wisdom is that the oven is a pretty effective Faraday cage and a safe storage spot.

Unless you have new for old prepare for a demand that you contribute to the cost under 'betterment'.

Bet you ALWAYS carry back up paper charts in future. I am appalled by the number of people who rely entirely on electronic nav devices.
 
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Giblets

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Bet you ALWAYS carry back up paper charts in future. I am appalled by the number of people who rely entirely on electronic nav devices.

I think the OP had charts just not out on the chart table at the time judging by his comment regarding Peppa Pig et al!
 

GrahamM376

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Perceived wisdom is that the oven is a pretty effective Faraday cage and a safe storage spot.

I always worked on that theory until someone pointed out that ours has a glass door surrounded with a rubber/plastic seal so, one side of the cage is missing :confused:
 

AIDY

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Muckle Flugga
Never been hit by lightning on boat, but we always put all handheld electrical in the oven during storms...

I know the power of lightning our house was hit last year. Lost all electrics half the room and side wall.
 

Seven Spades

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Can you tell us if any free standing equipment was damaged like mobile phones, iPads, lap tops and the hand held radio?
 

Foxy

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North Wales
We were struck off cabo de gata in southern spain some years back. It was a horrific storm and felt somewhat inevitable with strikes every couple of seconds for some hours - that said it was somewhat surprising we werent struck until just before the storm ended. Basically there was a huge bang and brilliant white flash and all the alarms went off - much like the OP. We searched for water ingress and everything was fine. Pretty much all electronics had failed however, so we switched to paper, the engine started (thank heavens for non common rail diesels) and we were able to make almeria about four hours later at dawn. We also had a loo brush thingy on the top of the mast but the boat has been struck twice in her life. of course dont know what would have happened if we hadnt :)....... insurers (admiral) were excellent, as was claims handler (forget his name but gone now) who said not to worry, they would sort it out and that the best advice he could give was something like 'hit the first bar we could find, and dont come out until you can laugh about it, wait a day then call us again'.
We have seen many solutions to protecting kit since and we do put a gps and vhf in the oven, but interestingly we have seen people use metalisised bags - dont know if they worked. also out laptops were fine - ipads hadnt quite hit the streets at that time.

Good luck with repairs. Seem to remember a good company in lymington
 

ICTM

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New Forest
Always found the Lymington office of Greenham Regis very good, they will always chat and offer sensible advice. ( not connected just satisfied customer etc)
 
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