On Wednesday, June 8th, as the sailboat fleets made their way in from the evening races in Wilwaukee, WI, they were glad to beat the thunderstorm that was coming in from the west. Just at dusk, eye witnesses saw a lightning bolt hit a 30 ft. ketch swinging on a mooring in McKinley harbor. “It lit up like a Christmas tree,” was how one observer described the event. Within an hour the boat was under water with just portions of the masts showing.
First, a Lightning Master Ion Dissapator at the top of each mast would have lowered the exposure to a lightning strike by controlling the conditions which trigger direct strikes by reducing the build-up of the static ground charge and retards the formation of the ion “streamers” that complete the path for a lightning strike.
Second, if Marelon valves and thru-hulls, being non-conductive, had been used, the hole that was made below the water line probably would not have happened as the bronze thru hull was punched through the boat by lightning!
For more details and photos of the damage, go to www.forespar.com.