Monday, May 11, 2015

Voodoo Child's Lightning Strike

I'm curious as to what, if anything, other owners are doing for lightning protection. Voodoo Child was struck a few weeks ago while on the hard and suffered major electrical and electronics damage all of which had just been installed during a 2-1/2yr refit that was nearing completion. It took out brand new electric winches, bow thruster, windlass, main and secondary distribution panels, autopilot, radar, chart plotter, battery chargers, vhf and antenna, all LED interior lighting, voltage regulator, Duocharge, digital air conditioner controller, high water alarms, anchor chain counter, tachometer, spreader lights, cockpit lights, nmea 2000 network, wind, speed and depth instruments and both bow and stern AGM battery banks. It also scorched the jib sail where it was in contact with the roller furling. Unbelievably, there was no structural damage and the mast and rigging checked out ok after it was removed for inspection.

It got me thinking about what might have happened if I had been aboard and out cruising. No batteries to start the engine, no electrical, no navigation electronics or vhf, a compass with possibly a huge unknown magnetic variation, possible life threatening injuries or worse. And, theoretically, the possibility of a rapidly sinking vessel due to blown out thru hulls and failed bilge pumps. Pretty scary scenario.
Has anyone installed and wired lightning ground plates under the hull and if so what dimensions and how were they wired?  What about grounding the chain plates?

One thing that has always worried me on the Lord Nelson is the rosewood compression post. If the aluminum mast passed all the way through the cabin to the keel there would be little resistance and therefore less heat generated by a lightning strike. But with a wood post with small wires passing through it, my fear was that enough heat would be generated to explode the compression post and bring down the rig. Fortunately that did not happen and there are no signs (or smell) of any wood compression post damage on Voodoo Child. My chain plates are not grounded and I know a lot of the charge went down the forestay.

Any thoughts on this topic would be helpful.

Thanks, Tom
Voodoo Child 41LN23

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Books Every Galley Should Have

Martha Burke, Fram 37VT71

Cruising Chef Cookbook 
By Michael Greenwald

Discusses preparing for a voyage and resupplying in native markets.  Provides recipes for pressure cooking, stir frying and grilling, particularly useful techniques for the galley chef.

The Boat Galley Cookbook
By Carolyn Shearlock and Jan Irons.

800 everyday recipes and essential tips for cooking aboard with recipes made from readily-obtainable ingredients and tips on how to do things more easily in a tiny, moving kitchen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sea Fever

"Sea-Fever" By John Masefield (1878-1967), English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

(Photo of David Lyman, ex-Afaran 41LN46, taken in 2009 or 2010, at the helm of Searcher, the family's 57-foot Bowman Ketch--100 miles north of Bermuda, winds 35 knots gusting to 40, seas 15 to 20-feet.