Surviving a lightning strike

How would a Flying Scot fair in a pop up thunder storm with lightning strikes? Larger sailboats have equipment that grounds the mast and as far as I can tell the chain plates on a Scot dead end and would not serve as a very good ground at all. I read on another site that it would be a good idea to keep jumper cables on the boat. One end would be attached to a shroud and the other end placed in the water. As long as you did not touch any of the metal you would be ok? Of course I realize that we should always avoid sailing in a situation that could be dangerous, but there are times when storms seem to pop up out of no where. Thanks for your thoughts John 3873

Comments

Good question.

Good question. My non-expert thoughts are:
  • If you create a better conductor between the mast and the water then you should benefit from it (i.e. the current shouldn't go through you. [:)]
  • If you create a better conductor between the mast and the water then your boat might become the preferred route compared to other objects near by. [:(]
  • If you attach a jumper cable to a shroud, the shroud becomes the weakest link and might not be able to carry the current. The shroud might fail which causes the mast to fall over. And/or the lightning current searches for a secondary conductor, possibly you. [:(] Look at the gauge of lightning rods and their grounding. It's pretty extreme.
On a related note. A few weekends ago I was quite stupid again. We arrived just at the lake when a surprise storm came in. The wind was very calm before the storm and sailboats had a hard time coming to the shore. But quite a few boaters weren't aware of the intensity that the storm would have. As the storm came in, pretty good gust came up. A rental catamaran took off into the lake unmanned at a speed many sailors dream about. I noticed a cat that got loose at the beach and nobody was around tending it. So I jumped out of the car and into the water to pull it back onto the shore. I was standing in the water and holding onto the shroud as I felt a the tingling of current in my palm. Much like the feeling I got from my crazy electronics experiments on 220 Volt. Needless to say I let loose of the boat and ducked deep into the water. Luckily nothing happened and I pulled the boat as quick as possible onto the shore. Later I heard from another cat sailor that he also felt current going through his arm and leg. We definitely were lucky that day. In retrospect, I really shouldn't have tried to play the good Samaritan. Nobody thanked or cared about it, not even the owner. The boat owners should have tied up the boat or at least nucleated the sails. The neighbouring platoon boat operator didn't bother to help the slightest bit although the sailboat was about to ram him. The moral of the story is to just stay in your dry car and watch the show unless a life is in danger. All I did was to put my own life in danger. Stupid, stupid, stupid me!

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA