whose blog we follow was hit by lightning - arguably Mother Nature's most concentrated and capricious force. Now, sometimes a lightning strike can leave you with little more than ringing ears. But not usually. In this case, s/v Bella Star was left with virtually nothing electronic on board in working condition. Fortunately, they were not onboard when the strike occurred, and the hull was not holed, as sometimes is the case when the lightning seeks an exit to the water.
This morning, as we sit anchored in Eagle Harbor there is thunder rolling around in the clouds. This is an extremely rare event here in Seattle - so much so that not infrequently an individual lightning strike is reported on the news. I think the news folks may be saturated today, since we had thunderstorms most of yesterday too.
Not that we are thunder storm weenies tho. Both Jane and I grew up in the Midwest, and got our start sailing on Lake Carlyle (hi Deb!), and spent two years sailing on the Chesapeake. At that time, for protection we had a pair of jumper cables that we'd clip on the shrouds and trail in the water - an attempt to provide the lightning a convenient path to the water, should the mast be struck. I don't know if it would have worked; we were never struck.
Is there any way to prevent a strike? On this the experts disagree. But the insurance companies, who very much have a dog in this fight, have no recommendations. You can bet that if there were a way to even slightly reduce the likelihood of a strike, boats would be required to implement it in order to get insurance, especially in Florida - the lightning capital of the world.
So, what do we do? Well, the vast, VAST majority of the time, it is not an issue here in Seattle, so we don't think about it. But the last couple of days have brought back memories - memories of hot muggy days and me telling the kids to stay away from the mast and the standing rigging. And the night before last, when we saw a strike on the water less than a mile away, we moved all the electronics we could into the oven (it acts as a Faraday cage).
And we tried to stay away from the masts and the rigging.
And we had a glass of wine and watched the light show.