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Although we would rather think of sundowners and suntans we have recently been doing research on two scary but important subjects: lightning and storms. In the case of lightning I have been reading how sailing catamarans are twice as likely to be struck than monohulls!

Twice as likely to win the lottery = good.
Twice as likely to be electrocuted = bad.

So what to do? Some people pray. Not likely going to help. Some people attach battery cables to their shrouds and drag them in the water. Debatable whether or not this helps. Then there are commercial solutions such as Strikeshield. This looks promising, or, perhaps it is just good marketing. Who knows?

On the subject of storms, one of the big issues with boats in general, and maybe even more so catamarans, is slowing them down so that they don’t surf down big waves, bury their nose and pitchpole. Enter the Jordan Series Drogue. This is essentially a very long line of cones which you drag behind the boat. The cones provide resistance and hopefully slow the boat down to a safer speed. The question in our minds right now is where do we attach this device to our boat? The attachment point needs to be VERY strong and at the moment I don’t think it exists on Katana. The series drogue is, of course, only one option. More research is needed. We’ll try to avoid any big storms until we get this subject sorted out.

11 Comments

  1. Wow did you take that photo of the lightning? Fabulous!

  2. No idea what’s best for lightning protection – I’ve read tons of stuff with conflicting advice being offered. What is clear is that lightning is still not fully understood, although some commercial vendors claim otherwise… If lightning is around (or could be) I would firstly make sure that no one went anywhere near the extended mast line below deck. I would also unplug everything electrical and place things like laptops, GPS, etc in a (cold 😀 ) oven, which will act as a Faraday cage and (hopefully) help to stop everything from being fried if you are hit.

    A series drogue is a must have item if heading offshore in a cat. One of the best online resources is http://www.maxingout.com/abbott_drogue.htm (another great website too).

    If you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in the middle of a storm offshore, just count yourself lucky that you’re on a cat! Also, make sure everything is secured away – especially anything that would hurt if it hit you on the head. Things don’t usually move around much on a cat, but you can bet they will if it starts blowin’ a hoolie!

  3. I would attach the drogue to the mast and pass it through some guide (tie down) at the stern.

  4. Do you follow this blog?

    http://catamaranmeerkat.blogspot.com/

    They are on the West Coast, just went back to Ventura, Ca from Baja for over a year. They could be a great source of information.

  5. You’re welcome…. I follow several sailing blogs (but I’m not a sailor… weird I know) and have them listed on my blog-roll. I was suggested to read your blog by OE… another one you should check out is Sailing Knitter, they are currently in South America. And the Beach House, he posts TONS of technical stuff. My daughter’s site is also there, she’s the sailor in the family. If you are ever in her area (she gets around) look her up, she’ a fabulous tour guide to places for people on a budget. She’s currently in the USVIs.

  6. There was just a long series of posts about lightning and why cats get hit more on the multihulls4us website. There’s also a lot about series drogues. Wouldn’t you use a bridle off the stern cleats, similar to the way your anchor is attached at the bow? Maybe you could use the same bridle, since you wouldn’t be using them at the same time!

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