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Lightning and boats do not play well together. In fact, lightning is that kid in the playground that never plays well with anyone. The one who constantly feels it necessary to show everyone how tough he is, always acting the bully. Unfortunately, it appears as if we’ve been a victim of that bully!

Foreshadowing a repeat of last week’s squall, we awoke to these ominous looking clouds yesterday morning. The dog on the boat next to us was whining, leading me to think that even he felt that something ugly was on its way. While I don’t think that we received the wind that we did last week, we sure did get plenty of rain, and it was accompanied by a wicked electrical storm.

I don’t know about you but, as a kid, I used to enjoy electrical storms. I would sit on the front porch and watch the lightning flash in the sky around our house. Now on a boat though, lightning does not make me happy. We spend our time during storms counting the seconds between the lightning flashes and the accompanying thunder, trying to determine just how close the strikes really are. Well, yesterday a couple of them were close! Close as in, seemingly right beside us!

When the storm abated, Rebecca and I went on with our day, traveling on the cruisers’ shopping bus to the mall to reprovision. While doing so we had the opportunity to compare squall stories with other cruisers, each of whom feel exactly the same way about lightning as we do. We heard reports that a couple of boats may have had some issue with their electronics after the storm, including Harmony, our friends’ boat anchored right beside us. Given those reports, we decided that it would be prudent to check ours too. As it turns out, our new Raymarine wind instrument, or at least the display at the helm, is not working. Not entirely coincidentally, Harmony’s wind instrument isn’t working right either. It appears as if we’ve both been pushed around a bit by that bully!


  1. That looks one hell of a storm! 🙁


  2. I feel your pain, Robin and I had a close in Sarasota Bay in June of this year. We lost the Raymarine instrument on the mast, the battery charger, the voltage regulator, the solar controller, and a couple of multi taps that when pried open looked like a mid-west barbecue.

  3. Still, better then an office job…. 🙂

  4. Lightening is the only thing that really scares me out on the water. Luckily you all were only partially affected. We had 6 of our brand new stock boats struck at the same time last summer.

  5. Hi Mike, First of all, GREAT WEBSITE!

    Second, excuse me if you’ve written about this already, but are there any actions someone should take when lightning is in the area? We’re in Greece now and we’ve managed to sail around some storms but when you’re anchored there’s not much you can do. I unplug everything but that’s about it. I met a couple on a 15 yr around the world adventure and they told me that they put their radar in the microwave! Have you heard any other tips?

    And is there anything you can do when you winter the boat?

    Thank you!

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